Name: Bob Ross
Position: CFO of Ideeli, a flash shopping site that offers limited-time sales of clothing, accessories, and other products at 30%–80% discounts
Previous Positions: Executive director of finance and worldwide corporate controller at Urban Outfitters; controller, head of risk management and private-label credit-card management at American Appliance, a regional appliance chain
Notable For: Being CFO of one of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States. Ideeli has close to 6 million members and 1,000 brand partners.
His Take-Away: Last year, Ideeli was the fastest-growing privately held company in the country. Our revenue growth rate was 40,000% over a three-year period. One of the great things about working in a high-growth environment like this, at a company that’s just starting out, is that you get involved in areas that you would never have the opportunity to in a large business. I could be talking to investors one hour and then ensuring that a customer gets a refund in the next. Or I could be deciding what colors of inventory, like tops, look good or bad in my opinion. Urban Outfitters’s brands were extremely fashion forward, and one of the skills I believe I learned there, even as a finance guy, was to develop a taste for what women want in their fashion needs and to pay attention to trends in the marketplace. You wear many hats when you’re [the CFO of] a small-market company that’s growing this fast. That’s what this is about. It’s entrepreneurial.