BrandVerge '5 for 5' – Pat Hedley Spotlight
We sat down with one of our investors, Pat Hedley, who is an angel investor and the author of “Meet 100 People,” a book that stresses the importance and value of networking. Hedley started her career as a consultant and worked up to be a top executive at General Atlantic as an investor in software companies, before returning to her true passion as an investor and advisor. She is very passionate about helping startup companies that have passion, ambition and a talented team – BrandVerge is lucky to have her as an investor!
Industry Influencer: Pat Hedley, Angel Investor & Author of “Meet 100 People”
What is your professional background, and what led you to go off on your own to advise and invest in startup companies?
After starting my career as a consultant at Bain & Company, I joined General Atlantic, a global growth equity firm, as an investor in software companies. I spent nearly thirty years with General Atlantic, moving into senior management roles, building out the firm’s global marketing effort, running external human capital, as well as being the head of talent. Five years ago, I left the firm to return to my roots: investing in and advising growth companies. I love working with entrepreneurs and helping them succeed in building great businesses.
2. How do you evaluate new opportunities and decide which ones you want to get involved with?
I look to invest in companies that solve old problems in new ways. The most important factor for me is the team-- specifically the founder and CEO. I look for passionate, innovative and gritty teams. People who create a vision and they drive results. So, I only invest in companies that I am proud to be affiliated with, and where I can be helpful in accelerating growth. I look at it in a similar way in terms of companies that I advise. I like to work with companies where they have fantastic teams that are looking to scale and get to the next level. Companies who want to bring somebody on board who can help provide them some of that advice.
3. How does this help them along their journey towards growth and success?
Over the course of 30 years, I’ve seen many companies succeed, and some that have faltered. Over that time, I’ve developed an extensive network of contacts: advisors, experts, senior executives and others that are valuable in building companies. I’m a strong believer in the power of networks and the value of continuously building relationships. In fact, I wrote a book called “Meet 100 People” to encourage people to proactively expand their network by building their relationships. My experiences help make me a thoughtful advisor and an active connector.
4. What is your biggest piece of advice for entrepreneurs?
I tell people to meet as many people as you can. I tell entrepreneurs to meet investors before you need them and build those relationships, so that you have them ready when you do need them. I suggest that entrepreneurs meet talented people, again, well before you need to hire them, so that you learn what good looks like. I encourage people to spend time with their customers, understand their perspective and what their needs are so that you can continuously delight them, and have them be your brand ambassadors. I really believe in talking to peers, to fellow entrepreneurs and learning from them, and I believe every individual, but especially entrepreneurs, should surround themselves with advisors and tap them for their advice and expertise.
5. If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give to yourself when you were first getting started in your career?
Not surprisingly, I would suggest that I place greater emphasis on building a network early. The more people you meet, the more you learn, and the more opportunities present themselves to you. The more people you meet, the more valuable you become. I wrote my book “Meet 100 People” because it’s advice I wish I had received when I was first starting out.