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Sports and games are a huge part of our lifestyle and culture and will continue to be for generations to come. But how can investors and creators encourage growth and take advantage of this unique market?Investor, founder, and entrepreneur Kai Bond had spent over a decade in the gaming industry when he realized he wanted to approach gaming as an investable category. So he partnered with the startup Courtside VC, a venture capital firm that challenges the traditional definition of sports, digital media, fitness, and gaming.In this episode, Eddie Lopez and Kai talk about Kai’s entrepreneurial journey, how to approach gaming as an investable category, Kai’s take on web3, the future of gaming, diversity in the venture community and more.Topics Include: - Understanding what it means to be a good CEO- Challenge of coming from the corporate world to the startup world- The state of venture capital in Q1 2022- The importance of transparency and discipline in VC- What Courtside learned during 2020- Evolution of monetizing assets in gaming - Kai’s take on Web 3.0- The future of gaming - Why timing matters in the venture market  - How to increase diversity in venture capital - And other topics…Kai Bond is a partner at Courtside, a VC company that partners with early-stage founders who are challenging the traditional definition of sports, digital media, fitness, and gaming. Before Courtside, Kai was a Principal at Comcast Ventures where he led investments in Catalyst Fund, a seed-stage fund focused on investing in underrepresented founders.  Kai was the founder of pixieTV, an interactive SmartTV platform that was acquired by Samsung in 2014. After that, Kai moved into the role of GM at Samsung NEXT. Kai has held leadership positions in product strategy, business development, and M&A at Microsoft, GLG, and Hatch Labs. Kai is a graduate of Wesleyan University.
Raj Verma is the CEO at SingleStore, a database management system that helps modern applications be fast, frictionless, and flexible. When Raj started at SingleStore, he was Co-CEO with SingleStore’s founder, Nikita Shamgunov. By building a healthy relationship and friendship with Nikita, Raj was able to lead with the company’s founding principles, keeping that essence that makes SingleStore so special. Raj’s transition to Co-CEO and later to CEO has as much to do with his mindset and leadership skills as it does with the CEO job description. In this episode, Catherine and Raj talk about Raj’s transition from Co-CEO to CEO, why Raj views CEO as a mindset, how Raj leads with “a warrior’s mentality and a servant’s heart,” the importance of adaptation and change, how to build company culture, and more.Topics Include: - Relationship between founder and CEO - How his partnership with Nikita started - The accountability that comes with being a CEO- Executive coaching- Conscious capitalism - Combining business strategy with culture- The importance of finding you're why- What drives Raj toward success- Adapting to new circumstances - And other topics…Raj Verma is the Chief Executive Officer at SingleStore. He has more than 25 years of experience in enterprise software and scaling operations. Before SingleStore, Raj was the CEO, EVP of Global Scales, and COO of TIBCO Software, a company that he helped grow to over $1 billion in revenue. He was also COO at Aptus Software and Hortonworks. Raj holds a BA in computer science from BMS College of Engineering in Bangalore, India. Resources Mentioned: Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl: Bad Blood by John Carreyrou: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts:
Christine Tao is the Co-founder and CEO of Sounding Board, a venture-backed startup that recently raised $30 million in Series B funding and has grown four-fold over the past 12 months. Sounding Board’s mission is to help companies develop impactful leaders by leveraging AI-powered pairing technology with a network of leadership coaches. The idea for Sounding Board started when Christine was provided leadership coaching to transition into an executive leadership role at Tapjoy. Tapjoy set Christine up to work with an executive coach, Lori Mazan. Christine quickly realized the impact Lori’s coaching was having on her career success, and the two of them acknowledged how crucial it is to bring coaching to all levels of leadership. Christine and Lori’s ideas blossomed into the successful, growing company Sounding Board is today, helping bring leadership coaching to companies and employees around the country.In this episode, Catherine and Christine talk about the benefits of leadership coaching for both employees and employers, Christine’s experience growing a venture-backed company, what she looked for when hiring her financial partner, finding and retaining talent, and the importance of mission and narrative for fundraising.Topics Include:- The four types of leaders - Relationships between coaches and coachees- How CFOs bring needed structure and discipline to startups - Fundraising as a learned skill - How COVID helped accelerate Sounding Board’s growth- Advice for founders of startups- The power of asking for what you want- Hiring practices in today’s job market- The best advice Christine has received from a coach- How coaching can drive employee retention and engagement- And other topics…Christine Tao is the co-founder & CEO at Sounding Board, a venture-backed startup with the vision to help companies develop impactful leaders by leveraging AI-powered pairing technology with a network of leadership coaches. Before co-founding Sounding Board, Christine was a Senior Vice President of Developer Relations at Tapjoy, a venture-backed, leading mobile advertising & publishing network, and previously led e-commerce partnerships and strategy at YouTube. Christine advises several startups and is a member of the executive committee HR West & NCHRA (Northern California Human Resources Association).  Christine holds an MBA in Marketing & Operations from Wharton and a BA in Business Administration from UC Berkeley.
