loader from loading.io

594: The Art & Science of Raising Funds | Chris Mausler, CFO, PeerNova

CFO Thought Leader

Release Date: 05/03/2020

635: Finding Your  Finance Team's North Star | Markus Harder, CFO, Contentful show art 635: Finding Your Finance Team's North Star | Markus Harder, CFO, Contentful

CFO Thought Leader

The Berlin headquarters of software developer Contentful occupies an old brick warehouse with heavy metal doors and broad functional corridors and spaces native to its industrial past. Standing six stories high, the structure once accommodated its worker population with a miniature kitchen on every floor, a favorite employee perk perhaps first introduced by a coffee-loving tenant.    Still, not everyone at Contentful loves coffee—or at least its CFO, Markus Harder, doesn’t. “My secret is that I hate coffee—I just don’t like it,” says Harder, who shortly after his arrival...

info_outline
634: Milestones for M&A Success  | Steve Young, CFO, Duke Energy show art 634: Milestones for M&A Success | Steve Young, CFO, Duke Energy

CFO Thought Leader

It was a little over 40 years ago when Steve Young first joined what would become Duke Energy, the giant electric power holding company headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Not only has it been a long tenure, but also it is the only post-college job that I’ve ever had,” says Young, who first roamed the energy giant’s corridors as a finance assistant. In the years that followed, Young says, he became involved in various finance-related projects as different executives sought him out because he had become recognized as a hard worker. One such senior executive, who sat inside...

info_outline
633:  Marching to Fintech's New Beat | Matt Briers, CFO, TransferWise show art 633: Marching to Fintech's New Beat | Matt Briers, CFO, TransferWise

CFO Thought Leader

Among the more transformative chapters of Matt Briers’s finance career was his 3-year stint monitoring and forecasting margin performance inside Google’s UK operations. “The core role was really to understand what was happening in the organization from a revenue and margin performance perspective and then help to operate the organization so that it could better drive that revenue,” explains Briers, who says that his responsibilities included an unyielding effort to expose new drivers of Google revenue “even down to keyword searches.” “My role was to provide a hotline back to...

info_outline
632: Exposing the Connection Between Financial and Operational Data | Jacqueline Purcell, CFO, Deputy show art 632: Exposing the Connection Between Financial and Operational Data | Jacqueline Purcell, CFO, Deputy

CFO Thought Leader

Jacqueline Purcell’s path to the CFO office began inside an Australian law firm where as a young attorney she was advising corporate clients and their bankers on how to best address some of the legal hurdles that their M&A deal-making might confront. At the time, her routine collaboration with different banking executives gave her a point of comparison to the seemingly less energetic legal world. “They seemed to be having a little more fun and a lot more impact on the outcomes,” she recalls. “This is what sparked my interest in moving into finance,” continues Purcell, who was...

info_outline
631:  Explaining the Business Reason Behind the Number | Steven Springsteel, CFO, betterworks show art 631: Explaining the Business Reason Behind the Number | Steven Springsteel, CFO, betterworks

CFO Thought Leader

Back in the early 1990s, Steven Springsteel nabbed an interview for a CFO role with a high-flying tech start-up. At the time, he was controller for Apple’s worldwide manufacturing operations, but the buzz surrounding the brash start-up intrigued him, and the young but accomplished executive shortly found himself waiting to be interviewed by the firm’s CEO. According to Springsteel, his interview aspirations quickly became somewhat tempered as he sat listening to a stream of expletives originating from the CEO’s office.  Within minutes, the CEO’s door swung open and several...

info_outline
630: Building the Business Case | Bennett Thiemann, CFO, Applicaster show art 630: Building the Business Case | Bennett Thiemann, CFO, Applicaster

CFO Thought Leader

It was the type of role that any recent business school graduate could envy—not because of the position’s title (Chief of Staff) or how much it paid, but because of its proximity to management decision-making. The job is one that Bennett Theimann remembers well as he looks back on the days when he served as chief of staff for the president of Gruner + Jahr’s German magazine division. “It exposed me to that sort of very-high-level strategic thinking. We launched magazines, we sold magazines, we bought magazines,” says Theimann, who very often found himself finalizing some of the...

info_outline
629: Freshly Ripens On The Vine |  Matt Hagel, CFO, Freshly show art 629: Freshly Ripens On The Vine | Matt Hagel, CFO, Freshly

CFO Thought Leader

It’s a story that Matt Hagel likes to share as he networks with fellow finance executives and accounting types. Back in 2017—only days after stepping into a finance leadership role at the online prepared meals company Freshly—Hagel was reviewing the company’s chart of accounts when he asked himself: “Why is Plant, Property, and Equipment (PPE) under Operating Expenses?” As he soon learned, this stalwart accounting acronym has long led a double life and is also used by various industries (notably healthcare and food prep) as a shorthand designation for Personal Protective Equipment....

