492: Moving Finance to the Center | David Evans, CFO, Cardlytics

Listen to the Episode Below (00:38:03)

It wasn’t long after David Evans arrived inside the CFO office at Cardlytics that finance team members learned that their office surroundings were about to change. Originally domiciled in the less-trafficked–some would say “quiet”–side of the building, Evans wasted little time in relocating his team to more central (and arguably more social) office space.

“Physically speaking, if I’m advancing a mantra that my team is a trusted business partner, they need to be visible, and part of that involves the cadence and frequency with which they operate,” says Evans, who believes that finance team members at Cardlytics have perhaps a plus-size opportunity to play a strategic role in the business. It’s an opportunity that becomes more easily grasped when one considers the company’s unique lines of sight.

The Atlanta-based company partners with financial institutions (2,000 of them) to run their banking rewards programs that promote customer loyalty, providing Cardlytics with a coveted view into where and when consumers are spending their money. Meanwhile, that view over time has become pools of data, into which the Cardlytics finance team is today known for taking deep dives.

“Our team is very much involved with helping to assess those opportunities. And that means assessing the required resources and capital to go after the opportunities where we think that there could be pockets of outsized returns to the organization,” explains Evans.

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Guest: David Evans, CFO

Company: Cardlytics (NASDAQ: CDLX)

Headquarters: Atlanta, GA 

Connect: www.cardlytics.com

CFOTL: What past experiences have prepared you for this role?

Evans: I think that a large part of what I brought to the table in coming to Cardlytics was my prior experience in investment banking. A large part of my time there was spent in taking companies public. Taking on the role, I knew that this was a likely or viable path for the business.

Read Full Transcript

I think that the moment was around how the company was positioning itself. At the time, it was how it was positioning itself to banks or financial institutions and how it was positioning itself to advertisers. The “A-ha!” moment was: Does this jibe with how we think about positioning this business to institutional investors?

It was all of those check boxes that you like to check on behalf of any Wall Street investor: How much visibility do I have into the business? What does revenue growth look like? Where do I see opportunities for margin expansion? How sticky is the business? How do I think about a KPI set that demonstrates operating leverage?

It was all of those things that you would think about–like customer concentration, for example–things that you need to check the box on before you go out to the market. Those were very much top-of-mind for me as soon as I felt that we had a viable path to getting out as a public business.

Certainly the business itself, from an operational perspective, started to evolve to where we could begin to check those boxes to make ourselves a very attractive investment for public investors.

jb