Hollie Moore Haynes, founder and managing partner of Luminate Capital Partners (and formerly a partner at Silver Lake), is one of 36 dealmakers named in Mergers & Acquisitions’ 2019 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. Click here for the full list. This year, we asked the dealmakers to tell their stories in their own voices through Q&As.

How did you get into dealmaking?

I got a job as an analyst at Hellman & Friedman in 1995. That was the beginning of the era of PE firms hiring young people and staffing out “pre-MBA” teams.

How has a mentor helped your career?

In the summer of 1998 I worked for Meridee Moore at Farallon Capital. I was an MBA intern. She loved to invest money and also had 3 kids. Changed my life. Today she is an informal advisor and also an investor in my funds.

What is your current role?

I am the founder and managing partner of my firm, Luminate Capital. I run the firm. I would like to spend all of my time working on deals and talking with our investors and management teams but that’s not life as a firm leader. I also spend a lot of time on firm issues - financials, tax, IT. We are investors but Luminate itself is a company. It can be difficult to balance the two.

Describe your influence on the middle market.

We are heads down focused on getting deals done and making them work. We do growth buyouts in the software area. We think of the broader ecosystem as our customers - bankers, sellers, management teams. We try to serve them well - act quickly, be responsive and decisive. We can’t avoid disappointing or even frustrating people in the deal business but we do our best.

Describe a recent deal.

We have been active in the last few years. Earlier this year we acquired a Canadian company called Conexiom. This company received venture backing in 1999. We bought out that VC in 2018. It can take a long time for enterprise software businesses to get traction - craft the product, satisfy the customer, build the team. These are complex products that address comped customer needs. We are seeing more and more companies who have finally achieved some critical mass and reached a point at which founders or early VCs are ready to sell.

Describe a challenge you overcame.

I started Luminate 4 years ago out of my house. I didn’t know if I was creating a firm or just trying to find some deals. I knew I wasn’t happy being part of a very large organization. That was scary, to say the least. Step by step Luminate has become a firm. Initially it was just an effort to find a deal. I’m a big believer in tactical execution and less interested in grand vision.

How do you support women?

I’m not doing much yet other than trying to be a good example. I’ve tried to hire women investment professionals. We hope to add more.

What is your advice for women?

Find ways to add value to your firm. Make money for the firm by doing good deals. In the end that’s all that matters in this business. Make people money. Then make them more. Keep doing that.

When you’re not making deals, what is your favorite thing to do?

I have 4 daughters so mostly I spend time with them and my wonderful husband.

What other career path might you have chosen?

I’ve worked in finance since graduating from college in 1993. I like it. I wish I had a better idea of an alternative but there are enough ways to work in finance that there is something in the sector for a lot of people.