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Kate Shillo

Written by Danny Glunz on March 4

It’s 8am when Kate Shillo walks into the office.

She works for Galvanize Ventures, a seed-stage venture fund. Kate manages a fund for Galvanize and lives her dream of helping early-stage companies grow. Her energy comes from working with entrepreneurs and seeing them go from vision to execution.

Before Galvanize, Kate’s career began with a bang. For two years, she worked as Martha Stewart’s Executive Assistant. Kate says her time with Martha helped shape the way she thinks about business. During her tenure, Kate saw Martha Stewart become the first celebrity to brand herself, paving the way for what is now considered the norm in Hollywood.

“She was incredibly creative. That not only could things be beautiful and useful, in terms of what she was creating, but also the creativity in structuring her business.”

Kate had the opportunity to work with Ken Lerer next, who was equally as creative in his approach to business. She worked alongside him at Huffington Post and saw the company’s growth curve first hand. From there, she moved with him to Lerer Ventures where she oversaw 3 funds and over 200 investments.

A traveling venture

The world of Venture Capital is chaotic and thrilling. It requires fast thinking and the ability to move, both in your day-to-day as well as—literally—moving from one location to the next. Kate’s used to flying out to visit a portfolio company or investor whenever necessary, and often with little notice.

Travel is crucial for Kate to be successful, but it eats up her time. Between managing multiple companies, negotiating deals, and staying on top of an ever changing market, Kate has much better things to do then sit in front of her computer sorting through Kayak results.

“Less human error”

As a former EA, Kate understands the need for travel plans to be absolutely perfect and just how much time booking (and managing) plans can take. When Kate was booking travel as an EA she was doing everything pre-smart phone. If something went wrong, there was no way of fixing it, and Kate would have to haul out the paper phone book and sit on hold with United for as long as needed. Needless to say, it’s a pain she’s felt first-hand.

“Pana’s on my home screen for good reason. I don’t have an assistant. I don’t think a lot of people these days do, unless you can afford one. Now to have something like Pana where I can be in middle of my work day and can send a text saying “I need a few options to SFO.” In a few minutes it’s done.”

Pana travel agents are experts in the field, which means there is “less human error” than an EA because they aren’t travel professionals by trade. With Pana, Kate has “complete reassurance that everything is taken care of.”

On-Demand Experts

Having a team of experts not only mitigates error, but it also adds a personal touch to everything the agent team does.

Last year, Kate was tasked with planning a bachelorette trip for 16 women (while still working a full time job). That’s no small feat. Kate only had a little bit of guidance from the bride and needed some expert support to get everything done in time.

“I needed to find a place where we could all stay on a budget, then get everyone there, and book activities. Pana was essential in helping me research. With that many women there were a lot of options.” Pana helped Kate save hours on manual research and was able to help her coordinate a trip for the large group.

The support didn’t just stop with planning, though. The best part for Kate, was that she was able to get Pana’s suggestions in real-time during the trip, so she could share them with the group and make plans in the moment.

“Thanks to Pana, it ended up being one of the best weekends of my best friend’s life.”

A team of real humans, backed by technology

With Pana, Kate gets the best of both worlds—an expert team that not only handles her travel for her, but also understands her needs and preferences to find the perfect options for her.

“I love the conversation that I have with the team. Very fun and playful. Especially when I’m frustrated with some sort of travel experience. Sort of lightens the mood.”

Kate’s able to have an entire team of travel agents that tirelessly work to give her back what she needs the most: time to help startups grow.

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