Your Operational Manual for IPO Readiness

Insights, ideas, and best practices created by and for leaders of private companies to help scale your business and yourself from growth-stage through IPO.

Trending

The Road to IPO: CFO Greg Henry on Steering Couchbase Through its IPO

The Road to IPO: CFO Greg Henry on Steering Couchbase Through its Public Debut

Couchbase CFO Greg Henry offers advice on building buy-side and sell-side relationships, gathering the right people, honing processes, and preparing to lead as a public company CFO.

5 Financial Planning Hacks for CFOs

5 Annual Planning Strategy Hacks for CFOs

CFOs in The Circle share strategies and advice for annual financial planning, including: balancing growth and spend, benchmarking, and managing board and internal communications.

The 409a Valuation Process

Stock options have been a way for startups to incentivize employees but with them comes regulatory requirements in the form of a 409A valuation for startups.

The Road to IPO: Insights on Public Market Readiness from Robinhood’s Finance Leaders

Fresh off their public market debut, Robinhood CFO Jason Warnick and VP, Treasurer Shiv Verma shared their IPO experience with The Circle, including the key factors and principles guiding their decisions and the lessons learned along the way.

Trending

The Road to IPO: CFO Greg Henry on Steering Couchbase Through its IPO

The Road to IPO: CFO Greg Henry on Steering Couchbase Through its Public Debut

Couchbase CFO Greg Henry offers advice on building buy-side and sell-side relationships, gathering the right people, honing processes, and preparing to lead as a public company CFO.

5 Financial Planning Hacks for CFOs

5 Annual Planning Strategy Hacks for CFOs

CFOs in The Circle share strategies and advice for annual financial planning, including: balancing growth and spend, benchmarking, and managing board and internal communications.

The 409a Valuation Process

Stock options have been a way for startups to incentivize employees but with them comes regulatory requirements in the form of a 409A valuation for startups.

The Road to IPO: Insights on Public Market Readiness from Robinhood’s Finance Leaders

Fresh off their public market debut, Robinhood CFO Jason Warnick and VP, Treasurer Shiv Verma shared their IPO experience with The Circle, including the key factors and principles guiding their decisions and the lessons learned along the way.

Talent

Reimagining the Office

8 Tips for Re-Imagining Your Office Post-Pandemic

As the world slowly emerges from a pandemic-induced work-from-home era and businesses move to adopt hybrid work plans, employees and employers alike have the opportunity to reconsider the role of their physical office spaces.
Hybrid Work - Getting it Right

Hybrid Work - Getting it Right

After over a year of pandemic-induced remote work, businesses across the country are preparing for employees to return to in-person offices in some form. Spoiler alert: no one has this figured out quite yet, and getting it right will take a lot of trial and error.
Employee Mental Health - Helping Teams Navigate Adversity

Employee Mental Health - Helping Teams Navigate Adversity

While discussions about mental health in the workplace have always been critical, the unending parade of uncertainties and challenges in 2020 has heightened the issue’s size, scale, and intensity. Our friends from Lyra Health and Culture Amp lead The|Circle group to dig deeper into the frameworks and statistics around mental health, map that data to the tech workforce, and explore different benefits and resources for employee support.
Making Work Work for Parents in 2020

Making Work Work for Parents in 2020 - Part Two

A sharing of ideas and experimentation's on this rapidly evolving area to support working parents during distance learning and shelter in place. By all accounts, everyone’s kids will continue to be at home for distance learning with their schools. Under all circumstances, it can eat into their productivity and cause friction in their work satisfaction. What do we (companies) do?
Making Work Work for Parents in 2020

Making Work Work for Parents in 2020

A broader group discussion focused on “how to” approach an entirely unprecedented but not unexpected issue that companies are contending with for their working parents. A big population to solve for (64% of households 2+ working parents). And one to pay attention to as attrition seems to be a high possibility. How will your company try to help make this new reality more sustainable?
Return to On-Site Work Series

Return to (On-Site) Work Series

This Circle|Call series was focused on figuring out how to invite employees back to the office (or continue supporting them remotely) with peer-to-peer first-hand accounts and benchmarking data on what is and isn't working in this herculean endeavor.
Supporting Employees in a New Reality Pandemic

