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.

Hope you enjoy…


  • Experience: “Prior CFO experience or rock star who’s ready.” I’m sure a whole article could be written in assessing “readiness”, but are there a few factors you look for in someone who’s ready? All CFOs have to be a first-time CFO at some point.

    • Someone who’s ready can go beyond finance. They help run the company. The CEO and the board trust them implicitly. If you have that, then the person is ready

      • Thanks for the reply, Mark. Having CEO and board trust makes it feel like first-time CFOs are probably internal candidates – which would make sense to me. Anyway – just discovered your blog and appreciate the insight!

  • This was a really great deck. I’m featuring it in my upcoming weekly Startup Management email.

  • Interesting points. I’m curious to what “Avoid double part time” (slide 9) refers to?

    • Thanks Nigel. double part time = part time CFOs who are only doing that part time. i.e. they’re really just in between full time CFO gigs. As soon as they find one they will leave you. Best to stick with people who do part time CFO as a business

  • Thanks for doing the talk and sharing your experience. It was really great and helpful!