Modern application networking company NS1 has hired David Wilson as CFO, alongside a new global head of people and vice president of product marketing.
Wilson brings 20 years of financial leadership experience in both public and private markets. He takes the helm less than a year after NS1's $33 million series C funding round. In his new role, he will focus on putting NS1's capital to work to help it maximize returns, the release said. Over the course of his career, Wilson has raised more than $1 billion in capital and played a leadership role in M&A deals exceeding $500 million.
The hires come at a "point of strategic growth" for NS1, the company said, as demand for its modern approach to foundational infrastructure technology continues accelerating as organizations become more reliant on digital services and applications.
Prior to joining NS1, Wilson has held a number of CFO roles. He led finance at encrypted communication technology provider Symphony Communications, online video service provider Ooyala Inc., facilities-based telecom ACS, and DirecTV Broadband.
"I'm 45 days in [with NS1], and really thinking through what needs to change," Wilson told CFO Dive. "Understanding the business, its challenges, and what makes it work well. NS1 is a subscription business, like the businesses I've worked for in the past. It's about putting capital work in a smart way, and always understanding the downside.
"Subscription businesses need a very healthy set of customers to be successful," Wilson said. "With a subscription business, if your customers aren’t sticking around, it’s the equivalent of having a leaky bucket. NS1 retains so many customers; it’s best in class."
His priority at NS1 is figuring out how to take full advantage of opportunities, putting capital to work intelligently, and understanding the roadblocks towards maximized potential.
While Wilson finds it strange to lead the company's finance operation after having met only two people in person, he is "amazingly surprised" at how well he and his team have managed without face-to-face contact. "It speaks to how powerful today’s technology is," he said.
For CFOs of early-stage companies, Wilson recommends assessing COVID-19’s business impact, and whether it could end up being a net benefit.
"To the extent you’re in a situation of benefiting after COVID-19, ask capital markets to give you money," Wilson said. "Even if you don’t need the money today, it makes sense to take it, because it may allow your business to accelerate down the line."
Additionally, Wilson encourages explicit consideration of the risks your company faces, and the value of putting out mitigation plans. "Be explicit about the risks, how they’re changing, and be willing to take them on head-on," he said.
Most of Wilson's former roles have been in network and communications, which he says encompasses a large part of his work at NS1. That experience, he says, gives him "an understanding of underlying technology" that he can bring to his new workplace.