Catching Up with Gale Wilkinson
We’ve been fortunate to work with incredible emerging managers in venture via our Recast platform. To help showcase these exceptional GPs and funds, we’ve launched “Catching Up,” a new series in which we’ll share individual profiles on these funds and their managers with our community. Below is our very first emerging manager feature — enjoy!
Gale Wilkinson is founder of Vitalize Venture Capital, creator of Vitalize Angels, and former founder of Irish Angels, not to mention a participant in our very first Enablement Program! Gale generously gave us the time to chat with her about all things venture, becoming an emerging manager, how to navigate setbacks, and what’s critical to sustaining success.
On Her Path to Venture
Gale’s early experience founding Irish Angels, a network of Notre Dame-affiliated investors focused on pre-seed and seed stage start-ups — in essence, a startup that helps other startups succeed — turned out to be critical to her eventual career in venture. Gale had the operations, process and people sides down; she convinced investors to write checks, and quickly realized the importance of triggering an ongoing flywheel of referrals — ultimately from scratch. At Irish Angels, Gale honed the venture-focused skills she needed to start her own fund: sourcing companies, conducting impeccable due diligence, identifying the right companies to invest in, how to help post-investment, and the best ways to build lasting relationships with investors and LPs.
On Founding Vitalize
In 2018, Gale started Vitalize Venture Capital, a seed fund investing in the future of work and learning software. Her goal, as she put it, was to build “a front office grounded in strong leadership — one which makes the process easy for our investors, comfortable for our founders, and adds value to the portfolio.” And, she did. At Vitalize, the focus is on people and process; transparency is everything. When you speak to a member of the team, expect directness. They’ll let you know straight up if your company doesn’t fit their theses, and better yet, the reasons why. FYI, Vitalize writes initial checks of $500k+ out of their fund, reserving capital for follow-on rounds.
Recognizing that venture capital is a relationship business, Vitalize leverages its extensive network to provide value to its portfolio companies, making important connections for their companies. As former founders, Gale and team have implemented remarkably effective processes for deal flow, due diligence, and post-investment support.
On Vitalize Angels
Gale also founded Vitalize Angels, a new angel group allowing individual investors, 70% of whom are underrepresented, to write smaller checks into startups. (Vitalize Angels is 300+ members strong and growing.) The organization brings together both accredited and non-accredited investors to learn about angel investing, build relationships, and invest in startups. The ultimate goal? To increase access to startup investing for everyone. And it’s working. Members also get access to live workshops and educational events with other members of the Vitalize Angels community, a private Slack channel, a library of curated investing guidance, select investment opportunities, an abundance of networking resources, and more.
On Bouncing Back
“Honestly,” Gale says, “starting a fund is really hard. You have to try new things and be OK if they don’t work out. You have to love helping other people. You have to really believe in your approach, be willing to roll up your sleeves, and keep iterating until you figure out what your stride is.” Words to live by. Thanks, Gale.