HelloAdvisr Founder and CEO, Ed Lee, was recently interviewed by VoyageLA Magazine as part of their “Inspiring Stories” series of rising stars in the arts, creatives, entrepreneurship in Los Angeles.
Today we’d like to introduce you to Ed Lee.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Ed. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
Most of my professional career involved the intersection of consulting and pricing. I worked for a multinational corporation and global management consulting firms, helping companies and executives leverage pricing to create opportunities to grow businesses.
These experiences provided an amazing global education working with businesses at scale, the challenges they faced, and how they seized new opportunities. So, when I started to get involved with entrepreneurs and startups, it was both a mix of excitement and a pinch of fear.
Early on, while I was still with a large management consulting firm, I was invited to work with portfolio companies at the then-new global tech startup accelerator Wayra in their London (UK) program (now 13 programs globally).
Nothing could hold these companies back from their vision. Nothing except the critical task of the company to one day generate revenue and profit. This was going from zero to one in pricing and monetization for many of these companies. I soon discovered this was not an anomaly.
After several years based in London, I returned to LA; my hometown. When I returned, I wanted to learn more about the tech/startup/entrepreneurial ecosystem and met with everyone I could – from early stage founders to local tech accelerators and organizations. What I discovered was nothing like I remembered seeing when I left the first time.
Entrepreneurship in LA evolved into every industry you can think of: fashion, retail/ecommerce, software, consumer goods. Yet one theme continued to come up again and again in my conversations – pricing.
These discussions on pricing and growth, would eventually be the genesis for my growth consultancy, HelloAdvisr. I wanted to change the paradigm of how entrepreneurs grow companies by leveraging smarter pricing; a proven growth engine and industry-defining as market leaders such as Apple, Amazon and Netflix demonstrate.
My path to entrepreneurship was anything but linear, but experience has led me where I am today and excited to continue working on my three passions – pricing, entrepreneurship, and education.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It seems a bit of a cliche, but the hardest step in my journey is making the plunge to start my company HelloAdvisr. I knew what problem I wanted to solve – bridge the gap companies face when working on pricing – but did not figure out how best to deliver the solution. Would I offer a product? A service? Join another company aligned with the mission and start helping just one company?
The task of figuring this out delayed the plunge into entrepreneurship – but the time I took for discovery turned out to be invaluable in my next steps. I spoke with entrepreneurs, investors, and community-builders and heard what they had to say. I gave talks and workshops where I engaged with participants on their pain points and the problems they want solved.
Ultimately, I needed to accept there is no perfect answer. The most frightening part is this – unlike so many other professional decisions – was 100% my own. No committee. No board. No one else. Just me.
As long as I was true to the company mission, and our own unique approach to help clients solve their most pressing pricing and growth challenges, we’d be ok.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with HelloAdvisr – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
HelloAdvisr is a specialist consulting firm focusing on pricing, monetization, and go-to-market. Our mission is to help entrepreneurs identify their company and product’s real value to use smarter pricing to proactively achieve sustainable growth and beyond.
Through our experience, we know 100% of companies have to do pricing , but only a small percentage actually work on pricing. This is critical for entrepreneurs where poor pricing is cited as a top 5 reason for failure.
HelloAdvisr brings specialist knowledge by working with entrepreneurs and companies wanting to gain a competitive edge by using smarter pricing to grow their companies. Research shows, a 1% improvement in pricing can have a bottom-line impact three to five times greater than improving customer acquisition/volume by 1%.
HelloAdvisr helps entrepreneurs and companies harness that growth potential. This includes startup and founders from pre-seed (<$100k in revenue) to series D (>$10m in revenue). We also work with entrepreneurs, not in the investor-backed world, bringing creativity and innovation to their industries. This includes ‘lifestyle’ companies creating athletic gear to marketing agencies who are experiencing double-digit annual growth.
Our client’s progress and success is why we do what we do, but also love the constant learning opportunity that comes from working with diverse clients – from the industry they’re in, the products they’re building to the gender/cultural makeup of the executive team.
As we continue to grow, my goal is to create more awareness around the importance of smart pricing to growth. I have been fortunate to be invited to speak and teach on pricing and pricing strategy at leading universities such as UC, San Diego and University of Southern California (USC) and most recently as a lecturer at UCLA and industry advisor for Said Business School at Oxford University. I look forward to many more opportunities to continue the discussion and see even more entrepreneurs and new ventures achieve their goals.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
My first priority is always supporting our clients and helping them achieve their goals. So, I’m excited to see how they continue to grow and disrupt their industries and sectors.
I’m also excited about HelloAdvisr’s on-going activities to help more companies and the wider entrepreneurial ecosystem to talk about the role of pricing in their organizations.This includes hosting and participating in a number of conferences, workshops, talks and events to raise awareness and insight of pricing as a growth strategy.
One core project HelloAdvisr launched this year is a pricing study to understand how entrepreneurs and companies view and work on pricing. I’m excited to be sharing the findings later this year!