Start-up, Rapid Growth and Pre-IPO Companies Practice Group
Start-ups, Rapid Growth, Pre-IPO and Exit stage companies have many common challenges:
- They are moving quickly and success depends on paying careful attention to the financial and general health of the business;
- They work within a tight financial envelope, limited resources, and little margin for error;
- They often need talent to complement the founders with skills in infrastructure and building businesses. Our CFO partners bring that additional expertise to help scale the business. This requires effective planning and diligence; and
- The contributors are overwhelmed with their day-to-day responsibilities.
The phases of the Start-up through Pre-IPO Exit phases of an emerging company, ranges from:
- Seeking and securing Seed or Angel investment for product(s) or services during the ideation phase (e.g., two guys and a dog);
- Proof of concept and product development phase (including Alpha and Beta testing) and likely needs for additional rounds of financial and human resources;
- Pre-product launch phase where the execution of its “go-to-market” strategies for markets, branding, marketing, and channel distribution are determined and developed;
- Unique requirements associated with the desired Exit Plan (e.g., Pre-IPO or, Acquisition, etc.); and
- The need for founders to focus on both the flawless and expeditious execution of each of these phases while also adding talented and compatible resources to ensure a scalable infrastructure. This includes facilities, legal, human resources and IT and tools and processes to provide timely, reliable, and predictable business insights.
Our practice group of experienced world-class CFOs and our talent search team provide the requisite experience and a wide range of resources and provide timely, affordable solutions to address any of your company needs. With deep experience from working in the trenches, our advisors provide affordable, practical support. We work in a wide variety of industries and advise many successful start-up companies.
We assist our clients to enable their businesses to scale by putting best practices in place. Examples of support include:
- raising debt and equity capital;
- developing robust financial planning, accounting and reporting processes and systems;
- strengthening corporate governance at each stage, from initial start-up through rapid growth, IPO and exit planning;
- expand internationally either into or beyond the US.
Practice Leaders – Chris Burns, John Beasley and Rodney Smith
Chris Burns has more than 30 years of hands-on financial leadership and has helped deliver increased shareholder value, growth in cash flow and profits to startup and established market leaders.
He earned his BS and MBA in Business Administration at UC Berkeley. His strong foundation in large public technology and CPG companies, including Oracle and Clorox, combined with twenty years of experience in industry leading global ecommerce, software and SaaS startups, developed Chris’ ability to bring hands-on financial leadership and partnership to CEO’s, boards, their investors and staff.
John Beasley is a Consulting CFO with a strong interest in the intersection of technology, business and startups. With more than 20 years experience in leading early stage companies, John helps clients think through difficult issues from a financial perspective.
John now applies his skills to technology companies. He started the industrial chemical exchange and led an early stage technology company which builds mathematical models of healthcare and delivers them as a software service. John also served as CFO for a small northern California hedge fund before joining cfos2o as lead partner for technology company clients in all stages of their life-cylces: start-ups, early stage, pre-IPO and public enterprises.
Rodney Smith brings to his early stage company clients his extensive background in the technology industry, with notable manufacturing companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Zilog, and Sun Microsystems, as well as work with software, media, and SaaS start-up firms from global locations.
More recently, Rodney led a team of senior executives in changing a multi-billion dollar software firm from a perpetual licensing software company to a combination perpetual and SaaS deployment and financing firm. He also led the financial effort in that same firm’s successful identification and divestiture of its “non-core” global divisions.
Our practice group professionals can assist a company in numerous ways. We can:
- Develop a business plan that it is consistent with industry reporting standards to help raise capital and to set expectations with the Board and investors
- Develop a 3-5 year financial forecast that includes all the financials (Income statement, balance sheet and cash flow) and detailed headcount and staffing cost projections.
- Develop sensitivity analysis (i.e., “what if”) and modeling to help evaluate alternative strategies and results
- Review current accounting processes and procedures for both efficiency and adherence to GAAP, SOX and SEC requirements.
- Provide corporate governance leadership through a consulting Corporate Governance Officer.
- Serve on the Board of Directors as the Audit Committee technical expert.
- Advise a company on its selection of legal, tax, commercial banking, investment banking and insurance services and negotiate engagements
- Advise a company and negotiate agreements with all of its key infrastructure partners/vendors (e.g., technology, marketing, operations, etc.) – yielding significant savings.
- Lead the S-1 preparation team, and drive all regulatory filings.
- Staff the accounting and finance department by recruiting part time or full time qualified professionals and subordinates to fill those positions.
- Evaluate and recruit key employees and executives in other departments
- Facilitating strategic planning sessions
- Develop sound cash management planning tools and processes
- Evaluate personnel and HR practices and/or recommend specialists when needed.
- Develop and manage continuous cost-savings programs to drive continued profit increases
- Design and implement high efficiency accounting and technology solution packages with an eye towards automation and rapid scaling.
- Maintain a close watch on innovations in industry best practices providing comprehensive analysis on cutting edge solutions.
