"The common thread throughout my career is that I love connecting with people and connecting them with other people."

My favorite quote is: "If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together." My dream dinner guest would be: Both sets of great, great, great grandparents

Lindsey Lerner

Sharing knowledge to help folks navigate their startup journey

EMBRACING OPPORTUNITY. Lindsey Lerner is someone who lives her life wide open to new experiences. This outlook has seen her life and career take many unexpected but welcome twists, from shifting from art school to business school, to a decade-plus career in the music industry that has taken her around the world, to her current enterprise, a podcast.

Despite always having a natural entrepreneurial flair ("I really have a deep disdain of being told what to do”), Lindsey hadn't even seen the word 'entrepreneur' until she enrolled in business school in her hometown of Rhode Island. "It was there that I got introduced to social impact and social enterprise and the notion that you can do well financially while doing good for your community. My mind was just blown."

Within two years, Lindsey had ingrained herself within the entrepreneur community on campus. Her first company, Level Exchange, a co-working and production space for aspiring musicians, won business competitions and helped grow Rhode Island’s local night-time economy. Lindsey co-founded the business with an aspiring music artist she met while studying abroad in Chile. Despite no previous experience, she managed to book him gigs across the country, which catapulted her into the music industry and onto tours with several successful artists.

Lindsey eventually closed Level Exchange after parting ways with her lead investor. Instead, she built on her love of music, travel and technology and launched Vanter, an app aiming to make travel safer and more accessible for diverse travelers. While the timing of the app, launched at the start of the COVID pandemic in February 2020, would ultimately be its downfall, the experience taught her valuable lessons about the back end of the tech world and building an engineering team.

TRUSTING YOUR GUT. "After Vanter, I took a pause and realized that the common thread throughout my career is that I love connecting with people and connecting them with other people." This recognition led to Lindsey creating a podcast called The Cost of the Status Quo. "The entire premise of it is why we do what we do. It's been phenomenal to find the common threads throughout all the different people I've met and worked with over the last 15 years." After launching in September 2022, she has now launched the podcast into a series of in-person events that combine movement, meaningful conversation and live music.

Meaningful conversations excite Lindsey most in life, and her non-traditional career path has allowed her to engage with a variety of folks from different walks of life. "As a traveler and a tour manager, I've been fortunate enough to go around the world and back multiple times. If you can form a meaningful connection with someone through a shared experience and then build the relationship off that, those are the connections that can last a lifetime."

Lindsey applies the same perspective to the startup world, insisting on transparency with investors and clients, including being open about her identity as a queer woman. "I struggled with that at the beginning. I thought, well, who cares? It doesn't matter. Now my stance is that it does matter a lot because working and collaborating with people who identify in the same way or understand why how you identify is super important. It's about being able to show up and show out as your whole self."

Order your own copy of the Gaingels 100, today! Our mission is to encourage greater representation and create a more diverse, equitable, and accessible venture capital ecosystem. Elevating the stories of the most inspiring amongst us is one of the ways in which we do this.

Lead Image

Presented with Pride Here is the first collection of one hundred incredible and inspiring LGBTQIA+ venture-backed entrepreneurs featured in this year's Gaingels 100.