Hi, I'm Helena.

Welcome to my corner of the internet. I’m a VC investor and passionate mental health advocate. I champion starting a business and mental wellbeing in entrepreneurship. The challenges and stressors of running a business are unlike any other - loneliness, financial stress, overwhelm and sometimes a basic lack of self-care can leave those running businesses with severe mental health issues. After overcoming my own experience of stress-related alopecia and extreme anxiety - I’m a firm believer that founders need to prioritise their mental health just as much as their business strategy. On this site you’ll find more on my own entrepreneurial journey, media and speaking opportunities as well as my weekly newsletter I share evidence-based insight and actionable tips to help you improve your mental wellbeing as an entrepreneur.

My entrepreneurial story

My first foray into entrepreneurship was when I was 16. I had a knack for reselling things on eBay and made enough money along with my weekend job to buy all of the important things you want as a teenager - CDs and GHD hair straighteners.

I graduated with an MA (Hons.) degree is Sustainable Development from the University of St Andrews and instead of getting a graduate job, I started my first “proper” business - a marketplace for sustainable brands. I built my own website and threw myself into a life of full time entrepreneurship. I had some initial success - sales, press and most importantly investment landed in my lap. But this early success lulled me into a false sense of security, and frankly, arrogance. When I needed to raise my next round of funding, things weren’t going well. I didn’t know what I was doing and I failed to raise the investment before the cash ran out. So I closed the doors - I paid my staff, my suppliers and I took out a personal loan to repay my investors. 

I was 22, I had £100,000 of personal debt and I lost my hair from stress related alopecia. Worst of all - I didn’t tell anyone what had really happened. Not my friends and certainly not my family. 

I knew I was going to run my own business again but first I had to unpack what had happened and get to the root of what had gone wrong for me. Ultimately, I discovered, it was the numbers. I had casually delegated my business finances and assumed it wasn’t my job because, “I wasn’t an accountant”. Over time, I met more and more investors as I asked them to critically analyse what would have made my business a success. I was also meeting more and more founders - sharing my story over coffee and explaining what had happened to me and why I had a big bald patch on my head where my hair had once been. 

I made it my mission to share with others my mistakes, a what-not-to-do when you raise investment, all the while learning from investors what I should have been doing. 

After 2 years of networking, recovery, painful self-reflection and working in-house to help two e-commerce businesses raise investment, a friend of mine closed a £1,000,000 investment round after I had introduced her to some investors that I realised I had a new business. No one was really talking, or more importantly actually helping, people to raise early-stage investment at the coal-face. 

Over 7 years we grew Raising Partners, supporting over 200 businesses on everything from building a financial model, to creating a pitch deck and put together 63 deals where we have introduced our clients to investors across the early-stage investment landscape. Growing a service-based business hasn’t been a new challenge, and like my previous companies has had many ups and downs, from winning awards and hiring an exceptional team, to navigating the financial markets during a global pandemic. 

Now in 2024, we have moved on again, a natural evolution of our business, and announced our first VC fund - a £15m fund based in Scotland investing in early-stage technology companies in Climate Action, Health & Wellbeing, Social Mobility and the Future of Work. 

Businesses are my hobby - I am fascinated by what makes a good business and what makes an exceptional entrepreneur. I love the freedom and the responsibility of being a founder. The autonomy, the opportunity and the potential when you run your own business is what motivates me and gets me out of bed every morning. I don’t know if you are born to be an entrepreneur but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Today, I’m the Managing Partner of an early-stage VC fund, I’m one of the directors and members of the board of challenger broadband provider Brillband, an angel investor in a number of consumer and technology companies and I also share insight on entrepreneurship and mental health via social media, podcasts and public speaking. More importantly, I’m a mother and a wife. I love reading and I love to learn. I’m on a journey to becoming a person who goes to pilates. My way of switching off is embracing activities usually reserved for people in retirement - gardening, knitting (yes I’ve admitted this on the internet, and yes I can only knit things in a straight line), and aspiring to be an Italian Nonna in the kitchen.