Stephen Hays 

Founder of What If Ventures

Stephen Hays is the founder of What If Ventures, a venture fund 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 $3,200,000 in mental health startups with a syndicate of over 1,500 investors.  One recent deal was covered in the press here.

Stephen is also the creator of a podcast on 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


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.

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).

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.