The High performance CFO

Here are the slides from my talk yesterday at Point Nine Capital‘s SaaS Founder Meetup.  Point Nine is a Berlin-based seed fund with investments across the Globe. Their partner Christoph Janz has a real focus on SaaS and as a result they have built a broad global SaaS portfolio. They were a seed investor in Zendesk and have invested in many other great SaaS companies. They co-invested in Unbounce with me a few year’s back. Yesterday’s event (still going on today) was full of amazing founders sharing vast amounts of knowledge. I’ll post some notes from it later this week.

In the meantime, here are my slides on the things you need to know about when to hire a CFO, what they do, etc. Plus some random topics to consider once you have a CFO in the building. I’ve been doing this for so long that I take it for granted. But what I learned from the founders and VCs at the event yesterday was that many (in fact, most) startups don’t get to the point where they need a real, full time CFO. And so, this whole subject was foreign territory.

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The coming Canadian Tech Renaissance

CdaThis Monday I went to the Labour Day classic Argos vs. TiCats CFL showdown. As I watched the unfurling of the largest Canadian flag ever, listened the screaming CF-18 overhead and sipped my Molson Canadian I couldn’t help think about the state of our tech scene in Canada.

I’ve been in this industry since the late 90s. When I showed up, the tech boom was in full swing. Everyone with a pulse was getting funded. Their was a booming tech IPO market in Canada. All good.

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FreshBooks First Venture Round

FreshBooks_logo
Today, FreshBooks announced that it raised $30M in its first venture funding round ever.  This is the single largest transaction I’ve been a part of and I am super excited to welcome our new investors to the team.

The path to this announcement began many years ago. For years, we have fielded calls from VCs looking to learn more about us. We knew from the beginning we were looking to build an enduring market leader. So we knew that at some point, seeking institutional backing would become part of the story.

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Building your C Level Team

team-justice-leagueBack when I was a seed stage VC I was always amazed to meet founding teams where every one of them had a C level title. CEO, CTO, etc. Now the beauty of having your own company is that you can call yourself whatever you want. But when dealing with institutional investors its important to be open and self aware enough to judge whether you truly have a C level team in their eyes.

I’ve been part of many startups now as either an investor or management team member. But FreshBooks is the biggest so far (Shopify is bigger but was much smaller when I was involved). We are at the growth stage, well beyond startup. And what we need in terms of leadership and management differs very much from what my past companies have needed.

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