Join Hercules Capital Senior Managing Director Catherine Jhung in conversations with today’s top CFOs of venture and private equity-backed companies, CFOs who have taken their companies public, and CFOs of venture funds. Learn about their strategies for financing rapid growth and scaling their businesses, as well as their unique interests and life stories that have shaped their paths to success.
#15 – Fixing Our Broken Healthcare System | Adrian Aoun, CEO of Forward
In a world of continuous innovation, it seems like our healthcare system has been left behind. The hassles of health insurance have become the status quo, and far too many of us have fallen victim to the abhorrent costs of medical services.
Few of us have the time or wherewithal to battle with insurance companies or chase down medical providers. So, where do we go from here? Is there a way to effectively deliver low-cost healthcare to large numbers of people?
According to Adrian Aoun, CEO of Forward – an AI-based healthcare company – the solution is simple: redesign healthcare as a product.
In this episode, Catherine and Adrian discuss his journey to becoming the CEO of Forward, how productizing healthcare can lower costs and boost innovation, why health insurance is the biggest obstacle in healthcare, and much more.
How Adrian’s childhood shaped his pursuit of knowledgeThe enormous challenges our healthcare system facesHow to migrate the work of doctors and nurses to hardwareHow our current healthcare system disincentivizes innovation and fails to keep up with its challengesThe Forward business modelHow to raise millions of dollars as a startupAnd other topics…
Adrian Aoun is the founder and CEO of Forward, an AI-based healthcare system combining world-class private doctors with new technology to enable proactive, data-driven primary care. Most recently, he was the head of Special Projects for the CEO of Google/Alphabet, where he founded one of the Alphabet companies Sidewalk Labs. Adrian arrived at Google upon the acquisition of his AI startup Wavii, and spent his first year at Google helping to create and build their AI division. Additionally, Adrian is an active angel investor and advisor to a number of technology startups and funds.
Factfulness by Hans Rosling
#14 – The Impending Revolution of the Trucking Industry | Mark Okerstrom
Trucking is one of the largest industries in the United States with roughly $800 billion spent annually on trucking services. Despite the high demand for services, 35% of all miles driven by trucking companies are driven empty due to inefficient coordination systems within the industry.
Mark Okerstrom, President and Chief Operating Officer of Convoy, the nation’s leading digital freight network, believes the solution to empty freight lies at the intersection of logistics and technology. Convoy is working to save money for shippers, increase earnings for carriers and drivers, and eliminate carbon waste for our planet.
In this episode, Catherine and Mark talk about Mark’s transition from his role as CEO of Expedia to Convoy, why there is no one-size-fits-all approach to business, how Convoy plans to remedy problems in trucking and logistics, Convoy Go, and more.
- What convinced Mark to join Convoy
- The state of today’s trucking industry
- Keeping trucks full by bundling shipments
- Financial and environmental impacts of truckers driving empty
- Thoughts on the current and future markets
- Dara Khosrowshahi and thoughts on mentorship
- Key lessons from Mark’s career
- And other topics…
Mark Okerstrom is the President and COO of Convoy, an American trucking software company. He is the former CEO of Expedia and previously served as an attorney with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and as a consultant with Bain & Company. Mark was selected by Institutional Investor Magazine three years running for its All-American Executive Team, Top 3 Public Company CFO, Internet Sector (2016, 2017, and 2018). He earned his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Harvard Business School and Juris Doctor (JD) degree from the University of British Columbia.
#13 – The Future of the Gaming Industry | Kai Bond
Sports and games are a huge part of our lifestyle and culture and will continue to be for generations to come. But how can investors and creators encourage growth and take advantage of this unique market?
Investor, founder, and entrepreneur Kai Bond had spent over a decade in the gaming industry when he realized he wanted to approach gaming as an investable category. So he partnered with the startup Courtside VC, a venture capital firm that challenges the traditional definition of sports, digital media, fitness, and gaming.
In this episode, Eddie Lopez and Kai talk about Kai’s entrepreneurial journey, how to approach gaming as an investable category, Kai’s take on web3, the future of gaming, diversity in the venture community and more.
- Understanding what it means to be a good CEO
- Challenge of coming from the corporate world to the startup world
- The state of venture capital in Q1 2022
- The importance of transparency and discipline in VC
- What Courtside learned during 2020
- Evolution of monetizing assets in gaming
- Kai’s take on Web 3.0
- The future of gaming
- Why timing matters in the venture market
- How to increase diversity in venture capital
- And other topics…
Kai Bond is a partner at Courtside, a VC company that partners with early-stage founders who are challenging the traditional definition of sports, digital media, fitness, and gaming. Before Courtside, Kai was a Principal at Comcast Ventures where he led investments in Catalyst Fund, a seed-stage fund focused on investing in underrepresented founders.
Kai was the founder of pixieTV, an interactive SmartTV platform that was acquired by Samsung in 2014. After that, Kai moved into the role of GM at Samsung NEXT. Kai has held leadership positions in product strategy, business development, and M&A at Microsoft, GLG, and Hatch Labs. Kai is a graduate of Wesleyan University.
