|Winner: Private Company, Small
Eric Jenny, CFO of SOCi, received the CFO of the Year award in the Small Private Company category. “It’s a very humbling experience to be recognized in this talented group of CFOs, each deserving of this award,” Jenny said. “I may be the one accepting this award but it’s not my accomplishment alone. I would like to dedicate the award to all the employees at SOCi and our customers. The dedication and hard work of our employees really made this all possible. It’s a team effort.” SOCi is a social media and reputation management platform. The business has been growing very fast. Revenue has grown some 480% in the three years Jenny has been in charge. The business has scaled from 40 to 150 employees. Jenny has been able to achieve this growth while maintaining a capital efficiency ratio of 0.78. In other words, for every $1 raised in equity, SOCi has delivered 78 cents in recurring revenue to its shareholders. This excludes the Series C financing which closed the last week of December.
Jenny played an integral part in closing the company’s Series B and Series C equity financing rounds for $10.5 million and $15 million, in 2018 and 2019, respectively. A two-time Inc. 500 honoree, SOCi is the leading social media and reputation management platform built to address the complex workflow needs of highly visible multi-location businesses. An award-winning leader in the industry, SOCi has pioneered more than a dozen unique marketing tools to help multi-location brands oversee, maintain and protect their brand at the national level, while simultaneously scaling presence across hundreds, sometimes thousands, of local pages. When Jenny joined SOCi, the first thing he did was evaluate the company’s systems, the data that was collected and analyzed, and the processes that were in place, or lack thereof, across the entire organization. Recognizing the need for a complete reconstruction, he overhauled the entire IT infrastructure of the company, implementing numerous systems that dramatically improved sales efforts, marketing efforts, customer and employee retention rates and data analytics. These new systems also drastically increased productivity and helped a five-person team essentially produce the same amount of work as a 10-person team.
The focus isn’t only on technology. Jenny works to create a positive work environment, always looking for ways to improve company morale. He knows the value of a strong tone at the top. It is crucial for anyone in a management position to understand how influential their attitude and behavior is to the rest of the organization, as it has a trickle-down effect. If all levels of management strive to maintain an ethical, honest climate, they will inevitably lead by example and employees will feel included to practice those same values.
In addition to the above, during his time at SOCi, Jenny has rolled out an unlimited PTO policy, 401(k) plan, and career path progression plans for each department. Through his implementation of the unlimited PTO policy, his goals were to empower the staff and demonstrative the company’s trust in each of them and this has proven to be a very successful change within the company. As a longtime resident of downtown San Diego, Jenny has taken a special interest in helping people experiencing homelessness. As easy as it can be to walk by those less fortunate than us and turn a blind eye, he is unable to ignore the issue and has sought out ways to help out. He joined the San Diego Rescue Mission in 2016 as a Home Team Member. He was especially attracted to this organization because it was more than providing temporary food and shelter.