Leader In The Spotlight: Petra Meyer - Golden Seeds, Angel Investor Network


Liz Moyles

It was a real delight to speak with Petra and I was very keen to do so, as usually I interview individuals who are working directly within MedTech. I thought speaking and interviewing a member of an Investment Firm was a slightly different angle which may interest many CEOs and Advisors and others reading this post. 

It turns out to be a very small world. Even though Petra is in the US, and I am in the UK, we both realised that we had worked for the same company, in the same site, at the same time,  but never met each other.  It was a very large employer to be fair- Boots UK. We enjoyed speaking about how we both loved to splurge at the staff super discounted beauty store onsite! There were some great buys to be had! 

In this interview Petra shares her route to becoming an Angel Investor and a Board Advisor, about being a CEO’s sparring partner or Consigliere and she  generously shares hints and tips for entrepreneurs looking to gain access to funding. 

Thanks for your valuable time, Petra.

  • Petra, you’ve had a really interesting career working at companies such as Boots, Merck, Unilever, Walgreens and then setting up your own consultancy company before becoming a Managing Director at Golden Seeds Angel Investors. You started in marketing - Was marketing, always a passion even at school?

    Always. I am a natural at designing goods – (my own sweaters/earrings/clothes) and promoting them. I love food and personal care, so Unilever was an obvious choice – if only for the cheap ice cream and personal care goodies in the staff shop. Same at Boots of course… 


  • Of course…..those were the days Petra weren’t they ? I spent a fortune in that staff shop. I had an incredible make up bag and face creams ! So, what was the reality of working in Marketing when you took on your first role in Unilever- was it all you had hoped it would be and why Unilever?

    Very exciting. I got involved in many creative endeavours like packaging design, product development and advertising early on. There was something new to learn and discover every day. At the time Unilever was a mega giant with companies spanning from food, personal care and laundry but also packaging technology. And we were working with multiple agencies, travelling a lot. Living the good life. I loved it , I was learning so much and every day was different. I knew I had made the right career decision.


  • So after several years at Unilever in Hamburg, how did you end up with me at Boots UK and what did your family and friends think about you taking off to another country; were they concerned, excited, did you feel it was a leap of faith?

    Right after school I left to be an au-pair in Paris for a year. So, no one was really surprised, when I decide to move to the UK for a new opportunity.

    I was looking to move abroad and talked to friends in the UK. Before long I            was contacted about the opportunity at Boots. They were looking to create  a marketing department for a new division and they wanted to attract a very diverse group of individuals. I’d always admired Boots, so it was more a dream come true that a leap of faith. 


  • I loved it at Boots -one of the best companies I have ever worked for. sSo Petra , your journey took you to Merck KgaA as Chief Marketing Officer for the Consumer Health Division. What attracted you to the role and its technology and what did you learn in this role ?

    Boots was sold to Reckitts in 2006 and then Merck  KgaA acquired by division from Reckitt sans that is how I ended up at Merck.

    Merck is a fantastic company with a strong innovation culture and tons of examples of exciting technologies made in Germany. It is also a truly global business with a strong footprint in Asia, South America, and Europe.

    The consumer health portfolio had many innovative products such as Nasivin – the only nasal spray with an exact metered dosage that had been to the moon with one of the Apollo missions (no joke!!!!!) or Bion 3 a patented probiotic product (with a factory build for it to produce the 3-layer tablet).

    I had the opportunity to create a new marketing strategy and team on a global level. That was a fantastic opportunity, but also meant a lot of change in ways of working and the scopes of roles. I learnt that a new leader needs to take time to build relationships and a support network especially in a large corporation to effectively make changes happen.

  • And then it seems your passion for Boots came knocking again and this time you joined Walgreen Boots once more in the UK as Regional Director  for Europe, for the Alphega Pharmacy Group. What did taking on such a large role feel like, and what advice did you give to yourself as you embarked on that journey?

    I wanted to move out of Marketing and learn about operations and this role provided an opportunity to learn from experienced operators in the pharmacy market. But of course, I didn’t know much about this corner of the market.

    My advice to myself was try to learn fast from experienced colleagues, meet as many people as possible early on,  and listen to them. Specifically, the country managers were fantastic in facilitating conversations with pharmacists and clients and understanding their business model. 


  • What led to the move to the US, and to setting up your own business. How did that come about? 

    I came to the US to start a consultancy business and started doing consultancy work for large corporations. A few months later, I re-connected with a former colleague who was starting up her own health tech company in the US. She had a great concept, lots of passion and energy and was looking to find someone to help her starting up the business in the US.

    I joined for a year and helped them establish the business and get the product market ready. I found I loved being in a start-up environment. It was so agile, fast moving, you could have such an impact so quickly without having layers of red tape to cut through and it was exhilarating to be working with companies who had cutting edge ideas. I hadn’t ever considered working in a start-up but in hindsight, I wish I had made this transition earlier in my career. 


