Mark Godley is the CEO at LeadGenius, a startup located in Berkeley, California, that helps global enterprise companies with their data strategies related to their go-to-market teams. Godley has worked with AVL Growth Partners since its creation in 2009.
Godley started three decades ago in sales and wanted to stay close to the market with SaaS companies. He had a thirst for small, challenging startup models and was connected with AVL founder, Chris Schwalbach, while he was still doing accounting work for small start-ups.
Godley explains that he was impressed with how Schwalbach found a fractional financial structure that could solve this need and it was the first time he heard of it being done this way. He had a good eye for what a small start-up needed and started working with AVL to provide services to startups he worked with.
Like many startups, Godley noticed a trend with LeadGenius–the company needed a lot of people with expertise, but could not attract the talent to match. Godley recognized that he didn’t have peers who would be intimate with the organization’s finances.
“The macro problem I am always trying to solve while working for under-funded, or under-resourced start-ups, are the financial metrics. LeadGenius was not exempt from this problem,” he said.
Godley explained that LeadGenius could not be judged by metrics or benchmarks that would typically be expected of $20M or $30M companies.
“I realized I needed to look for experts, like a C-Suite peer, who could be a trusted advisor so I could confide in and rely on someone to check my logic on various important decisions and help the company grow.”
AVL provided financial diagnostics and reporting to keep score and truly understand how LeadGenius was performing, and ultimately how it is going to be valued.
“They started by cleaning up the colossal messes, like unorganized receivables and incomprehensible GLs. They had a lot of deficiencies to clean up before they could get to those C-suite services. But once the clean up happened, they were able to really tell a story about the finances and they became part of the company. They are considered staff, not contractors. They become a strategic weapon and those who use them reap the rewards of this long term relationship.”
The processes and insights provided by AVL have allowed LeadGenius to close additional rounds of equity and debt financing faster than before. The CEO believes the AVL CFO is a must-have person to have in those meetings based on their expertise and added value.
When setting up meetings for additional funding (equity rounds or debt financing) Godley explains that of all of his senior staff that could be on the call, the must-have person for him is his AVL CFO. “There is no other alternative for me. They are it. I stake my role on the value AVL is going to bring to any company.”