- Advise companies on expansion issues and costs – including international expansion and international tax structure.
- Develop a stock option plan and advice on the pricing of options and the need for 409A valuations.
- Function as the interim CFO and recruit the full time CFO
Successful Client Engagements
Our objective is to help our client meet their goals and to add value in the process.
- Worked for an early stage Rapid Growth ecommerce company to put its first GAAP financials in place, raise equity and debt capital, acquire multiple companies, expand internationally, put new ERP systems and low-cost planning systems in place to help the business scale.
- Worked with a Start-Up food manufacturing company needed debt and equity capital. We worked with the founder to develop a realistic business plan along with achievable forecasts. With these tools in hand, the company was able acquire new capital with minimal dilution, an SBA loan and a line of credit. Provided ongoing consulting CFO support across broad financial, accounting, and organizational issues.
- Worked with a successful A Round high-tech start-up to design and implement its five year Operating Plan that would serve as the basis for investment and board reporting that included the stock option plan to support the Operating Plan and stock option reporting including regular 409A valuations and annual ASC 178 (formerly FASB 123R) calculations. Managed outside professionals including corporate attorney, valuation consultants, auditors, tax preparers and insurance consultants. Set-up foreign operations for outsourcing. Managed all compliance reporting for the U.S. and for the foreign operations. Recruited Accounting Manager/Bookkeeper.
- Worked for early stage Rapid Growth high tech company to developed forecasts to support private funding raising activities. Actively assisted in the conversion from QuickBooks to an ERP system. Provided a more efficient outsourced accounting team to support the new technology. Prepared 409A valuations to support stock option pricing and provided decision support needed during the acquisition by a public acquirer.
- Worked with a Rapid Growth technology company developing recordkeeping and reporting infrastructure including integrating accounting software package to sales CRM and electronic storefront in addition to designing accounting and human resource policies and practices. Developed departmental and executive management reports as well as board reports including a Dashboard with KPIs.
- Worked with Rapid GrowthSaaS company developing five-year operating plan and developing departmental and executive management reports as well as board reports including a Dashboard with KPIs that measured, among other goals, progress towards exit objective. Prepared Cost of Sales analysis by channel of distribution including SEO and personal sales. Prepared Cost of Goods sold analysis by product.
- Worked with Pre-IPO Research and Development Company that commercialized intellectual property through licensing and joint ventures by staffing Interim CFO and technical accounting to prepare S-1, meet with investment banks and market makers in addition to corporate attorneys, auditors, and all relevant professionals. Recruited full time senior financial management including CFO and Corporate Controller
- Worked with Pre-IPO energy manufacturing company with global operations providing interim technical accounting support. Recruited full time senior financial management including CFO and Corporate Controller that prepared S-1, met with investment banks and market makers in addition to meet corporate attorneys, auditors, and all relevant professionals.
Who We Serve
When a start-up forms, it’s still perfecting its products and services, learning about its market, customers and competition and how to make money. Startup founders often lack financial experience and foresight. We help companies that are just starting out to develop solid business plans with financial plans that aid in funding. We provide senior-level guidance needed to accelerate the company to the next stage and can make critical introductions to other professionals and services to help entrepreneurs round out their professional advisory team.
Rapid Growth Companies
P&L, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow planning is critical in helping rapid growth companies plan investment in headcount, working capital, plant and equipment, technology, product development, marketing and sales. We help rapid-growth companies evaluate alternative strategies, personnel needs, market considerations and costs. We support both domestic and international businesses, and advise on funding alternatives. We provide carefully conceived, detailed long term plans that serve as business tools to manage growth and expansion, and measure progress towards those goals.
Companies considering an IPO have unique challenges. There are accounting and reporting factors, corporate governance and regulations related to specific SEC and Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) requirements that must be considered. At this stage, a company requires detailed reviews and potential system upgrades. We help pre-IPO companies to develop and incorporate disclosure controls, processes and procedures needed to ensure that financial statements are accurate and free of misstatements. We help prepare for the upcoming IPO.
E-Commerce and Internet Companies
E-Commerce Companies and industries with online business models provide many of their own additional opportunities and challenges to scaling the business. Internet-based business models also provide less friction in expanding internationally without the fixed capital expenses of their bricks and mortar counterparts. The infrastructure partnerships required are often different from offline businesses. We help these companies with expertise in negotiating technology, marketing and all other operational partnerships. Also, we can provide critical introductions to legal and other advisory professionals.
I can’t thank you enough for your guidance and leadership as our consulting CFO through this acquisition process and beyond. Plus you made it fun. Thank you!
Sue Auman, COO
CentreLearn Solutions, LLC
“CFOs2Go provided us with a Consulting CFO who understood the needs of our business, implemented policies and procedures designed to govern our operations, trained our staff to carry out those policies and structured our ERP reporting to allow us to view our profitability from many perspectives, as well as understand our financial position and cash flows on a routine basis. We now make informed business decisions that will allow us to achieve our high growth targets for this year and beyond.”