The fact that the tech industry has too few women is no secret. The solution to that problem, however, seems in some ways to be kept under lock and key. But here to begin cracking the code is a new venture capital community called The Helm, a company offering seed-round funding to female founders in hopes of injecting some much-needed diversity into the sector.
Dedicated to deploy $2 million in a year across eight to 10 seed-stage deals, with a focus on high-growth tech startups featuring a female CEO, The Helm hopes to adjust the pipeline of capital available to women in technology. Today, female founders receive just 2.5 percent of all VC dollars in the U.S., but this new VC model is hoping to change that proportion little by little over the course of the next few years.
Founded by Lindsey Taylor Wood, alongside Erin Shipley and Emily Verellen Strom, The Helm promises to provide investors with the chance to see the impact of their dollars. The goal, the company says, is to bring a new kind of investor into the fold — both women and men who are already involved in philanthropic activities who want to see the impact of investing in female founders.
To become a part of The Helm’s community, investors will need to pay an annual membership fee of $2,500, and invest a minimum of $50,000. If this criteria is met, investors promise highly curated events that include behind-the-scenes tours with founders and field trips, as well as educational opportunities and services meant to “increase their aptitude around various subject matters and become a more insightful investor.” This, the company hopes, will not only improve the status of women in technology, but also the quality of venture capitals funding the industry.
“The Helm wholly addresses two distinct problems at both ends of the VC spectrum by rethinking the role of community as a driver of investment capital. By expanding access to unbiased capital we aim to create a long-needed shift in the culture of startups, technology, and innovation — a space that critically needs women to help shape its future,” Taylor Wood said in a statement.