info_outline
628: Allocating Resources to Achieve the Right Outcomes | Inder Singh, CFO, Arm show art 628: Allocating Resources to Achieve the Right Outcomes | Inder Singh, CFO, Arm

CFO Thought Leader

Inder Singh started off his professional life as an engineer, only to learn that the large engineering projects that he aspired to someday lead often faced as many financial obstacles as they did engineering challenges. So, Singh says, he went back to school and earned an MBA in finance, allowing him to redirect his career down a path populated with unique and imaginative financing deals to support engineering feats as well as business transformations. One of the more innovative financing projects that Singh has helped to champion came along in the 1990s, when he was working as a business...

info_outline
627: Learning the Lyrics to a Finance Career | Mark Sargent, CFO, Westhaven Power show art 627: Learning the Lyrics to a Finance Career | Mark Sargent, CFO, Westhaven Power

CFO Thought Leader

At the start of his finance career, Mark Sargent says, he could not picture himself working for a large, big-name corporation. He says that he was drawn instead to smaller companies, which he believed would be more accepting of “creative types” or those employees more prone to self-expression. In Sargent’s case, an accounting and finance job was Plan B, or a “safety” occupation in case his aspirations to become a rock musician didn’t pan out. Interestingly, it was Sargent’s deliberate avoidance of big business that undoubtedly allowed him to quickly garner some of the experiences...

info_outline
626: The Path to Greater Profits  | Jason Peterson, CFO, EPAM Systems, Inc. show art 626: The Path to Greater Profits | Jason Peterson, CFO, EPAM Systems, Inc.

CFO Thought Leader

CFOTL: You first arrived at EPAM in 2017, can you tell us what was top of mind as you entered the office? What were some of your early priorities?  Peterson: I joined a company that was growing rapidly, that's got pretty solid profitability in it, a pretty capable finance organization. You kind of look under the hood, I guess, and what you're trying to do is make improvements without breaking anything. One of the things that happened is, the company had grown really quickly. And I think over a period of time sometimes you'll under invest in certain functions and I think that was probably...

info_outline
 
More Episodes

When it comes to raising money from the investor community, finance executives often find themselves standing in line for job assignments that promise to make them active participants in the process.

Such roles allow aspiring finance leaders to check off one of the more essential items on the demanding list of prerequisites required of high-growth­–firm CFOs.

For those executives who have climbed the accounting career ladder or toiled for years in an FP&A cubicle, the “money box” is often one of the last ones to get checked off.

Such was the case for finance leader Chris Mausler, who after a decade of devouring high-calorie FP&A assignments at IBM Corp. exited the computer giant to join a string of Silicon Valley firms. 

Removed from IBM’s sprawling organization, Mausler found himself in closer proximity to the action. Nevertheless, it would take years for the seasoned FP&A executive to land a role that allowed him to check that box and ultimately raise money for a variety of different firms.

“Even though my assignments had touched on treasury-type operations in an indirect way, I myself had actually never directly raised money before,” says Mausler, who last fall helped to raise $31 million in funding for San Jose, California’s PeerNova, the data governance company that he joined as CFO back in 2014.

“I’m certain that there are companies out there that make their first pitch and get funded with a term sheet, but this is not the norm,” says Mausler, who notes that most companies can expect to receive only a handful of term sheets from roughly 100 pitches.   

“It's a little bit of an art, a little bit of a science for anyone going through it,” he adds. –Jack Sweeney 

 

 

Mausler: As I’m sitting here at home under a shelter-in-place order, my first priority clearly is to manage our company over the next couple of months to make sure that we don’t lose any efficiency and effectiveness in meeting our short-term goals, and this is certainly a new challenge through these times. Other than that, the challenges that I have remain much the same at PeerNova. We raised a good financing last fall. We announced a $31 million round that’s going to take us for a while. We have goals and milestones for getting us through a large kind of growth round in the future. We’ve got to make sure that we get there, so it’s making sure that we’re hitting the near-term milestones and tweaking our strategy to hit the next ones.

Here at PeerNova we had good data, so it was just a question of organizing it into one place so that we could manage the business. It’s been very much of a journey for us as we’ve raised rounds to build out this platform and worked with early customers on projects to grow our business. The most critical thing at PeerNova has been to raise the right amount of capital to help to get us to the next set of milestones and to make the right set of investments to get to these milestones so that we can continue to grow the company and keep this kind of growth pattern going. At this point, having worked with a number of large institutions, we’re in that growth phase of a company where we’re ramping up revenue.

For me, it’s always been about trying to balance how quickly you grow the company to achieve the next milestone while keeping in mind how much cash you will need to manage the company until the next round. You’ve got to keep an eye on both. You want to build a company that’s growing extremely fast, but you have to reconcile this to some extent with how much capital you have. You also have to organize the milestones that you need to hit to get to the next round as well.