Introducing Mark Resnick, WePay’s new CFO
In February, WePay announced the appointment of Mark H. Resnick as its new Chief Financial Officer. We recently had the chance to chat with Mark and ask him a few questions about his experiences in the SaaS industry, and why he chose WePay.
“I ask myself this question every day… (sarcasm intended). There is no single answer here, a series of events and influencing factors brought me to WePay. Starting from the beginning of the introduction and interview process, FTV Capital is an investor in WePay and has a focus on high growth fintech companies. I know FTV well, as WePay represents the fourth FTV Capital portfolio company that I have worked with. When Chris Winship, Board member from FTV, approached me and asked me to meet Bill [Clerico, CEO of WePay], I said yes.”
“Before meeting Bill, I spent some time trying to understand the WePay story and business model. As you may know, I was recently COO & CFO of Vindicia, a fellow high-growth, fintech investment of, yes, you guessed it, FTV. Having spent the past seven years in a similar business model, attacking a different segment of the market, I was intrigued by the opportunity to take lessons learned from Vindicia and apply them at WePay.”
“Next, I met this young, brilliant, thoughtful CEO. Now you must understand that in my career I’ve always been paired with a ‘unique and interesting’ entrepreneurial CEO. I promised myself that I wanted to work with a really solid CEO, not one that was full of themselves. One that was genuine, and that was committed to building something great because it was fun and right thing to do, not because they wanted to be on the front page of Forbes. I think you can ask Bill himself, but we hit it off right away, and the next step was to meet some of the team. Again, I was incredibly impressed with the people at WePay – smart, articulate, thoughtful – creating something new and unique. I was sold. All that was left was the paperwork.”
What are the top 3 metrics you focus on most for a SaaS business?
“My favorite SaaS metric is the Omniture Magic Number. This metric was coined by Josh James, the CEO of the web analytic company that he ultimately took public and then sold to Adobe. At the time Josh was running Omniture, I was the CFO of Coremetrics, a competitor web analytic company, so our models were very similar. The Omniture Magic Number is a simple calculation of sales efficiency, which is a great predictor of future success for subscription based business models. There are any number of ways to calculate the metric, but regardless, it’s my favorite single measure and I use it at every SaaS company I work for. And, as you can see, I’m not above leveraging smart people, even when they work for the other team.”
“The other two metrics I always look at are CAC and LTV. CAC is Cost to Acquire a Customer. If you don’t know how much it costs to acquire a new customer, you don’t truly understand your business. LTV is Life Time Value. If you don’t have some way to measure the total ‘lifetime value’ (revenue or gross margin/profitability) of your client base, you’ll never know if you are acquiring clients that will actually create a profitable company.”
What metrics do you believe SaaS businesses spend too much time fretting about?
“I don’t think spending too much time fretting metrics is necessarily a bad thing. I like to collect as much data as possible and review it over time. Even if a metrics looks bland, the one time the metric changes, you know something is up. The same way our ops team tracks hundreds of metrics each day, hour, minute, second, the one day something goes astray, you’ll always be ready to read and react. Having said this, too many metrics convey the same information. So no, I will not overburden the organization with data collection. I’ll work with the team to pick the ‘right’ metrics and we’ll move forward from there.”
You’ve previously helped multiple startups get acquired or sold. What advice can you offer others based on these experiences?
“I recently attended a celebration dinner where our senior board member took the floor to thank and praise the team on a job well done. He shared his broad 30-year venture capital experience about startups that experience a successful exit. He noted that first and foremost, luck is required. That’s right – luck. There are lots of great ideas and smart people both here in the valley and elsewhere that we compete against. At the end of the day, a little luck is involved. Right time, right place, landing that one customer, intriguing that one strategic acquirer. This is not to denigrate the importance of having a strategic vision and rock solid business model, but a little luck is required to get from here to there.”
“The second consideration he spoke of was the importance of persistence – persistence of the management team and a culture of persistence within the organization. In the trials and tribulations of a startup, nothing is always easy. It absolutely takes hard work and persistence in the face of adversity. Pivots of business models must occur. Change must be embraced and when you get hit to the floor, you must rise up, dust yourself off and live and fight for another day.”
“In my personal experience, I find this to be absolutely true. So I look to surround myself with people that know this isn’t going to be easy, but we’re going to have fun along the way. That fun may be facing and fixing problems that we didn’t predict or even know would exist, but we linked arms and made it through. I’m very hopeful that the WePay culture embraces the need to be persistent, because if it does, then I’m confident this will be yet another great ride.”
HP or TI calculator?
“Neither, I have a cheap, portable, solar powered Canon calculator. Just give me add, subtract, multiply and divide functions and I’m good to go.”