I have served as an executive at three very different companies: Mercury Interactive, HolonTech and AlterG.
I jumped the fence between law and business in the early 90s, becoming the CFO (and later, the VP of Business Development) of Mercury Interactive. I had been the corporate lawyer for Mercury since before it was a company (I incorporated the company myself). We went public in 1993 and grew like a weed. Aryeh Finegold, our CEO, loved to say “We had a tiger by the tail” – meaning that the biggest part of our job was to just keep our wits about us so we could hang on and keep the momentum going. Long after I was gone, in 2006, HP purchased Mercury Interactive for a whopping $4.7 billion.
In 1996, I left Mercury and founded a company called HolonTech with a team of engineers that had formerly worked at NEC. HolonTech pioneered the concept of clusters of web servers – part of basic architecture today for the internet. HolonTech’s technology was purchased by Lucent in 2000.
Long after I had shifted into being a full-time venture capital investor, one of the companies in which one of my funds had invested was AlterG. In many ways, AlterG was another “tiger by the tail” type of company – in that it was growing fast enough that its biggest risk was the lack of infrastructure and internal controls. So, I spent two years (2008 – 2010) as a part-time CFO at AlterG, putting systems in place to help it grow. When it needed a full-time CFO, I hired my replacement – who continues to work at that thriving company.