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Adopting the Startup Mentality with Vena Solutions COO Tina Goulbourne

Photo-Tina Goulbourne
Tina Goulbourne

Episode Summary

Financial planning startup Vena Solutions has raised more than $400 million to fuel its growth. When you've got that kind of walking around money, you need to have a plan to turn that capital into new customers, enhanced products, and recurring revenue. In this episode,  we hear from Vena Solutions’ Chief Operating Officer, Tina Goulbourne, on the key priorities required for startup success. Tina has held key roles during her career at companies like Xerox, Hewlett-Packard, and Apple, and she leans on those experiences to help guide her in her current role at Vena Solutions. During our discussion, Tina shares the story of how she ended up in her current role at Vena Solutions as well as some of the key lessons she’s learned about the startup mentality over the course of her career.

Episode Notes

Turn towards, instead of away
Although Tina was happy in her previous role at Apple, she was intrigued by the opportunity to join Vena Solutions for a variety of reasons. First, she knew the company’s CEO and entire leadership team would be excellent to work with given their humble, grounded, yet committed approach. In addition, Tina was interested in the opportunity to learn more about the product and build something new from scratch. Ultimately, these positive qualities stood out to her and she allowed them to serve as the guiding force in her next career move. 

Take notes from Apple
During her time as Apple’s Sales Planning and Operations Leader, Tina learned a few tricks of the startup trade. First, she learned the importance of prioritizing data when making decisions and measuring success. She was also influenced by the company’s focus on transformational improvement rather than incremental improvement—that is, rather than making small tweaks to the existing approach, there should always be a willingness to go back to the drawing board if something isn’t working. Finally, Tina learned the value of placing a strong emphasis on improving the customer experience, every step of the way.

Focus on sustainable growth
Tina noted that at the beginning of the startup journey, the focus is primarily on getting as much business in the door as possible. However, once companies enter the scale-up phase, they need to be strategic about finding ways to grow sustainably. At Vena Solutions, part of the company’s approach is to determine the biggest growth accelerators and inhibitors so they can zero in on strategies for expansion while removing potential barriers to success.

CIBC Innovation Banking is a trusted financial partner to entrepreneurs and investors. Get in touch with our team at cibc.com/innovationbanking.

Show Contributors: 

Tina Goulbourne

Vena Solutions

Michael Hainsworth

CIBC Innovation Banking