SteelSky Ventures’ Maria Toler on Leading One of the Largest Women’s Health Funds
SteelSky Ventures is one of the largest venture capital funds focused on women’s healthcare. The firm manages $73 million in total assets under management and has invested in some of the most innovative companies in the women’s health space.
In this interview, Maria Toler, Founding and Managing Partner of SteelSky Ventures shares insights into the firm’s journey to becoming a leader in women’s health venture capital, its strategies for supporting portfolio companies, and its commitment to inclusive and equitable solutions.
Becoming one of the world’s largest women’s health funds is a significant achievement. Could you share insights into the journey and strategies that led SteelSky Ventures to reach this milestone?
Embarking on this incredible journey, my entrepreneurial spirit has been evident since childhood, from running lemonade stands to founding Collegeboxes, a student storage company acquired by U-Haul. As a serial entrepreneur, the disparity in venture capital funding for women’s health entrepreneurs spurred me to establish a fund that supports groundbreaking companies. Achieving this required resilience, tenacity, and support from a mission-aligned ecosystem.
How does SteelSky Ventures foster the growth of its invested companies beyond providing capital?
At SteelSky, our sustained support extends beyond capital. Through the SteelSky Scale program, we collaborate closely with portfolio company founders on strategic introductions, financing strategies, and talent acquisition. We facilitate discussions among founders on industry trends, recently hosting a panel on M&A. Our Scale program has enabled portfolio companies to secure transformative partnerships and collectively achieve valuations exceeding $5 billion.
Ensuring inclusivity and equity in women’s healthcare, how does SteelSky Ventures address the diverse needs and experiences of women?
To enhance access, care, and outcomes in women’s health, we prioritize investing in founders employing diverse approaches to problem-solving. This allows us to source and scale companies driving real innovation in overlooked and underserved communities. For instance, our portfolio company Mae addresses the Black maternal health crisis with a culturally competent care marketplace tailored to Black women, increasing access and improving outcomes.
What advice would you offer entrepreneurs seeking investment from SteelSky Ventures in the women’s healthcare sector?
SteelSky partners with passionate founders innovating in women’s health. We invest in Series A companies with product-founder fit, demonstrated solutions to critical women’s health issues, and readiness to collaborate with leading healthcare institutions. Examples from our portfolio include Midi Health, addressing menopausal care, Origin, a leader in pelvic floor physical therapy, and Twentyeight Health, providing telemedicine for reproductive healthcare.
For other venture capital firms aiming to make an impact on women’s health, what advice would you give?
To impact women’s health, assemble a diverse team providing a comprehensive perspective on disruptive areas. SteelSky’s all-female team and ecosystem of advisors and advocates have been foundational to our success. Diverse leadership fosters innovation and understanding of the nuanced challenges in women’s health, driving meaningful impact.