Patty Meagher – Advisor Insight
From Marketing Rep at IBM, to Technology Equity Research at a European Investment Bank, Principal a Family Office/VC Firm, Founder of the Stamford Innovation Center and finally to the Technology Business Advisor at the Connecticut Small Business Development Center (CTSBDC), Patty Meagher has 20+ years of experience with businesses both large and small, and a track record to match.
At her core, Patty considers herself to be a relationship manager and connector of people. She is an Advisor, Investor, and Entrepreneur. She believes that a creative force is unstoppable when combined with the power of a network of people.
“It takes a village to raise a business,” she often says, “And it’s important to map out your community and leverage your connections. Entrepreneurship is not a solo act. Who you choose for your extended team can make or break your business.”
Patty’s personal acronym for the players in a startup community is “ICET’S” (five fingers… five categories!). It stands for Investors, Customers, Experts, Talent, and Service Providers. All five of these categories are critical to the success of an early stage business, and it is important to build an extended team that will help you reach out to organizations and people in each of those categories. It all boils down to surrounding yourself with great people. That is the starting point.
Indeed, Patty practices what she preaches when it comes to a strong network. She is a member of the Angel Investor Forum, on the Global Advisory Board for Astia, and has been involved with a number of other startup focused organizations, such as StartUp CT, CTnext, the Angel and Venture Capital Associations, Crossroads Venture Group, MIT Enterprise Forum etc. With contacts in the Department of Economic Development (DECD), CT Innovations, the CT Technology Council, and many other Connecticut organizations, Patty is an expert at opening doors and helping her clients build their networks, something that would be much more difficult for them to do alone.
Patty also counts the art of preparing her clients to pitch to investors to be one of her strengths.
“I spend 90% of my time helping clients with their pitches and helping them navigate the fundraising waters,” Patty says. On the technical aspect of the process, she helps her clients refine their presentations and executive summaries as well as their strategic plans, crafting polished products that investors will be more likely to open their wallets for. However, the benefits to having Patty’s support also carry over into the pitch itself.
“I’ve built up a lot of trust and relationships amongst both investors and my entrepreneurs over the past ten years,” Patty states. “My clients know that I will do everything in my power to advocate for them, and investors know that I’m honest and a trusted referral source, and that the startups I bring to them are worthy of a closer look.” Clients also stand a better chance when Patty is on their team because she is an advisor from the CTSBDC, a federally funded organization, which gives investors comfort that their potential investment dollars won’t be spent on hiring an expensive 3rd party fund raiser. “The ideal price of this type of advisory service for a startup is free”, Patty adds.
According to Patty, her in depth and extensive work with her clients often ends up with them looking at her not so much as an outside advisor, but more like another member of their extended team.
“It is always rewarding to hear the words, ‘I’m so glad that you’re on our team.’” Patty recounts. She gets very personally invested in her clients, and is highly motivated to guide her clients to success. When that magic combination of a great team, a huge market and an awesome product truly exists, she won’t stop until they gain access to the funding they need to achieve greatness. Many of Patty’s clients are in the Life Science or Sustainability sectors, and it is particularly rewarding to help these entrepreneurs make the proverbial ‘dent in the universe’.
“Getting deals closed for clients is a great feeling because I get to see them break through the starting gate,” Patty admits. “It’s really satisfying to see someone I have so much confidence in succeed.” It’s obvious that Patty is incredibly proficient at doing what she loves, with her portfolio of companies clocking in at over $30 million in capital raised in the first two years of working with the SBDC. She likes to think that she played a small part in helping making that happen.
Patty has also been an active participant in the economic development of the City of Stamford, Connecticut, as the Founder of the Stamford Innovation Center. This center is a hub of the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the city, offering workspace, education and events for businesspeople from all over the area. Although she is no longer managing the day-to-day operations, she is still an owner and some of the co-working members of the Center are Patty’s clients, who she encourages to participate in order to build their networks and connect with other members of Stamford’s innovation ecosystem. “We designed the iCenter to provide what I call ‘managed serendipity’. It works… “
As a professional business advisor, Patty has one piece of advice for all of America’s small businesses: “Entrepreneurship is a team sport. Surround yourself with a community that you can trust and who will actively support you, and you have already won half the battle.”