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From Corporate CFO to Startup Co-founder

Looking to speak with CFO’s that have made this transition- does the corporate background hinder or help me?


Mark Stokes
Title: CFO
Company: Private
(CFO, Private) |

Interesting that you put "co" in there. I think it will be very helpful to have a co-founder if it's your first startup. I came from very large companies and although I had a number of executive positions at those big companies, I found that I really did not know much about starting a company. I mean, bookkeeping? What is that? :) And insurance and fundraising and cap tables and finding space. It's almost funny how ill-prepared you will find yourself.

However, having a "corporate" background is certainly better than not having any business background. The big questions are still the same: how do I build something profitable and sustainable? You've been answering that for years and despite the different milieu, you know a lot of the answers already (or at least you know many of the questions).

So don't let your corporate background stop you! So long as you are comfortable with a little uncertainty you'll do great.

Topic Expert
Dana Price
Title: Vice President, M&A
Company: McGraw Hill Education
(Vice President, M&A, McGraw Hill Education) |

Mark, I love uncertainty! Yes, the "co" is key, not going at it alone and luckily I know a few things about bookkeeping and biz insurance. Now if I can only ensure barrier to entry is solid....thanks for you input, I appreciate it. I have had a few VC folks tell me they get a little nervous with corporate types having a go at startups. I just smile and say "Let me show you."


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