515: Owning Your Firm’s Destiny | Nathan Feather, CFO, PrimeRevenue

Listen to the Episode Below (00:38:48)

A little more than 13 years ago, when Nathan Feather joined PrimeRevenue–an upstart supplier of supply chain financial services–the 20-member enterprise was just signing up its first direct customers. “We were a complete finance function spanning a person and a half,” explains Feather, who says that despite its sparse resources, finance was from time to time drawn into addressing legal, HR, and IT-related matters. This was what any C-suite executive might expect inside a start-up enterprise, but Feather is not your typical start-up CFO. Put another way: He’s not a serial CFO–the singular species that frequently arrives in the start-up’s C-suite already eyeing a transaction.

For Feather, PrimeRevenue was an opportunity to perform an act of creation–one in which the company’s business functions, still in their infancy (or yet to be established), would rely in part on his judgment and ability to see into the company’s future. “We built out the accounting and controllership side of the house first and then built out FP&A,” says Feather, who frequently uses house-building metaphors when describing the evolution of the business.

As PrimeRevenue grew, Feather’s appetite for learning all aspects of firm-building was once more revealed when he moved to Prague, where in addition to his finance leadership role, he took on that of general manager, Europe. “I had had some experience in supporting sales and operations, but I had never led them, so this role really allowed me to see beyond finance,” recalls Feather, who after 13 years of firm-building appears little eager to remove his lens from PrimeRevenue’s future. —Jack Sweeney

CFOTL: What are those top-of-mind metrics that you’re always paying attention to?

Feather: Every day, there are a couple of things that I look at first thing in the morning. One is an internal tool that we’ve developed called “Ticker,” which is sort of a running total of the day’s activity on our platform. How much volume is flowing through our platform? How much has been funded today? What are the different revenue streams on that? That’s the first thing that I open up pretty much every morning, to see what’s happened already that day in Asia and Europe before we in Atlanta even get started on our day. The second thing that I’ll look at every morning is our sales pipeline and the metrics around our demand generation. How many leads have we processed? How many leads did we generate today? How many do we expect to generate today? Any movement in the sales pipeline, and how does that line up with our plan for the month, for the quarter? Those sorts of things. The third is what’s happening with our customer success organization and what their backlog looks like in terms of adding to the network from a supplier onboarding and enablement standpoint. So, these are the three things that I look at every morning: What’s happened so far today? What’s the demand gen pipeline look like? What’s our customer success pipeline look like? jb