Patrick J. Spain (born 1952) is a serial entrepreneur. He is currently the co-founder and CEO of First Stop Health, LLC., a provider of telehealth and patient advocacy services and the co-founder and Executive Chairman of news curation site Newser. He is also the co-founder and, prior to its sale to D&B in 2003 long-time Chairman and CEO of Hoover's. He also founded and was CEO of HighBeam Research.
Spain attended the University of Chicago and graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in Ancient Roman History in 1974. He worked for Gladstone Associates, now part of Accenture from 1974 to 1977 before attending law school at Boston University whence he graduated in 1979. Intrigued by the opportunities at the emerging intersection of information and technology, following graduation and went to work as an associate counsel for Extel Corporation, a telex manufacturer. At the university he met Gary Hoover.
Spain worked for Extel for ten years in various positions including General Counsel, VP of Administration, and VP, Mergers & Acquisitions. Spain gave some initial capital to Bookstop, a company founded by Hoover.
In 1990 he moved to Austin, Texas where he and University of Chicago friends Gary Hoover and Alan Chai, along with Alta Campbell, founded Hoover's. Starting out with a printed directory profiling 540 of the largest and most important companies in the world, the company soon moved quickly to electronic distribution. Hoover's concluded licensing deals with Lexis-Nexis, Bloomberg and most importantly to its future, in 1993 with America Online. with the wide exposure provided by AOL and in 1994 its Web site. www.hoovers.com the profiles online and the company took off, growing at a rapid pace and going public in 1999. Spain was CEO from 1992 to 2001 and chairman from 2001 to 2002.
He left as chairman of Hoover's in 2002, remaining on the Board until Hoover's was sold to Dun & Bradstreet in 2003. In 2002, Spain started what would become HighBeam Research, which is an online subscription research service that allows users access to tens of millions of articles from thousands of newspapers, magazines, and journals. He sold HighBeam in December 2008 to Cengage Learning. Spain created Newser within HighBeam but then separated it prior to the sale of HighBeam. Newser is an advertising-based online news site that curates and summarizes news in a highly visual format. It has an audience of approximately 4 million readers. His partner at Newser is Michael Wolff.
Between 2006 and 2012 Spain sat on the boards of GuideStar, an innovator in transparency matters regarding the non-profit industry, and SmartAnalyst, a company that provides sophisticated and customized analyses for the life sciences industry. Beginning in 2013 Spain joined the boards of Televerde, a socially progressive telemarketing automation company, Owler, an innovator in crowd sourced content founded by Jigsaw founder Jim Fowler and backed by Norwest Venture Partners and Trinity Ventures. He is also on the board of Community Health, the largest free health clinic in Chicago and a Governor of Opportunity International, the oldest and largest microlender in the world.
His father, James W. Spain, was a career foreign service officer and a U.S. ambassador to Tanzania, Turkey, and Sri Lanka. Spain was born in Pakistan and grew up Turkey and Washington, DC. Spain lives with his two teenage daughters in the Chicago area.
- Patrick Spain, Newser.com, 2010
- Howard Wolinsky. "Chicago keeps calling to Spain." Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago Sun Times. 2004. Retrieved January 27, 2009 from HighBeam Research: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-1541928.html
- Solomon, Steve. "The Dynamic Duo." Inc.. October 15, 1997. Retrieved on April 7, 2014.
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- Kaiser, Nathan (2001), Interview w/ Patrick Spain, Chairman of Hoovers, Inc., NPOST.com
- Haley, Colin C. (February 20, 2004), Q&A: Patrick Spain, Founder HighBeam, InternetNews.com