It All Starts with Culture, Heather Smith, Podcast #110
Heather Smith is Managing Partner at Ancoris Capital Partners, a firm she started. Ancoris is a specialty investment bank built to raise equity and debt for privately-held businesses, public companies and alternative investment firms. We talk about her career in a male-centric vertical and how she is changing that for other women interesting in banking.
You can listen to this on iTunes here.
Remember, summer is every other Monday as we all need a break!
#110It All Starts With Culture, Heather Smith, Ancoris Capital Partners“You can’t break companies within, you can only break them outside. So why don’t you go start your own Goldman Sachs and call it something else.” – J.W.0:39 Did you always have this desire to be in money and the banking world? “When I went to college, Harvard, I wanted to be a lawyer…” 1:25 At the time, early 90’s everyone was doing finance. “That was the era of money.”2:15 Went to business school at night, Kellogg.2:25 Couple of years later, got into investment banking, where you not only need to know finance but also marketing. 2:42 Institutional capital raising. Late stage capital. $30M to $300M. 3:14 What did the companies look like at the time? (as compared to now)4:22 Structuring these types of deals.4:38 Today mainly raising from family offices, back then was a lot of cross-over funds.5:18 After Chicago, moved to New York to continue in investment banking.5:42 Worked for a few of the major banks, “At these banks, how many women were on your teams?” “Very few.”5:55 “What is actually very interesting is that there are less women today in investment banking than there was 10 to 15 years ago.”6:06 Why do you think that is?6:45 “15 years ago, we use to have 50% of our classes at Credit Suisse were women. (out of college) By the time you become a managing director, it went to 15%. Today, initially it starts at 9% in the analyst class out of undergrad.7:02 Where do those women go?8:05 Were you hassled and was it more difficult as a woman?8:31 People still across Wall St. say (and do) stupid (and inappropriate) things.9:31 “The issue today is, there are less women starting their career in finance, by the time you get to the upper ranks, there’s a tiny sliver of women.”10:50 Why couldn’t a woman be the head of Goldman Sachs?11:33 Wilson “You can’t break companies within, you can only break them outside. So why don’t you go start your own Goldman Sachs and call it something else.” Smith, “So that’s what I did.”11:52 So when did you have that a-ha moment?12:03 “The markets amazing right now for raising capital. There’s a lot of capital on the sidelines.”13:00 Launched Ancoris in January. So far, it’s been better than expected.13:34 What do these companies looking for capital look like now? “All over the map.” 14:43 “The venture world seems to be changing. It seems to me the family offices is the next generation of really interesting capital.”17:14 Later stage analytics.17:45 Do you think in the later stage (depending on the vertical), things are overvalued now? “Across the board everything is overvalued. There’s a lot of capital chasing a limited number of high quality deals. But deals are still getting done.” 18:31 “Part of what’s fueling that, is that you can get so much leverage. The credit is still available.”19:15 Everyone has their own formula. Private Equity vs. Venture Capital.20:12 “I can’t help but wonder, when is this all going to end…?” “It ends when the money doesn’t continue to flow.”21:09 Do you structure the deal generally? “We do all the structuring. We can be creative (on the structuring side), because we know what the market with bear.”22:30 Ancoris, the team.22:43 How did you come up with the name of your company? Ancoris is Latin for the word anchor. 23:39 What are you going to do to recruit young women? “It’s a core focus. Really focused on diversity.”24:12 Are you going to start talking to business schools what you are doing?24:39 What is going to be your maternity leave policy and how are you going to think about that differently than things that happened to you when you were growing up in the business? “I think also, it’s about being fair and allowing people flexibility.…It’s less about facetime and more about productivity.”27:40 “Woman, particularly this generation coming up, want to have flexibility.” 28:07 “I think it’s amazing as a woman you’re running a company in an industry that has been mostly male dominated to go back and say to other women that are coming up the pipeline that this is a great career, look at me, and you can do it. And we’re going to have a great culture. It’s all about the culture.”
Found the discussion informative, clear and hopeful.