Eightfold.ai, an AI company founded by former Google and Facebook machine-learning scientists, announced Thursday longtime finance executive Celia Poon would be signing on as CFO.
Poon has worked in the finance departments of public and private Silicon Valley tech companies for nearly 20 years. She was vice president of finance at Twitter, vice president of corporate finance at Zynga and vice president of corporate finance and treasury at Yahoo. Most recently, Poon was CFO of startups Highfive and Wag Labs Inc.
"As a CFO of an enterprise software-as-a-service (SaaS) company, one of the main operational duties [will be] to support sales and help close deals," Poon told CFO Dive. Other key operational duties include "providing KPIs, business insights and analyses so we can continue to improve our operational performance.”
Eightfold.ai, which calls itself the “Talent Intelligence Platform,” uses AI to let companies identify promising candidates, reach diversity hiring goals, retain top performers and engage talent. Poon is joining the company after it opened two international offices and hit a $55 million funding goal.
Poon told CFO Dive she expects her experience in "financial and strategic planning, building out the finance infrastructure of a growing company, and taking companies to the public markets" to be especially valuable.
Poon began her career as a consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers. She became an associate for banks at Houlihan Lokey and JPMorgan before moving into executive finance. She has seen finance executives at tech startups assume broader responsibilities over the years, she said.
"In previous years, these roles tended to focus mainly on the controllership areas," Poon said. "Now, startups are looking for financial leadership with experience in strategic and financial planning and building out better analytics."
Poon also fits a larger evolving demographic — finance chiefs who begin their careers as consultants or MBAs (a degree she earned from the University of California, Berkeley) rather than coming from a traditional accounting background.
Although Eightfold.ai will be the first AI company for which Poon has worked, her role will be “functionally similar” to her prior CFO roles, with slight differences in business model and target clients, she said.