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565: A Fintech Unicorn Burnishes its Risk Management Brand | Michael Tannenbaum, CFO, Brex Inc.

CFO Thought Leader

Release Date: 01/22/2020

575:  The Benefits  of Openness   |  Anup Singh, CFO, Illumio show art 575: The Benefits of Openness | Anup Singh, CFO, Illumio

CFO Thought Leader

CFOTL: What are your priorities as finance leader over the next 12 months? Singh: In looking ahead at Illumio, my big focus is on continuing to support our go-to-market expansion. Our company's growing quickly. We're expanding globally. This means recruiting in different geographies, expanding our offices, and so on. This is something that I and my team do a lot to support. In the past year, I would say that we've also worked hard to transform Illumio into a really data-driven environment as well as to emphasize the operational excellence of the company. The ongoing task is to continue to...

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574: The Age of the Real-Time CFO |  Mike Ellis, CFO, Flywire show art 574: The Age of the Real-Time CFO | Mike Ellis, CFO, Flywire

CFO Thought Leader

CFOTL: Tell us about the history of the company's capital structure? Ellis: I started with Flywire four years ago. We were basically a series C business at the time, basically a break-even business, so we really didn't need any additional capital. We have raised our series D, which came in approximately 18 months ago and was about a $100 million round. We've raised roughly $140 million for the business over the course of its nine-year history, and we still have plenty of it left. We've done a really good job of being efficient with our capital structure as well as making sure that the business...

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573: CBD: Sizing Up  the Opportunity | Alan George, CFO, Ojai Energetics show art 573: CBD: Sizing Up the Opportunity | Alan George, CFO, Ojai Energetics

CFO Thought Leader

CFOTL: What are some of your top of mind numbers? George: The first thing that I look at is daily sales. I get a report that comes out in the middle of the night. I know what we did in sales the day before, and then I can drill down into it and say, OK, since I'm primarily a direct-to-consumer business, I want to see my traffic conversion and AOV. I want to see how we're doing relative to our forecast. I want to see how any specific programs are driving those key metrics. For us, specifically, traffic is a huge driver. We have really strong conversion and AOV. Traffic-driving awareness...

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572: Measuring the Efficiencies of Customer Acquisition | David Burt, CFO, ServiceTitan show art 572: Measuring the Efficiencies of Customer Acquisition | David Burt, CFO, ServiceTitan

CFO Thought Leader

CFOTL: What are your top of mind numbers?  Burt: The first things that I look at on a weekly and monthly basis tend to center on the fundamentals. Once we're in the door with a customer, there's an opportunity for us to provide additional services that might add additional recurring revenue. This growth is really important because it allows us to forward-invest into areas of R&D, sales and marketing, and so forth. We are of a certain size today, but we have aspirations to be much, much bigger, and as we grow, we are enabled to do more and more for our customers more efficiently...

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571: Optimizing Your  Pipeline's  Velocity |Greg Wookey, CFO, Boulevard show art 571: Optimizing Your Pipeline's Velocity |Greg Wookey, CFO, Boulevard

CFO Thought Leader

Inside the world of retail businesses, Greg Wookey’s CFO career has advanced down a path that parallels the sector’s growing appetite for more sophisticated software. Such was the case roughly 10 years ago, when he stepped into the CFO office at Mindbody—a firm whose well-known software helped fitness centers across the country to manage the demands of their clientele—and such is the case today, as Wookey serves as CFO of Boulevard, a SaaS developer whose offerings are specially tailored to high-end salons and spas. This arena—in what Boulevard and other software developers commonly...

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570:  Discovering What Makes Customers Happy | Sue Vestri, CFO, Greenphire, Inc. show art 570: Discovering What Makes Customers Happy | Sue Vestri, CFO, Greenphire, Inc.

CFO Thought Leader

CFOTL When it comes to customer measurement whatare you focused on? Vestri: I think that everyone tries to measure customer service and customer support in some way. In the past, we historically have done customer surveys and implementation after implementation periodically throughout the year. It's always challenging as to who actually responds and how you disseminate the information and make any use of it. We still do these types of things, but recently we've actually gone out and done some user forums where we've sat in the room with some of our users. To be honest, not all of the feedback...

