69 episodes

The Backbone explores the journey inside finance at high-growth technology startups. Our host Shubham Datta interviews finance leaders at various stages of emerging technology companies to find out their story, key financial and operating metrics they track, how they measure them and what their biggest challenges are. Hear directly from finance leaders at tech startups who are in there day in and day out, serving as the backbone of their company.

For more information, check out the www.thebackbone.co

The Backbone: a journey inside finance at a startup Shubham Datta

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 9 Ratings

The Backbone explores the journey inside finance at high-growth technology startups. Our host Shubham Datta interviews finance leaders at various stages of emerging technology companies to find out their story, key financial and operating metrics they track, how they measure them and what their biggest challenges are. Hear directly from finance leaders at tech startups who are in there day in and day out, serving as the backbone of their company.

For more information, check out the www.thebackbone.co

    Ep. 67: Scaling for rapid growth & hiring for decision-making vs execution w/ Julian Rowlands, VP Finance at Spruce

    Ep. 67: Scaling for rapid growth & hiring for decision-making vs execution w/ Julian Rowlands, VP Finance at Spruce

    Julian Rowlands, VP Finance at Spruce

    I chat with Julian about:

    His career journey from a History major before going to business school at uChicago to becoming the VP Finance at Spruce.
    Spruce — what the company does and what it’s all about.
    Structuring and growing the finance function for scale at growth stage company. When Julian joined Spruce, the company was 75 employees. Since then, the company has tripled, growing to 250 folks. As the head of finance, Julian explains how he inherited the finance function and how it has evolved to accommodate this hyper growth.
    In June of 2021, Spruce raised a $60M Series C round from Bessemer, Scale Venture Partners and Zigg Capital. While Julian was at Xendit, he helped the company raise a $65M Series B round from Accel. Julian shares some of his biggest learnings going through these fundraise processes and imparts advice to folks going through fundraising rounds today.
    The biggest misconception about the finance function within growth stage tech companies like Spruce.


    ---

    Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/backbone/message

    • 25 min
    Ep. 66: Finding the right path to go public for your company (IPOs, Direct Listings or SPACs) w/ Jeff Epstein, Operating Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners

    Ep. 66: Finding the right path to go public for your company (IPOs, Direct Listings or SPACs) w/ Jeff Epstein, Operating Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners

    Jeff Epstein, Operating Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners & Co-CEO and CFO at Apex Technology Acquisition  Corp. (Nasdaq: APXT)

    I chat with Jeff about:

    His career journey from investment banking to operating, including stops at various technology and media companies to now serving as an operating partner at Bessemer Venture Partners.
    Apex Technology Acquisition Corp, a SPAC that recently announced its merger with AvePoint — the largest data management solutions provider for Microsoft cloud.
    Raising a SPAC compared to a venture fund, and the process for finding a target company to merge with.
    How companies should whether the traditional IPO, a direct listing or a SPAC is the right path to going public for them.
    Some of the unique opportunities and challenges finance leaders face today and Jeff’s advice to help navigate through them.


    ---

    Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/backbone/message

    • 33 min
    Ep. 65: The right time for SMB SaaS companies to move upmarket featuring Ivan Makarov, VP Finance at Webflow

    Ep. 65: The right time for SMB SaaS companies to move upmarket featuring Ivan Makarov, VP Finance at Webflow

    Ivan Makarov, VP Finance at Webflow

    Ivan is an experienced finance executive with over 15 years of professional experience in the internet industry building finance teams and functions inside global tech companies. He has served as a VP Finance for SmugMug and Flickr for a period of 8 years, prior to joining Webflow.

    At Webflow, Ivan leads all of the accounting, financial planning, business operations, legal, corporate and tax compliance.

    I chat with Ivan about:

    His career journey from PwC to SmugMug, the acquisition of Flickr and then joining Webflow.
    Webflow —  what company does and what its all about.
    How finance leaders should think about pricing models that are trial-based vs freemium for SMBs and the metrics to optimize for in each.
    When you should consider moving upmarket as a SaaS company focused on the SMB market and what considerations you have to make as the finance leader to prepare for that change.
    The biggest misconception about the finance function within growth-stage software companies like Webflow.


    ---

    Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/backbone/message

    • 26 min
    Ep. 64: Building a financially feasible business by aligning with customer incentives feat. Sruthi Lanka, CFO at Public

    Ep. 64: Building a financially feasible business by aligning with customer incentives feat. Sruthi Lanka, CFO at Public

    Sruthi Lanka, CFO at Public

    As CFO, Sruthi oversees finance, data, and people operations. Prior to Public, she served as VP and Head of Strategic Finance at MoneyLion, the fintech startup and challenger bank. She was MoneyLion’s first finance hire in 2017 following its Series A, and built the team that forecasts and monitors the firm’s financial performance, overseeing financial planning, capital optimization, fundraising, and Board engagement. Previously, she worked on mergers and acquisitions for RBC, and at Goldman Sachs. Sruthi also serves on the Board of the nonprofit Women Creating Change.