While working in investment banking, Peter Lorimer (Betterment, OnDeck, Bank of America Merrill Lynch) realized that the financial services being offered to everyday people were fundamentally broken.This sparked his interest in FinTech, eventually leading him to the FinTech start-up OnDeck. It was while working at OnDeck that Peter first decided he wanted to become the CFO of a FinTech company. Peter first fell in love with the investing and savings app Betterment as a customer. Fast forward to today, and Peter is now CFO of this fast-growing FinTech Company.In today's episode of Ventured Growth with Hercules Capital, Catherine Jhung and Peter discuss Peter’s journey from banking to FinTech, what he learned from mentors along the way, insights from OnDeck going public, transitioning to a CFO position, the importance of storytelling as a CFO, and more.Topics Include:- Peter’s career path to becoming the CFO at Betterment. - The transition from investment banking to FinTech.  - Transitioning a private company to a public company. - Thinking of an IPO as a milestone, rather than a destination. - Recruiting and retaining great talent. - What he learned from CFOs like Michael O’Grady. - And other topics... Peter Lorimer is the Chief Financial Officer of Betterment, an investing and savings app. Before Betterment, Peter worked as the Senior Manager, Strategic Finance and FP&A at OnDeck. He also worked in investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Peter has his BA in Political Science from Duke University and his MBA from Harvard Business School. Peter resides in New York City.Want to connect with Hercules Capital? Reach out to us online!Website – –
Jenny Bloom (Zapier, MailChimp) recently retired as CFO of Zapier, a technology startup that helps businesses automate their workflows. Jenny has decades of experience working as CFO for bootstrapped tech startups like Zapier and Mailchimp.  In this episode of Ventured Growth with Hercules Capital, Eddie Lopez and Jenny Bloom discuss Jenny's experience in the startup world, how she helped grow Zapier to a $5B valuation with only $1.3M in VC funding, tips for staying lean during periods of hypergrowth, and much more.  Topics Include:Jenny’s journey from corporate accounting and finance to CFO at major startups. The role of CFOs at tech startups. The value of investing in learning and development for your staff. The importance of building relationships as a CFO. Bootstrapping vs funding. Three tips for startups with growth models similar to MailChimp and Zapier. The importance of simplicity and automation. How to create a financially frugal company culture. And other topics…     Jenny Bloom retired as the CFO of Zapier at the end of 2021. Before her role at Zapier, Jenny spent several years in corporate jobs in industries from retail and hospitality to the automotive industry with Saab Cars USA. In 2002, Jenny started a CPA practice, Bloom & Associates, LLC, that focused on outsourcing CFO services for technology startups. This was where she connected with the founders of MailChimp. Jenny went on to work as the CFO of MailChimp for six years before starting at Zapier. Jenny lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia.  *Correction – Zapier received $1.3M in VC funding, slightly more than was mentioned in the podcast.Want to connect with Hercules Capital? Reach out to us online!Website – –
Antonio Nieves (Interior Define, ModCloth, Bonobos) is the CEO of Interior Define, a rapidly expanding digital custom furniture brand. Interior Define is a venture-backed startup based out of Chicago, IL that is changing the way people shop for high-quality furniture online. In this episode of Ventured Growth with Hercules Capital, Antonio joins Catherine Jhung to discuss how his background as CFO at major digital brands helped him transition into the role of CEO. Nieves reveals the keys to being an influential leader, discusses the importance of empathy, argues that investing in staff is a defining feature of a successful business, and much more.  Topics Include:Antonio's transition from CFO to CEO. The importance of narrative when leading an organization. Selling people on your company as a CEO. Creating structure and agency within an organization. Delegating as an executive. How to foster talent and invest in staff. And other topics...Antonio Nieves is the CEO of Interior Define, based in Chicago, Illinois. He is the former CEO of ModCloth. Antonio was the COO and CFO of Bonobos during their sale to Walmart. Throughout his career, Antonio has held senior positions at major companies including Logitech, Gilead Sciences, Blue Coat Systems, and Johnson & Johnson. He graduated from Penn State University with a BS in Accounting. Want to Connect? Reach out to us online!Website – –
