Emily Villatte’s finance career first got rolling along dusty country roads in the Australian bush. With a dual-track master’s degree in engineering and finance, she had been hired by British multinational JLT Group to provide risk management and insurance services to a cluster of accounts residing in Australia’s outback.
Along the way, Villatte says, she was frequently greeted by the question, “What the heck brings you here?”
It’s a greeting that Villatte is just as apt to hear today as she was back then. However, this time the road has taken Villatte into the world of podcasting, where today she is the CFO of Acast, a Swedish-founded company that provides hosting services for both podcast creators and advertisers.Read More
“Experience is what you get when you do something that you haven’t done before,” reports Villatte, who within 2 years of her arrival in Acast’s CFO office took the company public on the NASDAQ Stockholm exchange.
According to Villatte, the finance team was more than ready.
“We had taken the prep work as far as we could, so when the board made the decision to do an IPO, we had about 14 to 16 weeks to execute,” recalls Villatte, who characterizes Acast’s IPO as a milestone not only for the company but also for podcasting as a medium.
“My job was to make certain that we had the options all set for an IPO and would be ready if the board decided to go down that road,” comments Villatte, who no doubt viewed that route forward as not very different from others that she had been down before. –Jack Sweeney
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CFOTL: Tell us about Acast … what does this company do, and what are its offerings today?
Villatte: Acast is an audio tech company that was founded in Sweden. We are really on a mission to become the world’s largest marketplace for podcast monetization. We do this by connecting our podcast creators, advertisers, and listeners through our technology platform. We’re an independent player working behind the scenes, supplying podcast content directly to hundreds of listening apps and generating more than 1 billion listens a quarter. If you’re listening to an Acast-connected podcast–anything done by the FT, The Economist, or Vice Media, for example–and you hear an ad, we’re delivering that through our behind-the-scenes ad tech and we’re sharing the revenue with the podcast creator.Read More
What sets us apart is that we doggedly champion our creators’ independence and their choices to manage and monetize their shows in the ways that are right for them. Everything we do, all of the products that we build, all of the tech that we have–all of it is toward the purpose of being the most creator-centric podcasting platform out there.
As CFO of a newly listed business, of course, I’ll spend a lot of my time working with my external stakeholders, the financial markets, and analysts on conveying our story and our journey to dominate the global world of podcast monetization. At the same time, though, as we’re speaking, there’s a lot of turbulence and many difficulties in Europe that are impacting some of our staff, so it’s a challenging time there from a macro perspective. My role as a general leader in Acast is to help our CEO and our leadership team to carry our organization through times like these that from an external perspective are challenging when you look at the news and so forth. This is also when podcasting is such a wonderful place to be as a listener. If we want to get information and stay up to date, sometimes watching TV can be quite heavy, so I highly recommend also actually listening to some of these news flows in podcast format to stay informed in what might be called a softer way.
“Get up close and personal with the whole of the business to understand what makes it tick–being stuck in the numbers is not enough. If you do this with a sense of purpose and curiosity and bring your team along on the journey, not only will you learn an immense amount but also you’ll have fun along the way.” –Emily Villatte, CFO, Acast
Acast | www.acast.com | Stockholm, Sweden