Looking back, Mike Rasic says that his entry into the world of tech start-ups got kicked off with a phone call that he almost didn’t answer.
“I have a strict policy that if I see a phone number popping up on my mobile that I don’t recognize, I just don’t pick up,” explains Rasic, who goes on to say that the voice on the other end belonged to a head hunter who subsequently gave him the scoop on a CFO position.Read More
“It worked out,” reports Rasic, a former PwC partner who is currently the CFO of Synapse, a fintech start-up that can now be counted as Rasic’s fourth CFO tour of duty.
Asked what advice he wishes that someone had given him upon entering the CFO office for the first time, Rasic replies “timing matters,” before explaining further: “I joined a mortgage company as CFO at the onset of the mortgage crisis.”
Besides some of the more challenging lessons gleaned from the mortgage crisis, Rasic says that he exited the experience with two key takeaways that he has applied to every CFO role since.
“First,” he notes, “I went into the role thinking that my world was predominantly going to be finance. Don’t think that way! And make certain that the role is expanding as much as you think is necessary.”
Rasic’s second takeaway once more highlights finance’s broadening influence.
“Don’t underestimate the responsibility of the role. You are going to make decisions that impact peoples’ lives for good and bad,” explains the finance leader. –Jack Sweeney
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CFOTL: Tell us about Synapse. What does this company do, and what are its offerings?
Rasic: Synapse is a banking-as-a-service company. What does this mean? In its simplest terms, it means that we help companies to offer financial services. If you are Company A and want to be able to provide loans—want your customers to have access, for example, to a credit card, a branded credit card, or to a short-term installment loan—and you, as an entity, are not licensed to do that, you don’t have the infrastructure to do that, we give you the ability to do it. We allow you to basically plug in to our infrastructure and offer the financial products that you want to offer to your customers.Read More
Synapse was an interesting situation to step into. It’s an amazing company, amazing products, been doing really, really well. I don’t think anybody on the Synapse side would disagree with this. But the finance function was kind of nonexistent. They had a function that had been in place for a while. It was not performing very well, so they eliminated the team and outsourced the function. The team that it was outsourced to is doing a great job, but they don’t know the industry. They’re not in the weeds. They don’t know all of the ins and outs as well as somebody who was in-house would. I guess that’s my long way of saying that I walked into, basically, a blank piece of paper.
Priority number one is getting the strategic finance team in place and the infrastructure for it in place. This is clearly number one for the organization. Number two, without letting on too much, is we have some really important strategic launches that we’ll be doing this year. Again: a shameless plug for the company. Keep an eye out for some things. So, making sure that we are successful with these launches is really important for me and for the organization. Number three is just helping to grow the organization. We have six key KPIs. Making sure that the organization stays focused on these six and is doing everything that we can to achieve these KPIs is really important for the organization.
Synapse | www.synapsefi.com | San Francisco, CA