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569: Growing Your Team's Knowledge Base |  Raj Dani, CFO Ping Identity show art 569: Growing Your Team's Knowledge Base | Raj Dani, CFO Ping Identity

CFO Thought Leader

Back in the early 1990s, with both feet firmly planted on an auditing career path inside Price Waterhouse’s Tampa, Florida, office, Raj Dani decided to take a detour into the accounting house’s M&A advisory practice. Over the next few years, the one-time auditor began providing deal-makers with financial and operational due diligence on their future mergers and acquisitions. “I became focused on cash and EBITDA generation, the strategic value of two enterprises coming together, and how you drive synergies and value for shareholders,” explains Dani, who says that his segue into...

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568: It's the Narrative that Matters | Lanny Baker, CFO, Eventbrite show art 568: It's the Narrative that Matters | Lanny Baker, CFO, Eventbrite

CFO Thought Leader

CFOTL: What are your priorities as finance leader over the next 12 months?  CFOT:" Here at Eventbrite, my priorities are to bring focus and simplicity. We just went through our planning experience for 2020. We started with 12 different strategic initiatives, and I'm happy to say that eight of them wound up on the cutting room floor. We've got four that everybody is really focused on. These four initiatives had 20 subprojects, and these, too, have been dialed down to four. We're just bringing focus and clarity and simplicity. I teased the team in our flash report. On the 57th page, we put...

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567: When Growth & Risk are Synonymous  |   Kevin Jacobson, CFO, LogicGate show art 567: When Growth & Risk are Synonymous | Kevin Jacobson, CFO, LogicGate

CFO Thought Leader

Step inside CFO Kevin Jacobson’s office at LogicGate, and there’s little question that you’ll think you’ve entered a realm where growth and risk are often two sides of the same coin. In fact, LogicGate’s fast path to achieving “product market fit” was no doubt shortened by early customers who today wield a similar growth/risk mind-set. Four-year-old LogicGate, a provider of governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) software, now expects its workforce to expand to 170 employees before 2021. Says Jacobson: “I tell our team that going forward, we are going to be breaking records...

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566: Building Your P&L Culture | Scot Parnell, CFO DailyPay show art 566: Building Your P&L Culture | Scot Parnell, CFO DailyPay

CFO Thought Leader

We are nearly at the end of our interview with Scot Parnell when we ask him to explain what led him to accept the CFO position at DailyPay, a company with a pioneering technology inside the human capital management realm. This is a question that we had asked a little earlier in the interview, but this time we want to know what other factors may have contributed to his decision. Although Parnell has already put forth a compelling explanation of DailyPay’s unique offerings, he is happy to share a bit more with us. “This role was absolutely fascinating. I was at a place in my life where I...

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Tannenbaum: At Brex, pretty early on, I was kind of familiar with the banking landscape from when I had been in investment banking. The group that I had been in actually served regional banks, so I did a lot of regional bank mergers and acquisitions. Then, at SoFi, I had built a lot of relationships with regional banks. I think that when you start in fintech, there's always this belief that you're competing with big banks. That was a lot of the marketing positioning of my former employer, SoFi, but at Brex I saw this opportunity to partner with banks because I was familiar with the card landscape. At least in the commercial card space, outside of the Big Four banks--Wells, Citi, Bank of America, Chase--there are very few financial institutions that actually issue corporate cards.

I decided that even though we were a small company, subscale, no one had heard of us, and we had a stupid name like Brex (which actually wasn't as stupid as our first one), banks might want to partner with us because they themselves were fighting their own battles with the Big Four issuers, as well as American Express. So we partnered with a number of banks very early on in a way that most people would think was not possible and was unusual. Ultimately in financial services, brands, particularly with regard to trust and stability, are super important.

Today, what's exciting is that technology is changing so many industries and creating lots of opportunities, as well as disruption and uncertainty. Finance is a kind of universal language. At Brex, we need to be known for the brand of our risk management because ultimately we're asking both customers and other businesses to trust us with their money--to buy loans from us, to buy deposits from us, to partner with us and give us access to payments networks. To do this, we really need to be known as a high-quality risk management brand.