Alan Fuhrman (Esperion Therapeutics, SpringWorks Therapeutics, Checkmate Pharmaceuticals) has 25+ years of executive financial experience in biotechnology, medical devices, and technology services. He has experience in a wide variety of both public and private company financial transactions and offers valuable insight for finance professionals in biotech and beyond. In today’s episode, Alan joins Hercules Capital's Lake McGuire to discuss how venture debt can help companies achieve growth in today’s markets, why the risk is worth the rewards when working in biotech, healthy and unhealthy relationship dynamics between a company and its board, and much more.Topics Include:How growing up in rural Montana and studying agricultural economics gave Alan a leg up in biotech. Transitioning from agriculture to public accounting. Taking initiative in building professional relationships. Alan’s personal experience with AML and how it motivates his work in biotech. Working as a biotech CFO and audit chair. Macroeconomic challenges for biotech in the near term. Thoughts on sources of funding for biotech companies. And other topics...Alan Fuhrman is a Board Member and Audit Chair at Esperion Therapeutics, Springworks Therapeutics, and Checkmate Pharmaceuticals. He was previously the CFO of Amplyx Pharmaceuticals, Mirna Therapeutics, and Ambit Biosciences, among others. Fuhrman was also the Audit Chair at Loxo Oncology for four years before the company sold to Eli Lilly and Company for $8 billion in 2019. He holds two bachelor's degrees from Montana State University–one in accounting and the other in agricultural economics.Want to Connect? Reach out to us online!Website – –
Servaes Tholen (Grove, Thumbtack, UpWork, eBay) is a financial operator with a wealth of experience leading cross-functional teams. After holding various financial positions at eBay, including CFO of the North America business unit, Servaes moved on to work with smaller, dual-purpose startups with social missions. In today’s episode, Servaes joins Catherine Jhung to discuss his transition from eBay to the startup world, his untraditional route from applied physics to finance, how companies like Grove and UpWork are making a difference in the world, and much more.Topics Include:Growing up in the Netherlands. How living abroad before moving to the US influenced Servaes and the work he does today. Working as the VP and CFO for eBay’s North America business unit. Key takeaways from his time as a consultant for McKinsey. The marketplace demand for companies with social purposes. The immediacy of climate change, and our social responsibility to respond. Long-term career aspirations. And other topics...Servaes Tholen is the CFO of Grove Collaborative where he oversees Accounting, FP&A, Corporate Finance and Business Operations. Prior to Grove, Servaes worked at Thumbtack where he served as CFO and COO for over four years. Prior to Thumbtack, Servaes was CFO of Elance and Upwork where he was primarily responsible for Finance, Human Resources, Analytics, and Data Science, before, during, and after the merger between Elance and oDesk that created Upwork. He holds an MSc in Applied Physics from Delft University of Technology, as well as an MBA from INSEAD with a focus on finance.Want to Connect? Reach out to us online!Website – –
Greg Henry (Couchbase, ServiceNow, GE Healthcare) is a finance leader with 20+ years of experience leading global growth and financial operations within the technology industry. In this episode, Henry joins Catherine Jhung to discuss taking Couchbase public in July 2021, what Henry learned from a fourteen-month consent decree at GE Healthcare, advice for aspiring CFOs, and much more.Topics Include:Career paths to becoming a CFO. The power of mentors in shaping our career trajectory. The importance of the CEO/CFO relationship. The future of office work in a post-COVID world. Time management and work-life boundaries. Living and traveling abroad with family. How to properly vacation. What Henry learned when transitioning from a company of 300,000 employees to a company of 300 employees. And other topics.Greg Henry is the CFO of Couchbase where he is responsible for the overall financial governance and management of the company’s financial operations. Prior to Couchbase, Henry served as the Senior Vice President of Finance at ServiceNow, where he led the enterprise cloud company’s financial development. Greg is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business.Want to Connect? Reach out to us online!Website – –
David Lapter (Dashlane, MakeSpace,, KickApps) is a seasoned executive of venture-backed start-ups with over 12 years of experience leading finance and business operations at various ventures in the US and Europe. In this episode of Ventured Growth with Hercules Capital, Lapter joins Catherine Jhung to discuss how to be a master delegator as a CFO, things to consider when taking a CFO position, managing spending after funding rounds, and much more.Topics Include:Three things to consider when taking a job as a CFO. Investing in your network. Scaling a fast-growing business. Delegating tasks and projects as an executive. Managing massive amounts of data. Setting clear checkpoints to measure the health of your business after funding rounds. The influence of being raised by Holocaust survivors. Finding drive, ambition, and passion in your work. And other topics.David Lapter is currently the CFO of Dashlane. He has helped scale several other companies including MakeSpace,, and KickApps. During his tenure in start-ups, David has led companies through numerous rounds of equity and debt funding, as well as buy and sell-side M&A activities. David graduated from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a BScE in Finance and Entrepreneurial Management.Want to Connect? Reach out to us online!Website – –
