Breaking out and building up

Patrick Donohue’s first foray into entrepreneurship began with a few pieces of paper, a small table, and a pitcher of ice-cold lemonade. Today, Donohue traded in the lemonade for words of wisdom as he shares valuable lessons with his new book, Breakout Valuation, to budding entrepreneurs trying to build a successful business.

Released by Houndstooth Press on September 20th, “Breakout Valuation” represents the culmination of Donohue’s decades of business experience. The 45-year-old Eden Prairie resident currently serves as the CEO and managing partner of Hill Capital Corporation. He is also actively involved with local business organizations 1 Million Cups Eden Prairie and EO Minnesota.

Eden Prairie Local News asked Donohue some questions about his new book and his entrepreneurial spirit.

Tell us about Breakout Valuation – what is it about and why did you want to write it?


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Breakout Valuation is about helping entrepreneurs build a valuable business. Breakout gains value today based on what the company can do in the future. I wrote the book to level the playing field in finance for entrepreneurs who are often misled by investors, lenders, and business buyers.

You started the book in March 2020 – was that a pandemic project?

Yes! The pandemic was an opportunity for me to realize my dream of putting my life’s work into a book.

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Who is the book aimed at and what do you expect from the readers?

entrepreneur. My goal is for readers to be empowered to build their business and create value for themselves, their families and communities.

Where does your entrepreneurial spirit come from? Did it really start with a lemonade stand? How have you nurtured that spirit over the years?

Entrepreneurs/cousins ​​Chad Chelgren and Patrick Donohue in June 1984.

My entrepreneurial spirit came from my family, my grandfather, Bob Drummond. It started with a lemonade stand that my grandpa helped set up!

I have nurtured my entrepreneurial spirit over the years through my involvement with 1 Million Cups Eden Prairie and the Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

You are heavily involved in Entrepreneurs’ Organization MN (EO Minnesota) and 1 Million Cups Eden Prairie – what do you like about these groups? Why would you recommend someone to get involved?

I am currently President of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization of MN and an active organizer of 1 Million Cups Eden Prairie. I invest a lot of time in these organizations as my personal and professional interests are perfectly aligned with them.

I love these organizations because they actively support entrepreneurs. I see these organizations as a safe place for entrepreneurs to share their travels and experiences with other entrepreneurs.

I recommend getting involved with these organizations because they stay true to their mission of supporting entrepreneurs and offer a significant return on the time participants invest in attending events/meetings.

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Are there any successes you have experienced through these organizations that inspire you?

Yes! There are literally hundreds of success stories that I have witnessed. I have many of my own – and the latest is the fact that this book would not have come about without the MN business organization. A colleague, Aaron Street, the author of Small Firm Roadmap, encouraged me to write Breakout Valuation.

Tell us about your greatest successes as an entrepreneur. What about failures that you learned something from?

My greatest success as an entrepreneur is in the works! I founded Hill Capital Corporation, a private investment fund, and couldn’t be happier with the impact we are making by building and supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

There are many failures, and I’ve recently come to realize that what I termed “failures” were some of the biggest learning and turning points of my life. Ironically, I wouldn’t change anything in the past. The stumbling blocks in the early days of starting Inspiration Medical Technology, Hill Capital Corporation, DealPen and all of my entrepreneurial endeavors laid the foundation for my work today.

What is a typical day as CEO of Hill Capital?

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My typical day consists of meeting and corresponding with the founders of our portfolio companies, carefully reviewing potential investments, meeting entrepreneurs seeking capital partners, and attending events we host and sponsor. i love what i do

What are you doing in your spare time?

First the family! Football games, Boy Scout trips, cross-country ski meetings are priorities. I actively water ski and alpine ski. I teach Downhill Skiing at Buck Hill as I absolutely love the sport!

Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers?

Support entrepreneurship wherever possible. Entrepreneurship sounds glamorous in the media, but the reality is that there is very little in entrepreneurship that is easy. Entrepreneurs take great financial risks, and many of them make significantly less money than they would if they had a “real job,” but they do it because they want their products and services to make the world a better place. Entrepreneurship is the glue that holds our communities together and makes them vibrant, but this is rarely seen or understood by the general public.

Help the kids with their lemonade stand! It will probably be one of her best life lessons. It is for me!

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