- Business Insider/Rebecca Borison
When a company establishes a strong business model, rapidly expands its user base, and raises massive amounts in seed funding, talk of an initial public offering is inevitable.
When those same companies hire a CFO, it’s usually a strong sign that an IPO or some other type of exit is on the horizon.
These 15 tech companies have raised millions and even billions of dollars.
They also recently hired CFOs, which has led many analysts to question if they will attempt to go public in the near future.
Some companies have openly admitted that they are eyeing an IPO, while others have outright denied it.
Some of these companies hired their very first CFO, while others replaced their former CFO with an expert in acquisitions, fundraising, or initial public offerings.
- Thomson Reuters
Airbnb hiredBlackstone Group LP Chief Financial Officer Laurence Tosi as its finance head in July.
The company was already experiencing massive growth worldwide and just four days after the CFO announcement was made, CNN reported that the company was seeking a $1.5 billion funding round, bringing its total valuation to $25.5 billion.
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said of Tosi’s experience, “L.T.’s (Laurence Tosi’s) expertise in hospitality and finance is the perfect combination to help take Airbnb to the next level.”
With a $25.5 billion valuation, it’s easy to imagine the “next level” being an IPO.
In June, Spotify hired former Netflix finance chief Barry McCarthy as its first CFO.
McCarthy was an instrumental figure in Netflix’s IPO in 2002, and he remained with the streaming service until 2010.
Business Insider reported that his move to Spotify could be an indicator that Spotify is looking for McCarthy’s experience to help while it readies its own IPO.
Spotify raised $526 million in a Series G funding round in June for a valuation of $1.1 billion.
In August, Snapchat announced the hiring of its first CFO. The company chose former Mattel executive Drew Vollero as its VP of finance and acting CFO.
News of the hiring was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Re/code noted that Snapchat was aiming for $50 million in revenue for 2015 and $200 million in 2016.
Vollero doesn’t have much IPO experience, but Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel told Re/code at its annual conference, “We need to IPO, we have a plan to do that.”
In late 2014, Instacart raised $220 million in a new round of funding that valued the company at $2 billion. In late September the company hired Ravi Gupta as its first CFO.
Gupta previously served as a director at KKR, but has never served directly in the CFO role.
Business Insider had the chance to speak with Gupta. When asked about a possible IPO, he said the platform was “focused on our company’s growth in terms of having more partner retailers, more markets, and more customers. Whether we do that in the private or public market isn’t something we’re talking about at the moment.”
- Crowd Strike
CrowdStrike Inc. hired a new CFO in September. The company is a provider of the first true Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based next-generation endpoint-protection platform.
The company chose Burt Podbere as its new CFO. Podbere entered the company with 20 years of experience in financial and operations management of pre- and post-IPO companies.
In a press release the company said, “Podbere will support CrowdStrike’s continued long-term growth and financial performance.”
His last company, OpenDNS, another SaaS-based service provider, was acquired by Cisco Systems under Podbere’s guidance.
His other successful exits have included a 2013 role in selling Net Optics to Ixia and a successful IPO round in 2011 for Epocrates.
In July, MongoDB announced the appointment of Michael Gordon to the CFO role. He arrived at the company after 20 years in the financial-management field. His work history includes time spent at Yodle and Merrill Lynch.
During his time at Merrill Lynch, Gordon helped raise more than $20 billion in capital for clients, including many initial public offerings. He also advised on more than $50 billion in mergers and acquisitions.
MongoDB has raised $311 million to date for a valuation of $1.6 billion.
- Business Insider
In February, Dropbox announced the hiring of former Motorola finance chief Vanessa Wittman.
Wittman was chosen to replace Sujay Jaswa, a four-year veteran at the company.
The Wall Street Journal pointed out that Jaswa’s promotion to CFO last year was surprising given his lack of experience in a finance role at a public company.
Wittman, conversely, served as CFO of publicly traded consultancy Marsh & McLennan as well as senior roles at Microsoft and Morgan Stanley.
Dropbox competitor Box went public in early 2014, with an IPO price of $14 and a market valuation of $1.7 billion.
- Melia Robinson/Business Insider
Arthur Minson Jr. was named as WeWork’s CFO in June. He previously served as the finance chief at Time Warner Cable.