Supporting Employees in a New Reality (a Pandemic)

Companies are looking to finding ways to drive culture and KPI’s during this current environment. Together with folks at Tala, Scoop, and Brunswick, The|Circle discussed people-based policies, services, and communications to help employees feel both supported and inspired to do their best work.
Office Space Design During Covid 19

Designing the New (On-Site) Employee Experience

The Circle community came together with a stellar cast of subject matter experts (Damla Gerhart from CBRE, Melissa Hanley from Blitz, Eric Pfeiffer from Corral and Shannon Magari from Colden) in the areas of space planning, architectural/interior design, and workspace ergonomics to discuss how once employees are on-site, how to drive desired perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors through human-factors and ergonomics design.
Stay Remote, Return On-Site or Run a Hybrid

Stay Remote, Return On-Site or Run a Hybrid?

As most companies are grappling with whether or not they will stay remote past the lift of sheltering in place restrictions The Circle community came together with veterans Lori McLeese of Automattic, Paul Machle of GitLab, and Jeff Harper of HashiCorp. To learn from their firsthand experiences as to why it can work, which myths to bust, and the nuances on being all remote.
Office Health & Safety Protocol COVID 19

Health & Safety Protocols for Returning to On-Site Work

The Circle gathered this week with a broad group to discuss the top of mind topic of health and safety of their employees back at the office, all of whom have been directly dealing with this subject matter every day since the onset of shelter in place.

Employee Retention Strategies and Ideas from HR Pros

Focusing on employee retention can result in significant savings. Here are the pro's favorite strategies and ideas to help retain their star talent
how to retain employees

How to Retain Employees and Reasons for Attrition

In a wide-ranging conversation, Chris Barbin from GGV capital shares what he did to retain employees and the importance of finding the reasons for attrition.

Liquidity Guide

A comprehensive guide for creating successful employee liquidity programs that aligns the needs of employees with those of executives, the board of directors, early financial backers—and the growing company.

Equity & Compensation

The 409a Valuation Process

Stock options have been a way for startups to incentivize employees but with them comes regulatory requirements in the form of a 409A valuation for startups.

Navigating the Shift from Options to RSUs: The Why, When and How

Transitioning from granting options to restricted stock units (RSUs) is a common practice among late-stage private companies approaching a liquidity event. Learn more about the key benefits, considerations, and best practices for making the transition.
Compensation for your Sales Team - Getting it Right

Compensation for Your Sales Team - Getting it Right

Sales compensation is often rife with difficulty and unintended consequences. Leading startup CFOs and a Deloitte principal discuss how to get it right.
Changes in the Market (IPO, Direct Listing, SPAC) with Morgan Stanley

What's Going on Below the (Exit) Waves w/ Morgan Stanley

Team Morgan Stanley helped provide some context behind the robust valuations, changing strategies, and structural innovations of today’s market, and offered their advice for how emerging leaders can capitalize on these trends for future success. 
SPAC - An Alternate Route to Going Public

SPAC - An Alternate Route to Going Public

Representing 40% of the entire IPO market today, SPACs are quickly becoming an alternative way for venture-backed companies to go public.  But what exactly are SPACs?  How do they work? How do they differ from a traditional IPO? And why the recent hype?
Reduction in Workforce Packages

To RIF or Not to RIF and The Consensus if You RIF

The CFO|Circle (65 attendees!) convened to discuss a topic most don't ever want to live through, but now many are - Reduction in Workforce (RIF). Together they've identified the do's and dont's of executing a RIF, from where to start to what to offer and how to best communicate with their employees.
Handling 409A Valuations In the Era of COVID-19

Handling 409A Valuations In the Era of COVID-19

The CFO|Circle came together with Steve Liu (Shareworks, SVB, KPMG) to share insights on whether the current volatile market might impact valuations of private companies and, if so, steps CFOs might take to position their companies for this reassessment.

