Lawrence M. Harding
Founder & CEO, HsP
For more than 20 years, Larry’s customer-oriented vision for the global expansion software & services (“GESS”) market has driven the industry forward. Now, with the launch of HsP in 2017, the market has a new provider positioned for leadership over the next decade and beyond.
After graduating from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Larry began his career on the audit staff of EY’s Boston office, and later provided due diligence assistance to leading Venture Capital, Private Equity and Corporate investors who were clients of EY, as an M&A Consultant. This led to a series of CFO positions with several VC-backed hardware technology companies in the Boston area. In 1999, one of these was acquired by Ciena, a leading provider of optical networking equipment, whose customer list included most of the larger telecommunications carriers around the world.
As Ciena’s VP of International Finance, Larry led the Finance, HR and Legal initiatives related to their expansion into 30 different countries outside the US. During this time, Larry gained significant expertise in the best ways to handle the global expansion requirements driven by the opening of these typically smaller (less than 50 employee) offices in overseas locations. He also realized that this expertise would be relevant for not only larger, publicly-traded SME businesses like Ciena, but for privately held VC-backed concerns as well, like the ones he’d worked at before Ciena.
Armed with this expertise and a customer-oriented vision for how deliver these solutions more effectively, Larry founded High Street Partners in 2003. This venture became an entrepreneurial success over the ensuing decade; two consecutive designations as one of the fastest growing companies (#84 and #79) on the Inc 500; the fundraising of more than $20m in venture proceeds, earmarked for the development of the first real cloud-based software platform supporting the global expansion solutions market; recognition for Larry and High Street Partners as winner of EY's prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Maryland region in 2013; and a successful exit in 2014, transacted as part of a private equity backed merger with a competitor firm, completed at a valuation nearly 5x the venture proceeds raised.
Larry agreed to stay involved with the newly combined successor business, a BPO provider of bookkeeping and related services for companies supporting their global operations, as Vice Chairman of their Board of Directors. During this time, Larry started and led their Corporate Development initiatives, focused on optimizing the inorganic growth opportunities available to the business, and culminating with their successful expansion into the Brazilian market via acquisition in 2015.
Now, with the launch of HsP, Larry and the founding team are focused on building the next great provider of GESS solutions. Their four foundational principles for this next endeavor, relevant for the next 10+ years, are the following:
- Intuitive, effective, world-class software and mobile apps that automate the routine functions
- Resources available to you in the way you need them to be – based in your geography, working your same business hours, and armed with the requisite knowledge and experience to truly help you, as and when you need them to
- An understanding that the customer experience must come first – ahead of owner, investor, or bottom-line success
- Fixed pricing, simple billing, and no “nickel and diming”