The Verticale, an online marketplace that connects brands with consumers who are searching for new products that align with their values, has acquired The Helm Shop’s assets and intellectual property.
The Helm Shop is the e-commerce arm of New York City-based venture firm The Helm. Led by Lindsey Taylor Wood and Julie Weber, The Helm is committed to investing in female entrepreneurs, and its investments range from cleantech and high-speed transportation to women’s health care.
With the acquisition, Wood and Weber will join The Verticale as strategic advisers to help bring more visibility to women-owned brands. The Verticale, which was founded by Jaclyn Grauman and Michelle Silverstein, will onboard many of The Helm Shops’ brand partners that meet the marketplace’s values, expanding the site’s existing women-owned brands vertical. A purchase price was not disclosed. The Helm is a shareholder in The Verticale.
“As female founders, the women-owned category on The Verticale is one that’s personally important to us,” said Grauman, chief executive officer and co-founder of the site. “”Having seen firsthand how undervalued women are when it comes to venture funding with less than 3 percent of capital going toward women, we are committed to putting an emphasis on women-led brands and giving them the visibility that they deserve.”
“By incorporating The Helm Shop’s brand partners into The Verticale and bringing on Lindsey and Julie as strategic advisers, we’re able to build a strong team and foundation to make change in the industry and continue to strengthen our commitment to supporting and promoting women-owned businesses ,” added Silverstein.
The Verticale, which was founded in 2019 (and launched the Marketplace in 2020), is organized by values such as women-owned, responsible materials, Black-owned, reducing waste, giving back, local craftsmanship and clean ingredients. The Verticale has 90 brands on its site, and will have 100 by the end of the year.
Women-owned, which accounts for 44 percent of the brands on the site, will now include all of the brands that transition from The Helm, positioning the marketplace as a leader in supporting female-founded and -operated brands.
Silverstein said the goal is to bring the majority of the Helm Shop brands over within the next quarter. She said The Verticale operates with the same technology partner at The Helm Shop, which should make the merger “very seamless.”
“‘People are increasingly recognizing the impact that companies have on society and on the planet, and they want to shop at places where their values and money can align,” said Wood, founder and CEO of The Helm. “By partnering with The Verticale, we are joining a larger movement. One that not only offers an alternative to less intentional marketplaces but proves that conscious consumerism provides both social and financial returns for customers and investors alike.”
The Helm Shop, which was founded in June 2019, features such categories as clothing, shoes, handbags, wellness, womanhood, sex, home and gifts.
Wood explained that The Helm Shop’s e-commerce platform was doing well, but then COVID-19 hit.
“We were forced to make some strategic decisions about what the future of the company looked like, and we realized that the places where we were having the greatest impact were really the fund and the angel network, but also that we had built this incredible platform that was seeing a lot of traction and had 100-plus amazing female-founded brands. But to really give it the attention it deserved and to take it to the next stage of growth, it would be better served being part of something larger,” she said.
With so much discussion about conscious consumerism and people wanting the capital they spend to reflect their values, Wood said what The Verticale was building aligned with what they were building. She said it felt like a natural partnership “and Jaclyn and Michelle were the women to lead it.”
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