Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Twilio Taps Say Media Vet Kirkpatrick as CFO

Something is going on at the telephony software start-up Twilio, and I guess the word to use is “growth.”

Barely two weeks after hiring former Jive exec Lynda Smith as its chief marketing officer, today it will announce that it has a new CFO. It’s Lee Kirkpatrick, and he’s leaving Say Media, where he had the same title. He started his new job on May 7.

Twilio is growing so fast that it’s a little hard to keep track of all the news coming out of it. In his new role, Kirkpatrick will be responsible for Twilio’s finances and worldwide strategy. The company recently added Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden to the steadily growing stable of countries where it is operating. It also recently struck a deal with Microsoft to add telephony features to its Azure cloud computing platform, so, yeah, maybe now might be the time to add a CFO.

What’s Job One? Well, here’s a funny tradition at Twilio: Every employee, no matter their level or level of technical ability, is required to build a Twilio application in order to become familiar with how the service works. So, part of this week will be devoted to that. Companies like eBay unit StubHub, Salesforce.com and Airbnb have used it to create some custom apps that include the use of a phone.

It’s a very Twilio sort of thing to do. When the company was in the process of raising its most recent funding round — a $17 million series C led by Bessemer Venture Partners and Union Square Ventures — Bessemer partner Byron Deeter created a Twilio-connected number and asked CEO Jeff Lawson to call it. As VentureBeat reported at the time, when Lawson called, he heard an automated voice message asking him to press 1 for $5 million, press 2 for $10 million and press 3 for $15 million.

It turned out that C round topped out at $17 million late last year, bringing its total capital raised to about $34 million, so there’s a decent-sized pile of money to look after. Before Say Media, Kirkpatrick held executive jobs at Ofoto, the Kodak Gallery and Reuters.


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