A Q&A with Marty Meyer, Sailthru’s Chief Financial OfficerDec 1, 2016 - by Kristine Lowery
Everyone at Sailthru is happy to announce and welcome Marty Meyer as our new Chief Financial Officer. Marty will be focused on leading the company’s strategic business planning, and he brings more than 20 years of experience to the role with deep domain expertise in e-commerce, SaaS and Enterprise Software at companies like Shapeways, Corero Network Security and ExtendMedia Corporation.
In his career, he has raised over $250M in venture funding and has closed successful M&A transactions with companies such as Cisco, IBM and Motorola.
With a proven track record growing innovative businesses and deep knowledge of the VC world, Marty has a pulse on the market matched by few others. We recently caught up with Marty to pick his brain on everything from startups in a changing financial environment, to making the switch from engineer to finance and guiding teams through change.
Much like our CEO Neil Lustig, you started out as an engineer and made the unlikely jump into finance. What triggered the switch?
MARTY: I love tech and always have, but as my engineering career progressed I became more heavily involved in the financial impact of the process; specifically cost of quality analysis, business models and strategy. So I decided to get my MBA.
I’ve made a career of working in start-ups and growth-stage companies because they offer the ability to wear many hats and evolve your career path as you discover more about your strengths and passions. The combination of technical and financial experience creates a unique perspective on the role technology plays in operational planning and strategy, and how to leverage that understanding to become a trusted partner and financial leader that truly understands tech-driven businesses.
This has — in my previous roles — helped me take on broader tasks such as running support teams, sales teams, contract manufacturing, and even serving as COO. For me, it’s more than simply finance; getting exposure to startups, enterprise software, media technology, telecom, network security, etc. offers a broad base of experience and knowledge. All of that experience has helped me stay connected to the core functions of the company, even as I continued to rise in seniority.
What attracted you to Sailthru?
MARTY: It’s cliche to say, but it was the people first and foremost. I was impressed with the depth of knowledge among our executive team here, and I shared more common threads with Neil Lustig than just being engineers turned corporate strategy leaders. We also attended the same university at the same time and have a common devotion to live music and a bunch of other shared hobbies. It’s important to me to connect with the executives I work with on both personal and professional levels, and I found that connection in the team here.
Aside from the people, the product is powerful, innovative and strategic. This was a big draw for me, and as a former technologist I truly believe that the holistic approach the Sailthru platform is bringing — in addition to game changers like predictive analytics and 1:1 personalization — is an unbelievable opportunity for today’s marketers. Sailthru fills a market gap that retailers and publishers alike have been seeking to fill for decades. That combination of people, product, and market fit made it an easy decision for me.
The investment market has entered into a time of uncertainty, with many saying that funding is drying up, priorities are changing, etc.; what is your POV view on this? What will it take to survive financial climate change?
MARTY: Honestly, some of this is attributed to the ebb and flow of the capital market. There are also global influences like Brexit, China, and the political climate here in the U.S. All of this uncertainty tightens the flow of capital from VCs and banks. In this environment, as opposed to a bubble, companies need definitive paths to profitability. You can’t always get capital. It’s not limitless. Companies need to demonstrate growth in base revenue, ARR, and need to show inflection on that growth.
How do you lead a team through this type of change?
MARTY: In one word, dedication. Strong executive teams and leadership need to help people believe and be passionate. No matter if it’s a small company or an enterprise, dedication is crucial — and it starts from the top.
When you have the passion and commitment in place, I think focus is the other element to always be thinking about. Startups and many large businesses are tasked with boiling the ocean. But you need to be good at focusing.
No company needs to be the best at everything. Be the best at whatever your value proposition is, build on it, and know what to de-prioritize.