Incentive Stock Option Expiration Date Problem

As more and more startups elect to stay private for longer, the mandated 10-year expiration date on incentive stock options is becoming a real problem.

Secondary Stock Sales: A Brief History

Secondary stock sales have always been possible, but their popularity has soared in the last 10 years. Learn about the history secondary transactions & market.

Section 1202 Stock: The QSBS Gain Exclusion

A little-known tax incentive for investing in qualified small businesses can help investors get $10M tax-free.

Stock Options and Other Equity Compensation Strategies

Incentivizing employees with stock options is common in startups, but it can be difficult to know which types of stock options to provide at each stage.
A Legal Guide to Secondaries

A Legal Guide to Secondaries

For private companies, deciding whether and how employees may sell shares can be tricky. On one hand.

Systems & Processes

Pricing and Packaging Paradox: Consumption, Subscription or Both?

Many companies are actively exploring a shift from a subscription-based pricing model to a consumption-based model, or hybrid of both. Here are some of the key considerations as you think through the transition, and tips for how to prepare your customers and internal teams.

Transitioning Your Board of Directors From Private to Public

As a CFO, how do you help manage the transition of your board of directors from a private company to a public company? Four battle-tested CFO’s shared their experience and advice with The Circle Community.
CFO Software Stack - Best in Class

The CFO Software Stack: Picking the Best Software

The Circle Community gathered to dive deep into CFO Software Stack for the five of the most requested business activities in more detail -- Enterprise Resource Planning, Business Intelligence, Contract Management, FP&A, and HRIS -- recommending strategic considerations and specific systems for each function.
Deal Desk - Do's and Don'ts

The Do‘s and Don’ts for Creating, Implementing, and Optimizing Your Deal Desk

A sales negotiation Deal Desk can streamline your sales team’s negotiation process, providing critical guidance and support for standard and complex deals alike. On the ground leaders of The Circle share best practices for creating, implementing, running, and optimizing a Deal Desk operation.
The Ins and Outs of the IPO Price Discovery Process

IPO Price Discovery with CFO Kim Jabal of Unity

When navigating towards your IPO, finding and setting the correct price for your company’s stock can be one of the most important aspects of the process. Kim Jabal of Unity joins The Circle to discuss the ins and outs of the price discovery process.
CFO Software Stack Programs Systems

The CFO Software Stack: Tips for Implementation

CFO’s touch upon so many aspects of the business and a critical one is owning and managing the majority of a company's software stack. The CFO|Circle convened to discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of the software they are using today, best practices for implementation, and if there should be a specific role hired to manage the stack.

Managing Risk in Accepting and Using the PPP Loan

 The CFO|Circle was joined by Kevin Grumberg + Grant Fondo + Derek Cohen of Goodwin and Courtney Dorman + Amy Koch of Brunswick who offered a framework for assessing and managing risk with respect to audits, lawsuits and unwanted publicity around the PPP loan.
PPP Loan Whats Next

You Received a PPP Loan. What’s Next?

The CFO|Circle came together with Adam Steinberger + Michael Barrett + Dennis Minich of Andersen Tax and Kevin Grumberg of Goodwin to discuss the loan forgiveness provisions under the CARES Act and the latest Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) developments. 

A Virtual Gathering for Finance Leads During Unprecedented Times

CFO|Circle convened to discuss burning topics during the Pandemic of COVID-19. As always, and especially now, leaning in and helping each other navigate through unprecedented times.
COVID Prevention and Recover Warehouse Facilities

Pointers on COVID Prevention and Recovery for Fulfillment Facilities

The CEO|Circle was joined by Nader Kabbani VP of Amazon Flex and Last Mile Logistics to discuss best practices for COVID prevention and recovery for fulfillment facilities.

The 409A Valuation Process: What Every Founder Should Know

Learn the mechanics of 409A valuations, how to prepare, and what to watch for throughout the process.

