Today is International Women's Day and this spotlight is part of our Women’s History Month female leader series. Register for our women in entrepreneurship event here.
Maria Göthlin has had quite the rise: after 8 successful years at Spotify, she moved on 5 years ago to help grow the ‘Spotify for business’ - Stockholm-based Soundtrack your Brand.
Capchase has been instrumental (no pun intended) in helping that growth, so we sat down with Maria to chat about her role as CFO, growing as a brand, and being a woman in the C-Suite.
Tell us about your journey to CFO
I started working for Ernst & Young in their Transaction Advisory Services team. I did due diligence on many different companies and businesses, which was a great learning experience, but after a while I was ready to understand the workings of just one company and really have the ability to influence from within. Luckily, I was headhunted to Spotify. This was just before they launched in 2008, I met with the current CFO and CEO, and loved the concept of the business and what it could do.
When I started at Spotify, I was Head of the accounting department globally, and for the 8 years I was there, we grew from 30 employees to over 4,000.
When I left to work for Soundtrack Your Brand, I was the Director for External Reporting and Group Financial Reporting. I was ready to work for a smaller company and grow into the CFO role, as I knew I had developed the skills I would need from my time at Spotify.
What do you enjoy about being CFO of Soundtrack Your Brand?
I’ve loved growing with the company in the last 5 years and being involved in decisions that impacted how fast that growth has happened. There are now 12 of us on the finance team. I think what we’re offering is an incredibly exciting product, and provides so much value in the music B2B space.
What key skills help you thrive in the C-suite?
I’ve worked a lot with new people and cultures and situations, and I think the key to remember is that you learn a lot about yourself in these situations, not just the other team members. That has been the biggest area for growth for me as I’ve developed into my role.
After handling a wide variety of issues in different teams and spaces, I would say I feel confident that I can deal with any situation that arises. I’m never nervous going into a room now.
You’ve built teams at both Spotify and now Soundtrack your Brand. What advice would you give others on doing that successfully?
I would say it’s so important to really listen to different people and take into account their individual skills and personalities. If you can, it makes such a difference to shine a light on their strengths. It’s vital to me that I have a great dynamic in my team, that works for everyone and creates a great team spirit.
Whenever I have an open position, I look first to see if there’s a current team member who would be a good fit that I could lift and promote into that role. I also think it’s key to see everyone as part of one team - to be friends and not just focus on the hierarchy behind that of who reports to whom. I don’t think of who I manage, but who is part of my team. That’s how I view my people.
What challenges have you faced as a woman moving up into the C-suite?
I’ve often been the only, or one of the few, women in the room. I’m used to working with men, and so I’ve never really seen that as a specific challenge. My advice would be not to focus on your gender, but just to be yourself and do your best work. I love that there is more of a push to have as many women as men in the boardroom. But when I’m in there, I just want to be valued for my skills. See the value in yourself and focus on that.
Where is Soundtrack Your Brand heading in the next 5 years?
I’m so excited for the evolution of our business, we have such a big opportunity in front of us and I see myself as still being deep within the company in 5 years. We can change the music industry for the B2B space, and we’re just getting started. The world is in front of us, and the chance to provide something so valuable.
Soundtrack Your Brand has been growing recently. How has Capchase supported that?
I have never met such a supportive group of people as those who work with us at Capchase. We are so happy with the team and the non-dilutive financing they’ve provided us. It’s been so easy to use their growth funding — it’s really up to us to bring great numbers to the table, and then Capchase quickly turns that around and provides money in the bank.
We have been able to execute our plans for growth because of that working capital and we’ve been able to do it easily and quickly.
We’ve used VC debt in the past, and when we were looking for capital this time, we compared alternative funding like Capchase with using VC funding again. Once we saw Capchase’s terms, it really wasn’t a hard decision to make. The terms, the speed of funding, the flexibility, and the great customer service means we are incredibly satisfied with Capchase as a financing partner.
To learn more about non-dilutive financing, visit Capchase.com/Grow.