loader from loading.io

615: Validating Your Proof Points for Investors | Jeff Epstein, (CFO Emeritus) Oracle, DoubleClick, King World

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

Release Date: 07/12/2020

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...

info_outline
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...

info_outline
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...

info_outline
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...

info_outline
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

info_outline
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...

info_outline
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...

info_outline
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....

info_outline
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...

info_outline
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...

info_outline
 
More Episodes

In the mid-1990s, when Jeff Epstein was busy satisfying the M&A appetites of media clients for First Boston, one of his smaller, but more boisterous clients asked him to join the firm as its CFO.  

“It was the type of situation where if they had gone to a recruiter, I would never have made the resume cut because I had never been a CFO and I had never even worked for a CFO,” explains Epstein, who was 32 when he entered the lively entrepreneurial realm known as King World Productions. A one-time family-owned company, King World had seen its stature grow inside New York’s competitive media landscape as the firm began producing  giant hit TV shows such as Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

 “It was actually a small company with only about 300 employees, but they had three of the highest-rated, most profitable shows on television, with about $300 million of revenue and $60 million of operating income,” recalls Epstein, who would go on to add consecutive CFO career chapters at DoubleClick, Nielsen (Media Measurement), and Oracle Corp., a mix that fortified his footing in both the tech and media worlds—but also revealed little preference when it came to company size.

“King World had been a family business that had only recently become a New York Stock Exchange company when I joined them, so I had to put in place some basic procedures, but Oracle had been around for many years and already had very sophisticated processes,” notes Epstein, who today exudes as much enthusiasm for Oracle’s approach to simplifying and standardizing its internal processes as he does for the entrepreneurial instincts of King World chairman Roger King.

“Three minutes from when an idea came out of my mouth, Roger King would have picked up the phone and be pitching our largest customer, ” says Epstein, whose CFO tenure there lasted 6 years—a span of time during which King World would triple its value and ultimately end up being sold to CBS Corp.

It was following the sale of King World, that Epstein would open the career chapter that permitted his CFO career  to grow beyond a single industry.     

“DoubleClick was an early Internet advertising technology company and wanted a CFO from either media or technology, so I had the media experience part,” comments Epstein.

Today, as operating partner for Bessemer Venture Partners of Menlo Park, Calif., Epstein marvels at the continued evolution of the two industries that shaped his CFO career:

“Two years ago, global Internet advertising surpassed global television advertising revenues to become the biggest media opportunity in the world—so if you’re around long enough, you see some incredible things.”   Sign Up for our Newsletter