Pat Moynihan - a Leeds alum and the founder of AF Reducer - has had quite the entrepreneurial career path. He attended the Leeds School of Business from 2009 to 2013 where he majored in operations management, double minored in entrepreneurship and TAM (Technology, Art, and Media), and got a certificate at the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility.
Pat began working on AF Reducer - a vitamin supplement that reduces alcohol flush - as a summer project related to his Intro to Entrepreneurship course. After graduation, Pat wanted to get more serious about AF Reducer and invested more time into growing the business. He applied to Shark Tank on a whim and was accepted. Although his episode never aired, Pat was able to benefit from the coaching and public speaking skills that Shark Tank provided. The experience allowed him to focus his efforts on legitimizing the business and taking the product to a larger market.
“Erick Mueller’s class - essentially the capstone for Entrepreneurship - helped me with my business plan and public speaking skills … the class was a funnel that helped me to legitimize my business.”
Pat worked closely with one of the investors in AF Reducer - Ben Brockland - who ran Matchbox Labs (an incubator in Boulder). Ben had recently taken a job at Salesforce in San Francisco, and was connected to DataFox by a colleague graduating from Stanford Business School. Three months into his tenure, Ben asked Pat to join the team as the tenth employee - Pat accepted and joined in May of 2014. “We effectively joined pre-revenue/customers, quickly found product market fit, and scaled the team to about 100 globally, culminating in the sale of the business on October 31st, 2018 to Oracle.”
Pat describes the acquisition by Oracle as a good opportunity to rapidly expand our customer base by leveraging Oracles’s 140,000 existing customers. DataFox’s product was complementary to Oracle’s product suite, and they recognized the benefit their customers stood being equipped with DataFox.
Favorite part of entrepreneurship
Pat’s favorite aspect of entrepreneurship is its ability to expose you to different roles and business functions that you may not otherwise interact with. He was fortunate to work on almost every aspect of DataFox and take away a comprehensive view of how companies function.
“It’s important to understand how different business units function to be able to scale quickly in unison.”
What characteristics do you see in yourself that you believe help you as an entrepreneur?
“Willingness to work with ambiguity. I enjoy diving into new challenges and quickly deciding whether something is working or not. This coupled with a high motor allows me to succeed in a startup environment.”
One piece of advice
“Rely on your network. Seek out experts who can help to validate your ideas and be ok with making yourself vulnerable. You’ll not only get to the destination faster - you’ll also add allies along the way.“