  • So you worked in various roles, as a Fractional Executive, Consultant and Board Advisor  for several companies. What is different when you are working in this capacity as opposed to being part of the Management or Leadership Team itself?

    At this point in my career, I felt I could add more value being an Advisor or a Consultant to multiple companies. I love diverse challenges and working with many different companies provides this. Also, one of my primary aims is to be impartial and objective.  I think I have often been referred to as the CEO’s “sparring partner or their Consigliere”. I only work with companies I believe in and that have alignment with my own values. 


  • How did you get into Golden Seeds and why do you love this work so much? 

    In my first start-up experience, I got to learn about the challenges of fundraising , and saw how particularly hard it seemed to be for women entrepreneurs. In the US even today, women only command  2% of venture capital. I started looking into Angel Investing and a friend invited me to attend a Golden Seeds pitch event.

    It was a fun, insightful experience to see several passionate entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to investors. As I sat there, I got excited about the fantastic ideas presented, and how some could change the world. I also felt that I could add value to these entrepreneurs with my marketing and leadership experience and I was very impressed by the Golden Seed team and their insightful questions. I joined Golden Seeds shortly after and have had the privilege to work with fantastic companies and entrepreneurs mainly in the Life Sciences field. I love this environment. I learn something new every day in this ever-changing environment. 


  • What is unique about Golden Seeds – you are an Angel Investment fund for companies at the pre-seed and seed level is that correct? 

    Yes, we invest in early-stage women-led start-ups- so companies led by women CEOs or Exec Teams where there is at least 1 woman on the C-suite with a significant equity share. Golden Seeds, founded in 2004 is one of the largest Angel Networks in the US with over 300 members. It’s known for its Nationwide footprint.

    In the US roughly 2 % of VC money goes to women led businesses. That is a low percentage compared to other countries such as the UK where it is 9%,  which is still not great,  but better.

    We actively encourage people to drop in for a free consultation with our team. The sooner the better in the lifecycle of an idea. Some people attend our free office hours with an idea on a napkin – it’s fine, we love to try some support at such an informal and early stage. 


  • What advice do you have for very early concept stage companies? 

    I would say surround yourself with a committed team of people with complementary skills that share your vision for the business. That starts with your co-founders and leadership group. In the very early stages as a founder, you will need to wear 2, 3 or more hats. When you start fund raising, make sure you have a great finance person and the relevant commercial skills to develop market projections, the finance model, and the fundraising plan.

    I also recommend a board of advisors who add key skills and contacts in your business field in the early stages,  and as a next step,  a board of directors. The Board of Directors will be your key partner as an entrepreneur and CEO, so choose wisely.

    Be open minded. Get feedback and use it to develop your idea and business. It's never too early to start sharing your idea. Talk to people, talk to as many as you can,  and listen to the feedback. Go and pitch at events. Listen to other entrepreneurs pitching.  Incubators and accelerators are also a great opportunity to learn and find peers.

    When fundraising, prepare for rejection and bear in mind, that it might take months to raise the $$$$ needed. 2023 has been a particular difficult year for fundraising. If you have the option to apply for grants or obtain other non-dilutive finding, that’s a great opportunity.


  • What tips do you have for pitching? 

    I would say consider:

    Does your product or service address a real pain point?

    What is your solution?

    How easy is it to execute and implement the solution in way that has minimum disruption, knock on effects, so that it is seamless to the workflow for example in a hospital.

    If you have a personal story, tell it.

    Always personalise your pitch to your audience. Do you need to educate them about the problem?

    Try to build lasting relationships- get known by the Angel Investors and VCs and meet with them, access them, stay fresh in their minds.

    Be Authentic -Be Yourself 


  • What would you say is the biggest lesson you have learned in your career that you could share with others……

    Always have a career plan but be open to opportunities which may appear out of nowhere unexpectedly and be ready to explore avenues and industries that you may know nothing about. You never know where it will lead. 


  • What do you think is going to be big in the next 5 years? 

    Certainly, AI in many forms. Hopefully there will be a lot of advancement in targeted therapies for cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Women’s Health is a field which finally gets more attention, clean- tech is an interesting field and many more.


  •  Finally, Petra – you know I love to ask this - what do you love doing when not in work, perhaps to relax and what song would get you on the dance floor or on the karaoke machine?

    I love hiking, the arts (exhibitions and theatre), great food and I have recently taken up Bollywood dancing. Karaoke “99 Red Ballons’ Nena and for the dance floor ‘September’ (Earth wind and Fire)   


You have shared so much here Petra and it is so valuable – I can’t thank you enough.!!!!



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