Our Team

Stephen Hays

Founder & MANAgING PARTNER

Stephen Hays is the founder of What If Ventures, a venture firm investing primarily in early stage mental health and addiction recovery focused startups.

After decades struggling with addiction, and type-1 bi-polar disorder, Stephen was able to experience a trans-formative change in his life with the help of his loving wife and children, his father, and close friends. More of his story with addiction can be read here.

Since launching What If Ventures as a syndicate in January 2020, Stephen has invested over $16,000,000 in 17 mental health startups with a syndicate of over 4,000 investors.

Stephen is also the host of a podcast dedicated to mental health, wellness and recovery, called “Stigma.” You can read more about the podcast and listen to his conversations with entrepreneurs, leaders and others about how mental health has impacted their lives here: Stigma Podcast

Previously, Stephen was the Founder and Managing Partner of Deep Space Ventures, a VC fund focused early stage tech startups.  During his time at Deep Space, Stephen led 25 early stage investments.  To date, that portfolio has generated a TVPI of ~2.8x, with 6 exits and multiple companies raising follow-on capital with valuations in excess of $100,000,000.

Before starting Deep Space Ventures, Stephen was an investment banker on Wall Street for 6+ years. He primarily focused on helping large companies raise capital, and execute Mergers & Acquisitions.

Stephen received his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering at West Point, and received his MBA from Vanderbilt.

Stephen lives in Frisco, TX with his loving wife, beautiful children and their pet bunny rabbit, named  Mr. Snuffleupagus.

Graham Smith

Partner

Graham is an experienced angel investor with years of deal sourcing, vetting and execution experience. He’s also an advisor and personal investor in multiple emerging VC funds (esports and blockchain).

Prior to joining What If Ventures, Graham was a venture capital Associate at Bionic and before that worked in equity research at Credit Suisse in NYC.

Outside of work, Graham is an experienced CFO and co-founder of PS Kitchen, a nonprofit restaurant in Times Square NYC.

Graham is  currently a CFA Level 3 Candidate and a Columbia Executive MBA ’21 Candidate. He holds an undergraduate degree in economics from Wheaton College.

Emily Johnson

INVESTMENT ASSOCIATE

Emily is an Investment Associate at What If Ventures with an expertise in digital health (wearables, VR/AR), marketing and product development.

She has experience building her own mental health startup, as well as consulting for and advising early-stage startups ranging from SaaS platforms, consumer wellness products and adtech.

Before entering the mental health space, she brought five products to market at Fitbit and led their entry into the kids wearables market, managed Olympic campaigns at Coca-Cola and created award-winning communications strategies at Ogilvy.

Emily is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin where she received a B.A. (Hons.) in Business, Economics and Politics.

Honour Masters

INVESTMENT ASSOCIATE

Prior to What If Ventures, Honour was the Director of Platform at CoVenture, a boutique multi asset manager focused on asset-backed lending, pre-seed venture capital and cryptocurrency.

Prior to CoVenture, Honour was a product specialist at BlueMountain Capital, a $20 billion multi-strat hedge fund, where she allocated the investment portfolios of large pension funds and insurance companies. Prior to BlueMountain, Honour was an investment banker at Morgan Stanley in the Firm Strategy and Execution group, specializing in strategic mergers & acquisitions, divestitures, and principal investments.

Honour is a 2015 graduate from the University of Edinburgh, where she received an M.A. in International Business (Honors). She is currently on a full-merit scholarship at Columbia Business School (MBA Class of 2022).

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