His appointment arrives at an interesting time for WeWork. The company recently raised $355 million in a new round of funding co-led by T. Rowe Price Associates Inc., Goldman Sachs Group, and clients of Wellington Management.
The workspace rental company is valued at $5 billion, The Wall Street Journal reports.
When asked about the hire, WeWork founder and CEO Adam Neumann said the company spent “some time” looking for an executive that could take the company “to the next level and fit the culture.”
The Wall Street Journal reported in December 2014 that WeWork has its sights set on an IPO in the next two to three years.
DocuSign, Inc. hired Michael Sheridan as the company’s finance chief in August.
Before joining Docusign, Sheridan was the CFO at FireEye.
The list of companies that were acquired during his employment includes Mimosa Systems (now part of Iron Mountain), IGN Entertainment (now part of News Corp.), and SonicWALL (now part of Dell). He also spent time working at Facebook.
SFGate pointed to a possible IPO after noting that the company has raised $463 million to date, with a valuation north of $1.6 billion.
Dewey Awad, a managing director at Bain Capital who invested in the company’s newest $233 million round told SFGate, “I would expect a company of this magnitude would be a very important IPO.”
In June, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. hired Shou Zi Chew, a former partner at Russian investment firm DST Global.
Shou Zi joined Yuri Milner’s DST Global in 2010 and was involved in the company’s investments in Xiaomi and other Chinese tech companies.
One month after his hire, a high-ranking Xiamoi executive told CNBC that there were “no plans” for an IPO. The company says its $45 billion valuation isn’t a factor because it has raised plenty of money and is already profitable.
Before working for DST Global, Shou Zi served asInvestmentBanking TMT for Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
In September, Shopkeep named former ChannelAdvisor executive John Baule as its new CFO.
Shopkeep has raised $97.2 million all the way through series D funding.
Baule was COO and CFO for K12 and helped build the infrastructure necessary to support the edtech company’s rapid growth and its initial public offering in 2007.
Baule also led ChannelAdvisor, a leading SaaS platform company, through their successful IPO.
Centro Inc. announced the hiring of Michael Bruns in July.
Crains Chicago Business was quick to claim the move was “another step down the path toward a possible IPO.”
He previously served as the CFO at several fast-growing startups and worked as an investment banker at Robert W. Baird & Co.
The company recently passed the 500-employee mark and at the time of his hiring had 130 open jobs listed.
This isn’t a secret IPO play, CEO Shawn Riegsecker told Crains. “We were looking for someone with IPO experience who understood raising private capital, someone who understood startups and had been through exit mode.”
At Codifyd Inc., Bruns helped double the company’s staff, and at ClearTrial, he made software for managing clinical trials while increasing the number of employees from 10 people to 50 in three years. He led ClearTrial through a successful acquisition to Oracle Corp.
Centro has raised $52.5 million since 2010.
- Twitter/Warby Parker
Stripe hired Will Gaybrick as its first CFO, effective in October. Gaybrick is one of the company’s venture investors and arrives at Stripe with a software-engineering background.
CEO Patrick Collison told Re/code that his company sought out Gaybrick’s unusual background for a CFO because of his “deep understanding of Stripe’s products.”
Collison says the hire doesn’t indicate thoughts of an imminent IPO.
“There’s a pattern of a CFO joining tech companies to chaperone through the IPO process and this is not that,” Collison said. “I hope some day in the future we are working with Will through whatever liquidity mechanism or mechanisms the company pursues. But that’s absolutely not the focus today. That’s years out in the future.”
Fortune reports that Stripe has taken in more than $300 million in funding for a valuation of $5 billion.
- Credit Karma
In January, Credit Karma announced the hiring of Joseph Kauffman, previously CFO of NYSE-listed TAL Education Group, as its first ever finance chief.
Namely announced the hiring of CFO Radhika Samant in August.
While Namely may not be as familiar as other companies on our list, it is becoming a big player in the payroll-operations business. The company currently processes over $1 billion in annualized payroll.
Radhika brings over 20 years of experience in building and optimizing global-finance teams and processes.
Namely has raised $77.8 million. What might be most impressive is that the company increased its valuation 9x in just 12 months.
The company serves more than 300 companies with 45,000 combined employees.