63 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 Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/backbone/support

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

    • Careers
    • 5.0 • 6 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 Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/backbone/support

    Ep. 61: The role of momentum and velocity in propelling Blackberry's epic run from $2M to $20B in sales with Dennis Kavelman, Partner at Inovia Capital (Former CFO / COO at Blackberry)

    Ep. 61: The role of momentum and velocity in propelling Blackberry's epic run from $2M to $20B in sales with Dennis Kavelman, Partner at Inovia Capital (Former CFO / COO at Blackberry)

    Dennis Kavelman, Partner at Inovia Capital (Former CFO / COO at Blackberry)

    I chat with Dennis about:

    His 15 year run as the CFO and COO of Blackberry after joining the company when it was virtually unknown, with just 20 employees and roughly $2-million in revenue back in 1995. During this time Blackberry grew to more than 15,000 employees and sales of $20B. Dennis had a front-row seat for the company’s explosive growth from startup to global player. He also helped take Blackberry public as CFO.
    What made Blackberry into a global success story and how the company evolved from 20 to 15,000 employees and $20B in sales.
    Blackberry’s co-CEO management structure and whether it is something he recommends to companies today.
    How he managed to continuously evolve as Blackberry grew to remain “qualified” for the role having minimal prior experience.
    How he transitioned into the world of venture as a Partner at Inovia Capital and his focus area at the firm.
    What advice or key learnings he shares with the up and coming emerging technology companies of today.
    Hiring top talent.


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    • 42 min
    Ep. 60: IPO readiness and what it truly means to take a company public today with Curt Sigfstead, CFO at Clearbanc

    Ep. 60: IPO readiness and what it truly means to take a company public today with Curt Sigfstead, CFO at Clearbanc

    Curt Sigfstead, CFO at Clearbanc

    I chat with Curt about:

    His career journey that led him to the CFO seat at Clearbanc. Prior to joining Clearbanc, Curt was the Head of Technology Investment Banking for the West Coast at JP Morgan. Over the last 22 years while he was there, Curt led over $200B of technology M&A transactions and over 80 technology IPOs, follow-ons and private placements — a tremendous feat.
    What Clearbanc does and what it’s all about.
    How he thinks about risks an emerging company has to take, and the frameworks or mental models a CFO can use to evaluate them.
    IPO readiness and M&A preparedness: the right time for a company to think about going public and specifically for the CFO, what needs to be in place before that can happen. M&A preparedness —to the extent one can “prepare for M&A” — what the company’s finance leader should be thinking about to ensure the company is ready to transact.
    The biggest misconception about the finance function within growth-stage software companies like Clearbanc.


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    • 31 min
    Ep. 59: Determining the core competencies of the finance function with Etienne St-Martin, Director of Finance at Roadmunk

    Ep. 59: Determining the core competencies of the finance function with Etienne St-Martin, Director of Finance at Roadmunk

    Etienne St-Martin, Director of Finance at Roadmunk

    I chat with Etienne about:

    His career journey from Deloitte to Freshbooks to becoming the Director of Finance at Roadmunk.
    What Roadmunk does and what it’s all about.
    Building a finance function and deciding what aspects to do in-house vs outsource.
    How seasonality may affect pricing and packaging SaaS businesses that serve both the SMB and enterprise markets. Both Freshbooks and Roadmunk have free trials and a self-serve onboarding process.
    The biggest misconception about the finance function within growth-stage software companies like Roadmunk.


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    • 24 min
    Ep. 58: The makings of a well-rounded finance leader with Brian Montminy, CFO at Lessonly

    Ep. 58: The makings of a well-rounded finance leader with Brian Montminy, CFO at Lessonly

    Brian Montminy, CFO at Lessonly

    I chat with Brian about:

    His career journey starting as a consultant with Accenture, followed by 5 years at JP Morgan Chase before taking the plunge into tech with Salesforce where he held various roles in the finance and strategy team.
    What Lessonly does and what it’s all about.
    Risk aversion and why finance leaders are less likely to take on personal risk as a finance leader.
    How Brian has had to evolve as the company has grown and how the finance function has changed during his tenure. For context, Brian joined Lessonly around Series A when the company was 24 people with 300 customers, and now the company is at 170 people with over 1,000 customers.
    The biggest misconception about the finance function within growth-stage software companies like Lessonly.


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    • 27 min
    Ep. 57: Lessons learned from hyper-growth & scaling to $100M+ ARR, 100k customers and raising $100M with Tim Compton, SVP of Finance at ActiveCampaign

    Ep. 57: Lessons learned from hyper-growth & scaling to $100M+ ARR, 100k customers and raising $100M with Tim Compton, SVP of Finance at ActiveCampaign

    Tim Compton, SVP of Finance at ActiveCampaign

    I chat with Tim about:

    His career journey from EY to the transition into tech including stints at Google, Groupon and Geofeedia, before taking on his current role at ActiveCampaign.
    What ActiveCampaign does and what it’s all about.
    Comparing ActiveCampaign’s hyper-growth to Groupon and what it means for the finance function. For context, ActiveCampaign crossed some impressive milestones. At the start of 2020, the company raised a $100M round from Susquehanna Growth Partners. The company has passed the $100M ARR milestone and has over 100k total customers. Tim joined the company when it was 75 employees and $17M in ARR back in 2016. Tim was part of the early days of growth at Groupon to IPO in 2011.
    The unique challenges and opportunities of serving the SMB segment of the market compared to enterprise, including the considerations you should take into account when deciding if the company should move upmarket.
    The biggest misconception about the finance function within growth-stage software companies like ActiveCampaign.

    This episode is sponsored by Vena Solutions.  Vena is the complete planning platform loved by finance and trusted by business. The Vena Growth engine combines the tool you already know—Excel—with the technology and experts you need to power your plan to grow. Learn more at www.venasolutions.com/backbone.


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    • 32 min
    Ep. 56: Lessons from raising $50M during a global pandemic with Aly Khan Musani, CFO at Symend

    Ep. 56: Lessons from raising $50M during a global pandemic with Aly Khan Musani, CFO at Symend

    Aly Khan Musani, CFO at Symend

    I chat with Aly about:

    His career journey starting in the energy and natural resources sector with various progressive roles in finance including serving as the CFO of CleanTek Industries, prior to joining Symend.
    What Symend does and what it is all about.
    Aly’s perspective on “data is the new oil” having worked in the energy and natural resources sector, who’s now the CFO of a company driven by data. He also discusses the similarities and differences between technology and the natural resources/energy space.
    Symend recently raised over $50M, Series B — one of the largest Series B rounds in recent memory for an Alberta based company. The round was led by Inovia Capital’s growth fund. Aly shares his biggest learnings from the raise and his tips for raising during a global pandemic.
    The biggest misconception about the finance function within growth stage software companies like Symend.


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    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
6 Ratings

6 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!

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