Guest: Bill Ruckelshaus
Headquarters: Seattle, WA
CFOTL: What is the latest chapter for this business – what is it about?
Ruckelshaus: It’s very much growth, expansion, and scaling that will consume capital, so raising capital will be a part of my role. It’s also working with the leadership team to lean into the opportunity that we’re seeing. So it’s not just that the market is growing, but ExtraHop is growing at 40% year on year. We think that we have a compelling solution that we’re bringing that has advantages relative to alternatives. I think that an important role for finance in this context is to figure out where to invest and how to lean into this opportunity in a way that is smart and positions us for ultimately going public, which I think is very much on the agenda. It’s thinking about a timeline for doing this and how to sequence the things that we’re trying to do, because you can’t do everything at once.
Of course, people is a big component of this as well. It’s thinking with the other leaders of this company about how to hire and retain and develop a culture. I was fortunate to step into a very well functioning finance organization. There was a predecessor CFO who was quite capable, and she left a pretty strong legacy of a finance group that was very plugged in to the business and very business-minded and operationally oriented. It was a luxury to step into that. It wasn’t as if I had to come here and build things from scratch.
My emphasis, and I think where I can be helpful, is in continuing to raise the profile of the finance team across both accounting and FP&A. It’s in contributing a growth mind-set to the finance team, so that we’re not just the gatekeepers or the people who are trying to put guardrails on what we’re doing, but we’re actually participating with the rest of the company around how we can grow and invest and do so responsibly in a way that’s going to create value. I think that we’re already making progress in this regard, and I really view this as an opportunity.