As soon as you raise capital, you are committing yourself and your company to a one-way path of accelerated value creation. The leaders of high growth companies face tremendous pressure and expectations to grow themselves in order to keep up and remain relevant. The biggest outcomes are most often founder-led, start to finish. The highest leverage thing that you can do as a CEO is invest in your performance through coaching.
I work with the CEOs of venture and PE- backed technology companies to help them scale faster than their businesses so that they can be the best possible leaders and achieve the biggest outcomes.
In addition, I offer deal advice to companies that need help getting deals done but don’t want or need an investment bank.
1 on 1 coaching designed to maximize your effectiveness as a business leader and become a more fulfilled, complete human being.Learn more
Highly specific, tactical, behind-the-scenes deal advice based on over 20 years of doing venture capital, private equity and merger & acquisition deals.Learn more
These are my personal angel investments. Some came through my involvement as an advisor to these companies. Others are more traditional investments. I invest first and foremost in people: in particular a founding leader that I believe can become a great CEO. The best outcomes are founder-led. Back the right founder and he or she will figure out the rest. Beyond the people filter, I only invest in sectors where I have deep knowledge and can be helpful, such as B2B SaaS and e-commerce.
"I've had the good fortune to work with Mark in several capacities over the years. He was one of the first VCs I pitched to in the early days. He was a confidant when I was a struggling CEO, riddled with personal issues. And he was later my "banker" (though he hates the term) to get our Series A done. I don't know many people as qualified to give contextual advice on what it takes to be a successful CEO."
Co-founder and CEO of Uberflip
"Mark has a deep theoretical and practical understanding of everything that matters when building a high growth tech company. He is a brilliant advisor and his involvement often has a huge positive impact on the companies he works with."
Co-founder and CEO of Shopify
"Mark delivered an immense amount of value to me and the company. His advice is always grounded in the deep experience of a data-driven operator, a venture capitalist, and a deal maker. He also brings his strong exemplary values to every interaction and every action whether its business or personal, which earns him respect from everyone involved.
With all that said, I found that the most valuable thing that Mark brings to the table is his zen. I observed him staying centered in the chaos of life and building businesses, seeing the essence, bringing it to the surface, and collaborating to create durable solutions. I deeply respect Mark as a professional and as a friend."
Co-founder and Chairman of Opencare
"Super helpful and has deep domain experience with the operations and financial aspects of startups. A real wealth of knowledge!"
Founder SaaS Academy and Angel investor / Coach
"Mark was one of our most trusted advisors and partners from the early funding stages through exit at Chefs Plate. Mark’s ability to cut through the chaos of building a startup to ask the most important questions is extremely valuable and difficult to do. It’s clear this comes from years of experience and a strong ability to decipher what’s important to get the best out of founders and teams. We would strongly recommend working with Mark as a trusted advisor both personally and professionally."
Co-founder and Co-CEO of Chef’s Plate
"There are very few people that can bridge the gap between operator, financier, and advisor. Mark is successful at all three. Highly recommended."
Co-founder & CEO of Vantage
"Mark has exceptional operational experience - he's lived things on our side of the fence, has been through the good and bad and knows what it takes to make it. He also has a cool head and takes a measured approach. His advice has been invaluable to us - I enjoy working with him."
Former CEO & Co-founder of Fabric Engine
"Mark is one of the smartest guys I know. He is very generous with his time and his background as a CFO has been invaluable to us as an advisor and investor in our company. His startupcfo.ca blog is an absolute asset to the startup community. Any startup or fund would be lucky to have him on board."
Co-founder and CEO of Massive Damage Games
"In my book, Mark is simply as good as it gets as a CFO in a startup environment. His experience with raising early stage capital in different startup contexts is deep and exceptional.
As a former colleague and CEO, I have greatly appreciated the intensity, financial rigor as well as the determination he brought to "building a business"."
CEO of Thinking Capital
"Mark really understands the trials and tribulations of startups. His methodology in raising money for startups is amazing and has proven to be successful time and time again."
Founder and CEO of Bam Strategy
"Mark was an important advisor to help Plank "get to the next level" of professionalism. With his help Plank developed a series of processes and policies that ensured our long term success as a company. I've since then always referred to Mark as our "Business Physiatrist"."
Co-founder and CEO of Plank Design
"I’ve known Mark since 2011, first as an investor who led our Seed round, and since as a trusted advisor to Unbounce. Mark has been generous with his time and I’m grateful for his commitment to our success along the way. I don’t think Unbounce would be where it is today without his guidance. It’s always a pleasure to work with Mark and I’m happy to call him a friend."
Co-founder and CEO of Unbounce
Coaching is a deep 1 on 1 relationship designed to help you generate your own insights, growth and path forward. We work through personal and company issues to remove blockers and unlock performance. It is not about me giving you the answers. It is about helping you unlock the answers within you.
Mentoring is about sharing past experiences and lessons learned. Consulting can take many forms such as advice or actual project work.
Our sessions will sometimes touch on mentoring as clients look to leverage my experience. But, for the most part, we will be focused on coaching.
My clients are looking for both personal growth and to maximize their personal and company performance. They realize what is at stake and what it will take for them to deliver on their own and their investors’ expectations.
They choose me because I have sat in their shoes. I have operated venture-backed startups and scale ups. I have been a VC. I have been funding, growing and exiting technology companies since 1999.
Anything is fair game. Whatever you or your business is going through, I have probably encountered it before.
As you can imagine, I have private, intimate relationships with my clients. While I ask for testimonials and have shared them liberally on this site, the specific identity of my clients and the nature of what we work on together is highly confidential. As a result, I do not ask clients to do reference calls.
If we don’t know each other already, then I recommend a more immersive session upfront so that I have a deep understanding of you and your business.
From there, we move to ongoing calls. Usually twice a month, 50 minutes per call. I am available for spot coaching / special issues as needed.
Coaching sessions are remote over Zoom for the most part. Ideally the upfront immersive sessions are done in person so we can better get to know each other.
It is important that we set clear goals for coaching upfront. That way we will know when we have succeeded.
I charge a monthly retainer and ask for a standard advisor option grant.
I strongly believe that a CEO of a venture-funded company is like a pro athlete. He or she needs to have the best team around them to enable elite performance. I work with CEOs and CFOs who realize what is expected of them and invest in themselves to exceed these expectations.
Individual sessions are 45 – 50 minutes long. The duration of the relationship is dependent on what you are trying to achieve.
My hope is that through coaching and my deal work that I will become a close friend of the company and an objective, trusted advisor over many years. That doesn’t mean you are a client the whole time, but that we come together as needed to make things happen and bring you and your business to the next level.
In Jim Collins’ classic management text “Good to Great”, the author looks at the greatest companies of his era to identify patterns in their success. The first step he identified in great companies was team assembly, or as he put […]
Often, when CEOs get in touch with me, it is because they have an impossible list of tasks. If you spend all day in meetings and only do e-mail in the evenings, you leave yourself no time to actually DO […]