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614: In Pursuit of Data's Deep Impact | Matt Borowiecki, CFO, Biofourmis

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

Release Date: 07/08/2020

699: The Return of Jimmy Lai | Jimmy Lai, CFO, Acepodia show art 699: The Return of Jimmy Lai | Jimmy Lai, CFO, Acepodia

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

When Acepodia CEO Sonny Hsiao began developing a list of candidates to fill the chief financial officer role at the biotechnology company that he had cofounded, it may have surprised some to see Jimmy Lai make the list. Certainly, this was not due to any U.S. markets void on Lai’s resume—to the contrary, he had helped to take three companies public and served as chief financial officer for multiple U.S.-listed firms. Nor was it due to a presumed lack of boardroom stature on Lai’s part, as he was at that time serving on the boards of multiple NYSE-listed companies). Instead, any surprise...

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698: Decomposing Business Metrics | Ross Tennenbaum, CFO, Avalara show art 698: Decomposing Business Metrics | Ross Tennenbaum, CFO, Avalara

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

It’s no secret that the herculean effort required to keep corporate board meetings on time frequently involves tracking the arrivals of certain board member attendees. Of course, the most anticipated arrival inside the boardroom is often not a board member at all, but a new business measure or yardstick commonly referred to as a metric. And just as board members often hail from faraway places, so too do metrics. Or so explains Ross Tennenbaum, a former investment banker, who in 2020 stepped into the CFO office at Avalara, a developer of tax compliance software. “I’m obsessed about...

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697: A SPAC Puts Leafy Greens on the Menu  | Guy Blanchard, CFO, AeroFarms show art 697: A SPAC Puts Leafy Greens on the Menu | Guy Blanchard, CFO, AeroFarms

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

Back in 2014—when Guy Blanchard first entered the CFO office at AeroFarms—the indoor vertical farming company had roughly 20 employees and a commercial farm prototype under construction. Seven years and four rounds of private funding later, AeroFarms has recently broken ground on its third commercial farm in Danville, Virginia, and a research farm in Abu Dhabi. Meanwhile, this past March, Aerofarms demonstrated that its appetite for innovation extends beyond farming techniques when it announced a merger with Spring Valley Acquisition Corp., a SPAC that the company now expects to use as a...

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696: Ascending the Funnel | Darrell Cox, CFO, Vena Solutions show art 696: Ascending the Funnel | Darrell Cox, CFO, Vena Solutions

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

When marketing campaigns get old, they’re like polyester leisure suits that seem to fit okay but look awful, explains finance chief Darrell Cox of Vena Solutions, who credits finance with helping Vena to empty its closet. Or, to put it another way, Cox credits finance with helping Vena to fail faster. “The earlier you know that you should stop investing, the more successful you will be at failing efficiently and having your experiments be effective,” comments Cox, who says that such experiments are frequently conducted in collaboration with the sales team, as finance seeks to lengthen...

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Trust & the Individual show art Trust & the Individual

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

Featuring the Workplace Champions CFO Arleen Paladino of Crum & Forster CFO Guy Blanchard of Aerofarms CFO Mike Rasic of Synapse CFO Ross Tennenbaum of Avalara

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695: As Public Perception Changes, Opportunity Advances | Louie Reformina, CFO, Turning Point Brands show art 695: As Public Perception Changes, Opportunity Advances | Louie Reformina, CFO, Turning Point Brands

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

Chances are that CFO Louie Reformina never expected to be in the rolling papers business. Having advanced down a career track populated with different private equity firms, a stint at Goldman Sachs, and a Stanford Business School degree, Reformina could have landed inside any number of industries offering him multiple C-suite doors of entry. However, not unlike the pick-and-shovel entrepreneurs who once outfitted troves of Gold Rush  prospectors, Reformina is confident that his arrival inside the CFO office at Turning Point Brands (NYSE:TPB) is well timed for an uptick in cannabis...

