At Inspirefest 2017, Astia CEO Sharon Vosmek outlined the core principles that drive her investment model.

When Inspirefest regular Sharon Vosmek takes to the stage, she speaks from the heart, as she did at the 2017 event right before introducing her fireside chat with Backstage Capital founder Arlan Hamilton.

In a short but powerful keynote, Vosmek shared the three core tenets that drive her as an early-stage investor. First, she insisted that investment is intensely personal, saying: “It’s as much who I am as what I do.”

Illustrating her point, Vosmek recalled Ellen Roche’s earlier presentation of a soft robotic sleeve to pump an ailing heart. Vosmek was inspired by Roche’s innovation as someone who herself has had an aortic valve replacement. “You, entrepreneur: you’re doing amazing things that have the potential to be a part of me. Maybe not inside of me the way that my valve is, but certainly inside of me the way that I commit to my portfolio of companies,” she said.

Moving on to the second tenet, Vosmek recalled the Astia investor masterclass and showcase from earlier the same day, where this investment group’s approach to business relationships was made clear. “We do [relationships] in a living room, not a competition. We do them in conversation, not in debate and argument of opposing sides. And we do this not because we invest in women – although that’s our unique edge. We do this because we value the entrepreneur. We value their role in growing innovation and getting it to market.”

Ideally, Vosmek continued, these carefully managed relationships lead to her third tenet, which is to ensure that a lasting relationship has been built on a solid foundation. “These relationships can endure well beyond failures, successes, challenges, celebrations. And we can go on to do a lot together,” she said.

Signing off, Vosmek was crystal clear: “My model is personal. It’s between you, me, your innovation and us changing the world.”

Words by Elaine Burke