In Conversation with Elizabeth Edwards of H Venture Partners
Describe your business in a few words?
H Venture Partners is a venture capital firm that invests in next generation consumer brands.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
After 15 years as a VC in other firms, investing in Peloton (IPO), Bill.com (IPO), Roots (IPO), and Freshly ($1.5Bn Nestle acquisition), I felt it was time to strike out on my own and invest in founders and brands that I believe in – specifically female and underrepresented founders building billion-dollar brands.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I’ve always been a VC. I started as a Strategy Consultant at Deloitte, working to find technologies to imbed into brands like Tylenol – and got the bug for consumer and VC.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I’ve always known that I wanted to be an entrepreneur – I just didn’t know that my business would be to back OTHER entrepreneurs.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
I quit my job on principle one day and basically started my firm the next day – having no experience raising a fund – only experience investing funds. Fundraising is hard – and it’s especially hard for new VC funds. I’m glad I didn’t know how hard it would be, but I wish I had researched and planned a bit more before jumping into the fire. Eisenhower said that “Plans are useless, but planning is everything.”
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Starting one of the few female founded, owned, and controlled venture funds in the world to raise more than $10MM.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
Your resume tells us everything that you’re really good at. What aren’t you good at? Hire people who are better than you are at the thing you are hiring them to do.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
The pandemic has had a huge impact on the venture capital industry in that overnight, epicenters like New York and San Francisco weren’t as relevant – everyone is on Zoom and people who lived in New York moved to Florida or the Midwest and people from San Francisco moved to Austin.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We’re going to invest in 5-8 more companies, raise more money, and invest in another 15 companies, raise more money, invest in another 15 companies, have some great wins and then raise a lot of money.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
Expect the unexpected.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
It’s going to be 100 times harder than you think and 100 times worth it.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
I work with a great team – they’ve kept me grounded. Sometimes, you need someone to say, “Hey, this was a huge accomplishment – we should celebrate.”
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I absolutely believe in work/life balance. It’s important to invest in your relationships. Have a date night with your partner each week. Go on a good vacation every year. Otherwise, you’ll never have the energy or creativity you need to be your best at work. I believe in delegating at work and at home. By design, I have a ton of help at home raising our 2 girls and keeping our home in order. We have a nanny/housekeeper, my mom lives 5 blocks away, and my husband is a real partner. I live across the street from my office (my husband’s brilliant idea). When you’re the boss, you get to pick where the office is.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I’ve invested all over North America for over 15 years – all of it from my hometown of Cincinnati. I didn’t live in New York when I looked at Peloton. I didn’t live in San Francisco when I looked at Bill.com. These deals were all done on conference calls and airplanes – and video conference has been a huge upgrade.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
Have a strategic plan with clear KPIs. Prioritize what drives value in your business and make sure that your time is allocated to the top priorities.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
It means sharing best practices with your peers. When you succeed and share your secrets with your fellow women, we all succeed.