#12 – Leading With a Servant’s Heart | Raj Verma
Raj Verma is the CEO at SingleStore, a database management system that helps modern applications be fast, frictionless, and flexible.
When Raj started at SingleStore, he was Co-CEO with SingleStore’s founder, Nikita Shamgunov. By building a healthy relationship and friendship with Nikita, Raj was able to lead with the company’s founding principles, keeping that essence that makes SingleStore so special. Raj’s transition to Co-CEO and later to CEO has as much to do with his mindset and leadership skills as it does with the CEO job description.
In this episode, Catherine and Raj talk about Raj’s transition from Co-CEO to CEO, why Raj views CEO as a mindset, how Raj leads with “a warrior’s mentality and a servant’s heart,” the importance of adaptation and change, how to build company culture, and more.
- Relationship between founder and CEO
- How his partnership with Nikita started
- The accountability that comes with being a CEO
- Executive coaching
- Conscious capitalism
- Combining business strategy with culture
- The importance of finding you're why
- What drives Raj toward success
- Adapting to new circumstances
- And other topics…
Raj Verma is the Chief Executive Officer at SingleStore. He has more than 25 years of experience in enterprise software and scaling operations. Before SingleStore, Raj was the CEO, EVP of Global Scales, and COO of TIBCO Software, a company that he helped grow to over $1 billion in revenue. He was also COO at Aptus Software and Hortonworks. Raj holds a BA in computer science from BMS College of Engineering in Bangalore, India.
Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0807060100/
Bad Blood by John Carreyrou: https://www.amazon.com/Bad-Blood-Secrets-Silicon-Startup/dp/152473165X
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts: https://www.amazon.com/Shantaram-Novel-Gregory-David-Roberts/dp/0312330537
#11 – Coaching Leaders for Business Impact | Christine Tao
Christine Tao is the Co-founder and CEO of Sounding Board, a venture-backed startup that recently raised $30 million in Series B funding and has grown four-fold over the past 12 months. Sounding Board’s mission is to help companies develop impactful leaders by leveraging AI-powered pairing technology with a network of leadership coaches.
The idea for Sounding Board started when Christine was provided leadership coaching to transition into an executive leadership role at Tapjoy. Tapjoy set Christine up to work with an executive coach, Lori Mazan.
Christine quickly realized the impact Lori’s coaching was having on her career success, and the two of them acknowledged how crucial it is to bring coaching to all levels of leadership. Christine and Lori’s ideas blossomed into the successful, growing company Sounding Board is today, helping bring leadership coaching to companies and employees around the country.
In this episode, Catherine and Christine talk about the benefits of leadership coaching for both employees and employers, Christine’s experience growing a venture-backed company, what she looked for when hiring her financial partner, finding and retaining talent, and the importance of mission and narrative for fundraising.
- The four types of leaders
- Relationships between coaches and coachees
- How CFOs bring needed structure and discipline to startups
- Fundraising as a learned skill
- How COVID helped accelerate Sounding Board’s growth
- Advice for founders of startups
- The power of asking for what you want
- Hiring practices in today’s job market
- The best advice Christine has received from a coach
- How coaching can drive employee retention and engagement
- And other topics…
Christine Tao is the co-founder & CEO at Sounding Board, a venture-backed startup with the vision to help companies develop impactful leaders by leveraging AI-powered pairing technology with a network of leadership coaches.
Before co-founding Sounding Board, Christine was a Senior Vice President of Developer Relations at Tapjoy, a venture-backed, leading mobile advertising & publishing network, and previously led e-commerce partnerships and strategy at YouTube. Christine advises several startups and is a member of the executive committee HR West & NCHRA (Northern California Human Resources Association).
Christine holds an MBA in Marketing & Operations from Wharton and a BA in Business Administration from UC Berkeley.
#10 – Rethinking Financial Services for Everyday People | Peter Lorimer
While working in investment banking, Peter Lorimer (Betterment, OnDeck, Bank of America Merrill Lynch) realized that the financial services being offered to everyday people were fundamentally broken.
This sparked his interest in FinTech, eventually leading him to the FinTech start-up OnDeck. It was while working at OnDeck that Peter first decided he wanted to become the CFO of a FinTech company.
Peter first fell in love with the investing and savings app Betterment as a customer. Fast forward to today, and Peter is now CFO of this fast-growing FinTech Company.
In today's episode of Ventured Growth with Hercules Capital, Catherine Jhung and Peter discuss Peter’s journey from banking to FinTech, what he learned from mentors along the way, insights from OnDeck going public, transitioning to a CFO position, the importance of storytelling as a CFO, and more.
- Peter’s career path to becoming the CFO at Betterment.
- The transition from investment banking to FinTech.
- Transitioning a private company to a public company.
- Thinking of an IPO as a milestone, rather than a destination.
- Recruiting and retaining great talent.
- What he learned from CFOs like Michael O’Grady.
- And other topics...
Peter Lorimer is the Chief Financial Officer of Betterment, an investing and savings app. Before Betterment, Peter worked as the Senior Manager, Strategic Finance and FP&A at OnDeck. He also worked in investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Peter has his BA in Political Science from Duke University and his MBA from Harvard Business School. Peter resides in New York City.
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