    Sruthi has an MBA from Duke University and a B.Tech. in Electronics Engineering from the National Institute of Technology in India.

    I chat with Sruthi about:

    Her career journey starting off as a computer engineer turned finance professional with experience across product development, pricing, corporate development, capital raising and mergers and acquisition. Prior to her current role as the CFO of Public, she was the VP of Strategic Finance at MoneyLion and before that spent time in investment banking at RBC Capital Markets and Goldman Sachs.
    Public — what the company does and what it’s all about.
    Payment for Order Flow and why Public decided to move away from this model to tipping. What considerations she had to take into account to determine if this would be financially feasible for the company.
    Public recently crossed 1M members on the platform. As the company grows towards realizing its mission to open the stock market to everyone, the biggest challenges and opportunities she sees from her seat as the CFO.
    Themes and interesting investment conversations happening in the Public community, including Sruthi’s favorite themes and investments she’s tracking these days on Public?


    ---

    Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/backbone/message

    • 26 min
    Ep. 63: What it means to be a finance exec for a publicly-traded software company with Blaine Fitzgerald, EVP Finance & Incoming CFO at Kinaxis (TSX: KXS)

    Ep. 63: What it means to be a finance exec for a publicly-traded software company with Blaine Fitzgerald, EVP Finance & Incoming CFO at Kinaxis (TSX: KXS)

    Joining me on this episode of the Backbone is Blaine Fitzgerald, EVP Finance & Incoming CFO at Kinaxis (TSX:KXS), a company that revolutionizes planning by delivering the agility you need to make fast, confident decisions in an unpredictable world.

    I chat with Blaine about:

    His career journey having started his career in accounting with stints at Collins Barrow, EY and Deloitte. From there Blaine held roles at CMHC before making the plunge into tech with Curtiss-Wright Controls Defence Solutions. In 2013, he joined this small company called Shopify where he spent 5.5 years and played a key role in taking the company public as the VP of Finance. From there, Blaine spent some time at Spartan Bioscience as their CFO before joining Kinaxis as an Executive Vice President of Finance. Blaine will be transitioning into the CFO role at Kinaxis in August 2021.
    Kinaxis — What the company does and what is it all about.
    A behind-the-scenes look at taking Shopify public and the IPO process. As a finance leader, how you know a company is ready to take the plunge in the public markets and Blaine’s learnings for finance leaders preparing to go through that process now.
    What it means to be a finance exec for a publicly-traded software company and how the finance function has to evolve once you’re a public company, including the systems and processes they rely upon that need to be in place before a company goes public.
    The biggest misconception about the finance function within software companies.


    ---

    Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/backbone/message

    • 26 min
    Ep. 62: Taking care of your people, company, & customers while navigating through a crisis with Naeem Ishaq, CFO at Checkr

    Ep. 62: Taking care of your people, company, & customers while navigating through a crisis with Naeem Ishaq, CFO at Checkr

    Joining me on this episode of the Backbone is Naeem Ishaq, CFO at Checkr, the leading technology company in the background check industry.

    At Checkr, Naeem leads finance, facilities, and data operations teams, responsible for financial strategy and planning, corporate development, and optimizing Checkr’s financial performance for long-term growth.

    Naeem has nearly 20 years of leadership experience at companies like Circle, Salesforce, and Square (which he helped to lead through a successful IPO in 2015). He was one of the first 5% of employees at both Square and Salesforce and has a strong record of repeatedly scaling growth businesses from startup stage to global reach.

    I chat with Naeem about:

    His career journey working at the intersection of finance and tech since 2002, starting at Intel. From there he joined Salesforce in 2008 when it was a $4B market cap company and 1700 people, spending over four years there before joining Square when they were around 170 people and helping them go through their IPO. Prior to joining as the CFO at Checkr, Naeem led finance at Boxed Wholesale and Circle.
    What Checkr does and what the company is all about.
    Some of the frameworks and mental models that formed the M&A playbook for organizations like Salesforce and Square. Throughout his career Naeem had the opportunity to work very closely on M&A. While at Salesforce, he  played a key role in the acquisition of Jigsaw for $300M and the Buddy Media acquisition for $689M. Then at Square, he led the acquisition of Caviar. Naeem has worked on 40+ different M&A transactions during his career.
    His advice to finance leaders who may end up going through an acquisition process with large strategic acquirers.
    The best practices for navigating through times of crisis, from the CFO seat.
    The biggest misconception about the finance function within growth stage software companies like Checkr.


    ---

    Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/backbone/message

    • 38 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
9 Ratings

9 Ratings

shnaca ,

Exciting

Both the worlds of finance and technology (especially start ups) are so exciting and to hear a fresh perspective on a mix of both is fantastic. Can't wait for the next episode!!

Firstfret ,

Very informational

Great to see this podcast discuss one of the underrated topics in startups. I'm excited to see what comes next - great listen so far!

Top Podcasts In Business

Ramsey Network
NPR
Jocko DEFCOR Network
Andy Frisella #100to0
Wondery
Guy Raz | Wondery

You Might Also Like