Leadership & Vision

5 Financial Planning Hacks for CFOs

5 Annual Planning Strategy Hacks for CFOs

CFOs in The Circle share strategies and advice for annual financial planning, including: balancing growth and spend, benchmarking, and managing board and internal communications.
“Ask Me Anything” with CFO Jeff Epstein of Apex and formerly of Oracle (2008-2011)

“Ask Me Anything” with CFO Jeff Epstein of Apex and formerly of Oracle (2008-2011)

From his former role as CFO of Oracle to his current position as co-CEO + CFO of a SPAC, Jeff Epstein has earned plenty of scar tissue with invaluable experience as a CFO for both private and public companies. Jeff shares his views on CFO best practices, navigating the transition from public to private, the "why" of SPACs, and more.
"Ask Me Anything" with CFO Lee Kirkpatrick Twilio (2012-2018)

"Ask Me Anything" with CFO Lee Kirkpatrick Twilio (2012-2018)

Veteran CFO Lee Kirkpatrick guided Twilio to and through its IPO from 2012-2018. Now he's an active board member and executive advisor to both venture-backed and public companies. Lee shares his views and best practices for exercising greater empathy, up-and-down the organization, as a cornerstone to being a strong leader in the company.
"Ask Me Anything" with CFO Criss Harms Forescout (2013-2020)

"Ask Me Anything" with CFO Criss Harms Forescout (2013-2020)

Veteran CFO Criss Harms guided ForeScout, a 20-year-old company, for nearly eight years to and through its IPO from 2013-2020 where he helped scale the business with people, systems, and processes. Having traveled the entire start-up journey, Criss has key insight and experience concerning CFO leadership and strategy.
2021 Financial Planning and Setting Board Expectations

2021 Financial Planning and Setting Board Expectations

2020 has introduced a wide range of new, unpredictable variables to consider when financial planning for the future. The|Circle convened this week to discuss different planning approaches, including scenario planning, general planning advice, and tactics for communicating these plans to the board.
"Ask Me Anything" with CFO Tim Bixby @ Lemonade

"Ask Me Anything" with CFO Tim Bixby @ Lemonade

Despite a global pandemic and recession, CFO Tim Bixby recently helped steer Lemonade to one of the best IPO debuts of 2020.  Having traveled the entire startup-journey through IPO more than once (LPSN, SSTK), Tim has the critical experience and insight into the leadership and strategy necessary to be a successful CFO.
The Role and Responsibilities of the CFO with the Board

The Role and Responsibilities of the CFO with the Board

Led by our mutual friends, Rob Krolik and David Oppenheimer, this Circle|Call was geared towards discussing how CFOs can shift their role from one that reports to the board to one that leads the board (of course, in conjunction with their CEO).
Leading Through Crises & Downturns in a Remote Environment

Leading Through Crises and Downturns in a Remote World

Complimenting as well as contrasting points of view by Dave Dorman and Sid Sijbrandij were shared with leaders of The Circle on how leaders can be available, communicative, and vulnerable to drive desired attitudes and behaviors throughout the organization and across all stakeholders.
Rightsizing Your Real Estate

Rightsizing Your Real Estate

The Circle came together with Tim Kazul, Jon Wittemyer, Lukas Ault @ CBRE, and Katherine Murphy, Brenna Moorhead @ Goodwin to discuss how to work with your landlord on financial needs here-and-now and space need in the near future as impacted by the pandemic.
Software Public Company Playbook

A Look at the Software Public Company Playbook

The CEO|Circle + CFO|Circle came together with Paul Kwan, Head of Morgan Stanley’s W. Coast Tech Group, and Melissa Knox, Global Head of Software, to discuss Morgan Stanley's software market playbook which they’ve synthesized from scores of public company leadership conversations they’ve held. 

M&A Considerations During a Pandemic

The CEO|Circle came together with James Kim + Nadir Shaikh of Qatalyst Partners to discuss M&A considerations during COVID19. During these challenging times, Qatalyst shared how CEOs can and should cultivate meaningful relationships on both sides of the M&A equation. 
Room to Grow

Room to Grow: Strategies and Tactics for Growth

Recently the consumer-facing CEOs of our CEO|Circle got together to share strategies and tactics for optimizing growth during these unprecedented times. This peer group offered helpful insights into how they are taking advantage of areas where there is “Room to Grow.” 