Charly Kevers (Carta, Lending Club, Salesforce, HP) is the CFO at Carta, a company that is building infrastructure for the private market in the form of cap tables, valuations, and private equity plans. Carta also powers CartaX, a private stock exchange that facilitates private company and private fund transactions. In this episode of Ventured Growth with Hercules Capital, Kevers joins Catherine Jhung to discuss how he has managed Carta through 10x growth, why thirty-five percent of venture-backed companies use Carta’s platform, how working in investor relations prepared Kevers for a CFO position, and much more.Topics Include:Critical strategies for aspiring CFOs. Developing your product to be the defacto product for a particular industry. Extreme curiosity, questioning the status quo, and anticipating future scenarios. The influence of mentors on Kevers' career. And other topics.Charly Kevers is the CFO at Carta, a position he has held since 2017. He previously served as the VP of Finance at Lending Club, Senior Director of Corporate Development at Salesforce, and Director of Investor Relations at Hewlett-Packard. Kevers received his BA in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and holds an MBA in Business Administration from INSEAD.Want to Connect? Reach out to us online!Website – –
Spencer Punter (DCVC, Axway Appcelerator, SnapLogic) has over two decades of experience in Silicon Valley. Starting as an investment banker, Punter moved on to become a venture capitalist, an entrepreneur, a manager of a venture capital fund of funds, and eventually a CFO/COO of venture-backed enterprise SaaS companies. In this episode of Ventured Growth with Hercules Capital, Punter joins Catherine Jhung to discuss his work with DCVC, how to stay focused and find leverage for your company, finding a competitive edge through athletics, and much more.Topics Include:Setbacks and career changes. How Spencer transitioned from an investment banker, to venture capital, to CFO. Time management and finding leverage as a CFO. Prioritizing tasks and projects. Physical fitness and running. What Spencer learned from running one hundred miles. Balancing career goals with personal goals and family life, and other topics.Spencer Punter has over two decades of experience in Silicon Valley, starting as an investment banker and then becoming a venture capitalist, an entrepreneur, a manager of a venture capital fund of funds, and eventually a CFO/COO of venture-backed enterprise SaaS companies. He is the COO and CFO of DCVC, a venture capital group backing entrepreneurs who apply Deep Tech to tackle previously unsolvable global-scale problems. Spencer has extensive operating experience having served in a variety of roles including CEO, COO and CFO at four venture-backed start-ups. Spencer received an SB with honors in Physical Sciences from Harvard University.Want to Connect? Reach out to us online!Website – –
Adriel Lares (Stash, Fastly, 3PAR) is one of the tech industry’s most accomplished financial leaders. In this episode of Ventured Growth with Hercules Capital, Lares joins Catherine Jhung to discuss how he conceptualizes the work he does as a CFO, what it takes to manage a complex, rapidly growing company, the importance of visibility and diversity in leadership positions, and much more.Topics Include:How to measure progress in a large company. Three golden rules for work and life. Taking 3PAR and Fastly public. Growing up in Alvin, Texas as a child of Mexican immigrants. What producing wine in Napa Valley taught Lares about networking. Dealing with setbacks as a company. Balancing work and family life. Giving back to the communities we come from. And other topics.Adriel Lares is an accomplished CFO and advisor. He was integral in taking two tech companies public–3PAR and Fastly. Lares recently stepped down as Fastly’s CFO to take a new position as the CFO at Stash, an app-based personal finance platform designed to help middle-class Americans build wealth. He is also one of three founding partners of Memento Mori, who produce some of the most sought-after wines in Napa Valley. Lares currently sits on the board of several organizations, including the National Hispanic Institute and the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Stanford University.Want to Connect? Reach out to us online!Website – –
Welcome to Ventured Growth with Hercules Capital! In this introductory episode, host Catherine Jhung shares the intentions behind the podcast and what listeners can expect in forthcoming episodes.Want to Connect? Reach out to us online!Website – LinkedIn –
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