“Business Hires in a Startup: COO, Chief of Staff, and CFO” - Just released on Ubiquity University
Our latest free Ubiquity University video explores when early-stage startups should hire a COO (Chief Operating Officer), Chief of Staff, and CFO (Chief Financial Officer)
One of the best ways a technical founder-CEO can gain leverage is to bring on a Chief Operating Officer (COO) or Chief of Staff. However, this particular team addition is tricky given that can be an early-stage startup’s very first business hire.
In our latest free Ubiquity University video, Curated COO/Co-founder Peter Ombres lays out the role of a startup COO, how a COO interfaces with a CEO, the right timing to bring on a COO, and where a Chief of Staff and CFO might fit in: “Business Hires in a Startup - COO, Chief of Staff, and CFO”
Peter has spent 20 years in and around startup operations including co-founding Curated, where he is currently COO, as well as Gunnar Optiks and Sendio. He has also been on the other side leading tech M&A deals at LinkedIn/Microsoft and working in Google’s BizOps group on strategic projects for the executive team.
In this 14-minute Ubiquity University video (watch now), Peter takes us through the following:
What does a COO do? How does it overlap with the CEO’s role?
COO is a catch-all role that is responsible for everything that isn’t product, engineering or design
In the early days of a startup, this can include financial models, running payroll, onboarding employees, papework, compensation packages, coordinating legal
Ideally a CEO and COO work closely, as the COO can free up the CEO to focus on the core roles of a CEO: long-term strategy, raising capital, and hiring great people. Against these priorities, a COO can drive fundraising activities like pitch slides, fundraising modeling, term sheet evaluation, financial diligence and more.
When is the right time to bring on a COO? A Chief of Staff?
This requires an honest assessment of the skills of the people around the table today. A question for the CEO would be “How much time am I spending away from the core CEO areas of strategizing, fundraising, and recruiting"?” A COO can free up the rest of the team to focus on finding product-market fit.
2 types of Chief of Staff: (1) an extension of the CEO for decision-making or (2) an elevated executive assistant (EA)
How to find a COO? What’s the right profile?
A startup COO requires a broad skillset and an incredibly high level of trust
2 possible profiles include a former management consultant or a former investment banker-turned-VC or private equity investor. Both profiles include someone with great strategy and finance experience but with an operations mindset to get their hands dirty.
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