14 Nov IU Angel Network Invests In Helm Boots
Louisville, Ken. —The IU Angel Network, an investment vehicle of IU Ventures, is proud to announce an investment into Helm Boots. This exciting investment is set to revitalize Helm Boots’ market presence and propel the company to new heights.
Helm Boots, founded in 2009, has long been recognized for its commitment to crafting high-quality, American-made footwear. However, it was apparent that the brand was not reaching its full potential due to limited marketing efforts. Enter Wabi Capital, a forward-thinking venture capital firm led by IU alum Justin Delaney, along with Brook Smith, and Fred Gustafson, who recognized the untapped potential within Helm Boots.
“We were drawn to Helm Boots because it’s a company with a rich history and a strong foundation with clear opportunities for rejuvenated marketing,” Delaney said. “Our investment thesis at Wabi Capital is centered around uncovering hidden gems and unlocking their full potential. Helm Boots perfectly aligns with our vision.”
Delaney, an alumnus of Indiana University, has deep ties to the university. He has served as an adjunct professor at the Kelley School of Business for a decade and is currently teaching an MBA course inspired by his own time at IU. He fondly recalls his student days, saying, “IU believed in me before I even believed in myself. My journey as an entrepreneur began here, and IU’s support has been invaluable”.
Delaney’s involvement in Helm Boots was further solidified by recruiting Brooks Thomas, who deeply understands brand identity and customer interaction. Thomas shared his perspective: “We’re focused on building worlds around products. Before we even stitch a thread or design a mockup, we explore data trends, and the places and people who best embody each style.” Thomas was originally a customer of Helm Boots and intentionally ordered the wrong size of boots to experience the return process and learn the brand from end to end. The focus on customer experience left a lasting impression on him and ultimately led him to join the company.
When asked about why he wanted to pitch to the IU Angel Network Delaney remarked, “I’ve always had a strong network of investors from IU, and I wouldn’t be the entrepreneur I am today without the IU network. I love Bloomington and IU, and I admire the way IU functions.”
Kate Evinger, Associate Director of the IU Angel Network, shared her perspective on why she was eager to bring Helm Boots forward for investment, saying, ” When we evaluate investments, we look for companies that have the potential to make a significant impact, led by a strong team with conviction. We believe that Helm Boots, under the guidance of Justin Delaney, Brooks Thomas and Wabi Capital, has the capability to accomplish this.”
To purchase a pair of your own, visit their website at helmboots.com.
If you are an investor interested in learning more about the IU Angel Network please apply on our website. If you are an IU Entrepreneur looking to meet with the IU Ventures team, please apply for funding on our website.
About Helm Boots:
Helm makes Footwear for Life. Founded in Austin, Texas in 2009, Helm styles are designed for every occasion and made to last. Everything Helm makes is inspired by a story and a place. There are over 153 steps involved in making a pair of Helm footwear, performed by 14 master cobblers. Helm is relentless about craftsmanship and has spent years refining its techniques. Helm uses only premium, full-grain leather, and every pair reflects the dedication Helm has to its craft and its customers. Every interaction reinforces our commitment to unmistakable excellence.
About IU Ventures:
IU Ventures invests in and supports IU-affiliated early-stage companies. Its investment programs include the IU Philanthropic Venture Fund, IU Angel Network, Shoebox Fund and Innovate Indiana Fund. It further supports IU founders through the Executive in Residence Program and IU Founders and Funders Network. Student support is provided through a variety of engagements, including the new IU Venture Fellows Program. Each program takes unique approaches to accelerate and support the positive impacts that entrepreneurs affiliated with IU already achieve across the world. IU Ventures is a recognized leader in increasing opportunities for diverse and historically underserved entrepreneurs and investing in Indiana startups with a shared commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Emily Atkinson, PhD