Mostly metrics
Run the Numbers
E17: Theory Ventures’ Tomasz Tunguz on What It Takes to Be a Great CFO

E17: Theory Ventures’ Tomasz Tunguz on What It Takes to Be a Great CFO

On this episode on Run the Numbers CJ and Erik Torenberg welcome Tomasz Tunguz from Theory Ventures for an in-depth conversation about building businesses, how CFOs can evolve with realtime needs of venture-backed companies, and an investor’s lens on what makes a great CFO. If you’re looking for an ERP platform, check out our sponsor, NetSuite:

Tom Tunguz is the founder of Theory Ventures. Prior to that he was a GP at Redpoint for 14 years, and worked at Google prior to that. He is the author of long-running business newsletter found at



NetSuite provides financial software for all your business needs. More than thirty-six thousand companies have already upgraded to NetSuite, gaining visibility and control over their financials, inventory, HR, eCommerce, and more. If you're looking for an ERP platform ✅ NetSuite: and defer payments of a FULL NetSuite implementation for six months.

Tropic is the next-generation Procurement Platform that’s helping modern CFOs take control of their budgets and bottom line. By combining approval workflows, supplier management, and pricing benchmarks all in one place, Tropic makes savings opportunities easy to find and act on. 🌴 Visit to learn how. 

Planful empowers teams just like yours to drive peak financial performance in every corner of your business. Think purpose-built applications for every department, from FP&A to accounting, marketing to HR, all with built-in financial intelligence. ✍️ Go to to see how you can tackle unwanted surprises in real-time.


To go deeper in all things Venture, check out Turpentine VC on audio ( or YouTube (


@ttunguz (Tom)

@cjgustafson222 (CJ)

@eriktorenberg (Erik)

@TurpentineMedia (Turpentine)


Tom’s blog: 

Mostly Metrics:

Theory Ventures:

Tom’s interview on HR Heretics: 


(00:00) Intro and CJ’s personal news

(01:00) Tom Tunguz intro

(03:50) Tom’s idea maze in getting Theory Ventures off the ground

(05:40) What differentiates Theory from other VCs?

(07:29) On bringing in someone more experienced to replace or level up a founder

(09:10) Patterns that show a need to bring in a seasoned operator

(11:28) What it takes for a founder to make it all the way through IPO

(13:19) How long should company runway be?

(15:05) Sponsors: NetSuite | Tropic

(17:32) Counseling portfolio companies in hiring VPF or CFO

(18:47) A good CFO vs a great CFO

(24:13) Why now is a good time for young, ambitious people to step up and take a bigger role within their organization

(26:02) Sponsor: Planful

(27:08) The future of Theory Ventures

Mostly metrics
Run the Numbers
Run the Numbers is a twice-weekly podcast about financial metrics and business models, designed for ambitious people operating tech startups. It's a collection of things host CJ Gustafson (CFO at Partstech and writer of Mostly Metrics) has learned and thought about in the trenches as a tech CFO.
This show is meant to serve as a playbook of sorts for the stuff CJ wishes he knew earlier in his career, both from experience and from copying people smarter than himself.
Topics frequently touch upon Startup SaaS Metrics, Annual Budgeting, Financial Forecasting, Headcount, Equity, Dilution, and Fundraising – and how all of these drive business performance and growth.