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694: Specific and Time-bound, Aggressive yet Realistic  |  Ana Sirbu, CFO, Nitro show art 694: Specific and Time-bound, Aggressive yet Realistic | Ana Sirbu, CFO, Nitro

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

Not unlike other finance leaders, Nitro CFO Ana Sirbu wants you to know that she’s a “prioritizer.” Both personally and professionally, Sirbu has created a list of objectives that never strays far from her mind’s eye. Meanwhile, she undoubtedly keeps a second list—a listing of key results.   “Effective key results are specific and time-bound, aggressive yet realistic,” wrote John Doerr, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist, in his ode to OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) Measure What Matters (Penguin Random House, 2018).   Learning how items move from the...

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693: Building Individual Trust | Mike Rasic, CFO, Synapse show art 693: Building Individual Trust | Mike Rasic, CFO, Synapse

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

Looking back, Mike Rasic says that his entry into the world of tech start-ups got kicked off with a phone call that he almost didn’t answer. “I have a strict policy that if I see a phone number popping up on my mobile that I don’t recognize, I just don’t pick up,” explains Rasic, who goes on to say that the voice on the other end belonged to a head hunter who subsequently gave him the scoop on a CFO position. “It worked out,” reports Rasic, a former PwC partner who is currently the CFO of Synapse, a fintech start-up that can now be counted as Rasic’s fourth CFO tour of duty....

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692: Betting on Your Future  | Tim Murphy, CFO, REPAY show art 692: Betting on Your Future | Tim Murphy, CFO, REPAY

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

In 2008, as the subprime mortgage crisis began turning the Street’s brash dealmakers into a squeamish clan of risk-averse bankers, Tim Murphy, an associate at Credit Suisse, decided that it was time to try some slots. Lots of them. “I took a gamble in the casino space—it was probably one of the best decisions that I have made in my career and one the best decisions that we have made as a family,” explains the finance leader, who accepted a director of finance position with Cadillac Jack, a fast-growing slot machine manufacturing company based in Georgia.   At the time, Murphy’s...

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691: Get Out of the Weeds |  Rob Krolik, Partner, Burst Capital (CFO emeritus) show art 691: Get Out of the Weeds | Rob Krolik, Partner, Burst Capital (CFO emeritus)

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

When Rob Krolik agreed to join us for a CFO (emeritus) episode, we expected to hear about the successful business turnaround chapter that he added to his finance resume while CFO at Move.com. We also anticipated learning about his years at Yelp, where—back in 2011, as the firm’s new CFO—he was credited with helping to lead one of the year’s most successful IPOs. While Krolik was only too happy to share a few thoughts regarding both of these chapters, he also reflected on a place in time about which we never expected to hear—namely, when a speech delivered by the outgoing president of...

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When asked what led him to open his latest career chapter as CFO of Biofourmis, Matt Borowiecki quickly mentions the 2018 sale of MassMutual Asia Ltd. to Yunfeng FG.

After helping to piece together a string of strategic plays for MassMutual, Borowiecki was instrumental in effecting the Yunfeng FG deal, which was a standout for him personally as well as one that many industry analysts at the time deemed transformational for company.

Having helped to spearhead the transaction, Borowiecki was subsequently asked to relocate to Hong Kong and lead international strategy and corporate development for the company. With his deal-making realm vastly expanded, Borowiecki might have been expected to rocket down MassMutual’s transformational M&A track for several more years.   

However, the move to Hong Kong challenged him in ways that he had not necessarily anticipated. Seeking to discover new strategies for MassMutual to extend its reach in the region, Borowiecki frequently found himself in meetings with local Hong Kong venture capitalists and private equity firms.

“I really started to understand the power of data science and how insuretech, fintech, and healthtech really were transforming,” explains Borowiecki, who found his career ambitions evolving and coalescing around the broader notion of making an impact on industries at large.

Knowing that his M&A experience would serve him well inside the start-up realm, he soon saw a new career chapter come into focus.

“Quite candidly, the exposure that I had to very different consumer patterns and thinking about health and wealth in different ways piqued my interest in the Biofourmis platform,” explains Borowiecki, who adds that the basic premise of Biofourmis is to enable patients to compare their own physiological signals to metadata from a vastly larger population pool in real time.

Says Borowiecki: “We call them ‘Biovitals’—they’re effectively a real-time picture designed to help clinicians to predict and prevent serious medical events. For example, heart failure is one of our focuses.”

It seems that as one career chapter closed for Borowiecki, yet another opened. –Jack Sweeney