IPO Readiness

The Road to IPO: CFO Greg Henry on Steering Couchbase Through its IPO

The Road to IPO: CFO Greg Henry on Steering Couchbase Through its Public Debut

Couchbase CFO Greg Henry offers advice on building buy-side and sell-side relationships, gathering the right people, honing processes, and preparing to lead as a public company CFO.

The Road to IPO: Insights on Public Market Readiness from Robinhood's Finance Leaders

Fresh off their public market debut, Robinhood CFO Jason Warnick and VP, Treasurer Shiv Verma shared their IPO experience with The Circle, including the key factors and principles guiding their decisions and the lessons learned along the way.

Transitioning Your Board of Directors From Private to Public

As a CFO, how do you help manage the transition of your board of directors from a private company to a public company? Four battle-tested CFO’s shared their experience and advice with The Circle Community.
The Ins and Outs of the IPO Price Discovery Process

IPO Price Discovery with CFO Kim Jabal of Unity

When navigating towards your IPO, finding and setting the correct price for your company’s stock can be one of the most important aspects of the process. Kim Jabal of Unity joins The Circle to discuss the ins and outs of the price discovery process.
“Ask Me Anything” with CFO Jeff Epstein of Apex and formerly of Oracle (2008-2011)

“Ask Me Anything” with CFO Jeff Epstein of Apex and formerly of Oracle (2008-2011)

From his former role as CFO of Oracle to his current position as co-CEO + CFO of a SPAC, Jeff Epstein has earned plenty of scar tissue with invaluable experience as a CFO for both private and public companies. Jeff shares his views on CFO best practices, navigating the transition from public to private, the "why" of SPACs, and more.
"Ask Me Anything" with CFO Lee Kirkpatrick Twilio (2012-2018)

"Ask Me Anything" with CFO Lee Kirkpatrick Twilio (2012-2018)

Veteran CFO Lee Kirkpatrick guided Twilio to and through its IPO from 2012-2018. Now he's an active board member and executive advisor to both venture-backed and public companies. Lee shares his views and best practices for exercising greater empathy, up-and-down the organization, as a cornerstone to being a strong leader in the company.
"Ask Me Anything" with CFO Criss Harms Forescout (2013-2020)

"Ask Me Anything" with CFO Criss Harms Forescout (2013-2020)

Veteran CFO Criss Harms guided ForeScout, a 20-year-old company, for nearly eight years to and through its IPO from 2013-2020 where he helped scale the business with people, systems, and processes. Having traveled the entire start-up journey, Criss has key insight and experience concerning CFO leadership and strategy.
"Ask Me Anything" with CFO Tim Bixby @ Lemonade

"Ask Me Anything" with CFO Tim Bixby @ Lemonade

Despite a global pandemic and recession, CFO Tim Bixby recently helped steer Lemonade to one of the best IPO debuts of 2020.  Having traveled the entire startup-journey through IPO more than once (LPSN, SSTK), Tim has the critical experience and insight into the leadership and strategy necessary to be a successful CFO.
SPAC - An Alternate Route to Going Public

SPAC - An Alternate Route to Going Public

Representing 40% of the entire IPO market today, SPACs are quickly becoming an alternative way for venture-backed companies to go public.  But what exactly are SPACs?  How do they work? How do they differ from a traditional IPO? And why the recent hype?
Consumer Playbook Morgan Stanley

A Look at the Consumer Public Company Playbook

The Circle gathered this week with our consumer-focused CEOs and CFOs to discuss the consumer tech market playbook, from the perspectives of public company CEOs, CFOs, and Boards. Umi Mehta & Shaan Tehal of Morgan Stanley joined the group to synthesize for them what they’ve learned from scores of public company leadership conversations.
Software Public Company Playbook

A Look at the Software Public Company Playbook

The CEO|Circle + CFO|Circle came together with Paul Kwan, Head of Morgan Stanley’s W. Coast Tech Group, and Melissa Knox, Global Head of Software, to discuss Morgan Stanley's software market playbook which they’ve synthesized from scores of public company leadership conversations they’ve held.