At Squarespace, Finance & Marketing Blaze a Common Path


It hit me just as I clicked on the red phone icon that would terminate the Skype connection between me and Squarespace CFO Peter Kyviakidis: I had forgotten to ask him about the website development firm’s “How did it feel writing that check?” Super Bowl ad. (A 30-second spot cost $4.5 million this year.)

Oh, well. Thankfully, I did ask the finance leader how, as a CFO, he was driving change inside Squarespace. You can find his answer on our CFO Thought Leader podcast and it says a lot about how the role of finance is evolving inside high-growth firms.

The area that most warranted change at Squarespace, according to Kyviakidis, was how the company communicated across different teams: “We needed to be far more coordinated in terms of the approval of marketing assets and the licensing of marketing collateral that is required and how the whole purchasing cycle of marketing spent.”

Having joined the company as Squarespace’s 26th employee in September 2010, Kyviakidis has overseen the rapid expansion of a finance function that today serves a 400-employee company.

“The one thing I would have liked to have had someone tell me was not to be hesitant when it comes to growing your finance team,” he observes. “I tended to be conservative when it came to hiring, and I think in retrospect that I would have preferred somebody to have said, ‘Once you become convinced that the company is going to grow, and grow significantly over time, don’t be afraid about adding talent to the team sooner rather than later.’”

As we explored the dynamics of the high-growth firm, Squarespace’s finance leader continued to emphasize how better communication became a priority for finance and marketing.

“One of the great things about being a CFO is that you have pan-corporate view of the enterprise. You see all groups, all departments beyond the provisional silos that exist in the company, and I saw very quickly that there was a need to create better communication across certain teams — including my own finance team — and how this related to our marketing team as well as our design team,” explains Kyviakidis.

It appears that Squarespace’s marketing team is staying busy post–Super Bowl as it launches a number of follow-up ads to maximize its investment on the big game (view video above).

In fact, Squarespace reportedly expects to spend $60 million on advertising in 2015, according to Fortune magazine. Kyviakidis and his team will no doubt be keeping apace as they seek to track the ROI for the firm’s ambitious marketing spend.

Editor’s Note: You can  You can listen to the full podcast with Peter Kyviakidis here.