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Alan Shaw

New York
Alan Shaw

I never stopped reading as a kid

I don’t remember wanting to be anything specific when I was growing up – I was just really curious. I would ask a ton of questions. I was always reading – in the car, at the dinner table – even though My parents would tell me I was being impolite. I’ve always been fascinated by topics like evolution and history because they explain how we got to where we are today. I didn’t have a specific career path in mind, but I always liked learning new things and understanding the “why”.

The worlds of tech and investing had a big impact on me

I grew up in Austin, and both my parents were engineers in the first wave of tech companies that came to the area. I had no idea what private equity was until freshman year of college. Luckily, my first internship was in an investing role at a hedge fund in Austin, so my introduction to finance was to think like an investor. It suited my personality – constantly learning, asking questions, being curious about everything. There was this additional component of applying that knowledge and making decisions. I found that very interesting.

Tech is the most exciting, dynamic space in which to invest

I’d love to own a parking lot or gumball machines because they’re regular cashflows that you don’t have to think about. Some companies and markets make great investments but are not as interesting. However, I like companies that are disrupting a space or constantly having to evolve and adopt their strategy. If you asked me what market I wanted to learn about, I’d obviously pick the most exciting and dynamic space, which is tech.

My mentor gave me an inside track on the culture at Advent

Private equity firms can look similar from the outside. I felt like I had an inside track on the culture at Advent because my college mentor worked there. He was a powerful advocate for the people and culture at Advent. Those words carried a lot of weight because I respect him, and because finding the right culture for me was just as important as the prestige of the firm.