Who: Mark Calvert
Old Job: Principal, Alexander Hutton Inc.
New Job: CFO, Onvia.com Inc.
The world of finance is less about the future than it is about past results: gross margins, returns on net assets, quarterly earnings. Maybe that’s why it’s easier for investment bankers to track developments in the dotcom arena than it is for them to enter the fray. But Mark Calvert, 42, is not just a bystander. More than a year ago, he left his job at Alexander Hutton Inc. to become CFO of Onvia.com Inc., a Seattle-based, business-to-business e-marketplace for small companies. Calvert oversaw the firm’s March 2000 IPO, which raised more than $230 million.
Old skills that still matter
“Finance brings out the ‘doubting Thomas’ in people. You’ve got to be a skeptic and a challenger. In the dotcom world, every approach to a problem is a new one. I have the ability to critique and evaluate what we’re doing differently from other groups.”
“A dotcom offers a lot more change than most finance people are used to. At Onvia, we’re doing in every quarter what it takes an old-economy company a year to do.”
“Communication is key in the new economy: A successful startup must give its employees a mission that they can believe in. Information has to be free-flowing. People can absorb an amazing amount of information after just dipping their toes in this economy.”