Private Equity Firm Founder Involved In Dell Deal Explains How He Got Into Tech

Another awesome interview from leading Wall Street career site, OneWire. This time, CEO Skiddy von Stade sits down with Glenn Hutchins, who is the Co-Founder of Silver Lake Partners. It’s a part of OneWire’s ongoing web series, Open Door.

In the interview, Hutchins offers some solid career advice and discusses how he and his partners launched the largest technology-focused private equity firm in the world, which today manages approximately $23 billion in assets under management and committed capital.

After earning both a JD and MBA from Harvard, Hutchins graduated without a full time job—drawing some concern from both his professors and peers. Though he received offers from investment banks and consulting firms, Hutchins wanted something different. After engaging in contract work for nearly a year, he joined forces with entrepreneur Thomas H. Lee, who was restarting what became one of the first private equity firms in the country.

Hutchins’ impressive career has spanned both the public and private sectors, and in 1999, he co-founded the investment firm Silver Lake Partners. The idea behind Silver Lake was to establish a firm that specialised in private equity investments in large-cap technology and technology-enabled companies.

Hutchins explains, “Technology grows much faster than the rest of the economy and is…less susceptible to cyclical effects. And so you can invest with a tailwind…and you didn’t need as much leverage to be successful.”

Since its founding, Silver Lake has invested in a number of successful technology and tech-enabled companies, including Skype, Alibaba, Avago, Seagate, and Instinet. Today, the firm is actively pursuing a highly publicized takeover of Dell.

In the interview, Hutchins explains his firm’s hands-on approach to business, “Most private equity firms are the equivalent of the coxswain in the crew race. They sit at the back of the boat and shout, ‘Stroke! Stroke!’ And we get in the boat and row.”