Female-Focused VC Fund The Helm Launches E-Commerce Site
US venture capital (VC) fund The Helm – a business focused on female-founded products and companies – has moved beyond offering standard investment opportunities. Its new editorialised e-commerce platform enables shoppers to support women-led endeavours, too.
The Helm was founded in 2016 by US feminist activist Lindsey Taylor Wood and VC investor Erin Shipley to support businesses with female founders and chief executives. While it has invested $1.5m in 11 start-ups spanning healthcare, fashion and tech since its launch; US female-run ventures received just 2.2% of all $130bn American VC investment last year, according to PitchBook.
Now, The Helm is moving into conscious consumerism by taking some of those 11 businesses, plus a curated assortment of more established female-led brands, directly to shoppers. It’s a shrewd commercial move considering 84% of US consumers want to buy from companies that support women’s rights (Sustainable Brands, 2018).
Curated by former Vogue fashion writer Rachel Waldman, The Helm e-shop is sectioned according to traditional editorial topics – such as beauty, fashion, food and travel – with the addition of taboo-busting themes like motherhood, sex, money, politics and power. There are interviews with inspiring female founders, such as Sallie Krawcheck of women-only investment service Ellevest. Each page contains shoppable links to products and services.
The platform currently features more than 80 labels, including US luxury fashion and accessories brand Mansur Gavriel, London-based luxury eveningwear label Galvan, and New York’s Haute Hijab. The Helm plans to feed some of the e-shop profits back into its round of investments next year, with $2m already planned to fund more early-stage start-ups.
For more on conscious consumerism, see Eco-Ethical Retail Tech, Communicating with Conscious Consumers (both part of our Towards Our Sustainable Future Macro Trend), and Etsy’s Good Store Advocates Conscious Consumerism.