Twenty-four hours after Brian Kinion’s first earnings call as the CFO of a publicly traded firm, his aspirations as a finance chief quickly became deflated as Vista Equity Partners made clear its intent to buy the company, a developer of marketing automation software known as Marketo.
“Mine became a very different role than what I had anticipated—almost all of the executives with whom I had worked left, but I stuck around for another 6 months to help the team take it from public to private,” remembers Kinion, who nevertheless views his Marketo career chapter as one of the most formative steps along his vocational path.Read More
To Kinion, who had joined the company several years earlier as vice president of finance, his Marketo sojourn was important because it allowed him to check the “CFO” box, thus guaranteeing him a coveted edge when it came to future CFO appointments.
What’s more, Kinion says, Marketo was where the full breadth of his past experiences could finally be put to use and where he finally came to “own the financial model”—a leadership leap made possible by then-CFO Fred Ball, who Kinion says made no secret of his mission to develop others.
Ball had led the company through Marketo’s successful IPO in May 2013 and occupied its CFO office as annual revenue at the firm grew from $14 million in 2010 to $210 million 5 years later.
“He told me, ‘Come in and take my job, and even if you don’t end up taking it, I’m still going to train you to be a CFO somewhere else,’” explains Kinion, who in 2017 would exit Marketo to accept a CFO position at Upwork, where once more he became the CFO of a publicly traded company when the private firm had its IPO the following year. –Jack Sweeney
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CFOTL: Tell us about MX … what does this company do. and what are its offerings today?
Kinion: MX is a leading digital platform for the financial world. We’re built on the belief that financial data should be accessible and actionable for all. We’re one of the fastest-growing fintech innovators, powering more than 2,000 financial institutions and 43 of the top 50 digital banking providers to improve the financial lives of more than 40 million people.
We have about 150 million unique financial accounts, and we process over a billion monthly financial transactions on the platform. The company’s been around about 12 years. We were founded in 2010 in Lehi, Utah, and have raised about $475 million to date. Series A was led by USAA; Series B, by Battery; and Series C, by TPG. Most recently, we raised money about a year ago at a $1.9 billion valuation.Read More
Our customers include US Bank, Sonoma, M&T Bank, and BECU, just to kind of give you some names. Technology has rapidly accelerated the pace of change in almost every industry, and financial services is no exception. More and more of our daily activities have moved online. Consumers have come to expect personalized, comprehensive digital tools that enable them to efficiently manage their full financial lives. An almost countless bunch of fintech businesses have been created to address this need. From 2020 to 2021, there was about a 50% growth rate in people using fintech providers.
In order to thrive, these firms require access to both customer financial data and the banking tools necessary to underpin their products and services. For years, financial data aggregators such as MX have played a key role in this evolution by collecting this customer data from financial institutions, creating efficient tools, and sharing the data with authorized third parties. There has been a little bit of a global trend toward open banking—or, more broadly, open finance—which has improved the transparency and portability of this financial data.
We use what’s called modern connectivity, which means employing more direct tokenized authorizations to access data. We have access to something like 16,000 different data sources. We are able to provide our customers—our fintechs, financial institutions, banks, and credit unions—with access to this modern connectivity. We’re then able to take it through what we call our Three Cs of data cleansing, which are the world-class ways in which we can cleanse, classify, and categorize it. We basically provide our customers with an opportunity, a value proposition, to increase their revenue, to upgrade their share of the wallet, to reduce their costs around fraud—to make a myriad of improvements like these—and thus to provide their end users with amazing experiences. We help to power this digital experience.
We provide aggregation, enhancement, identity verification, money management, and mobile banking. In a nutshell, that’s what we do.
“Hire a strong, diverse team with experts in various areas. Scale your organization through process and systems and eliminate the manual work that leads to errors. Understand the core metrics/drivers of your organization and be able to communicate them effectively inside and outside your organization. Be forward-looking and embrace change.” –Brian Kinion, CFO, MX
MX | www.MX.com | Lehi, UT