Fast-growing SaaS optimization and cloud intelligence platform Zylo is expanding its teams and operations in Indianapolis, in part, by attracting top talent from out-of-state. U.S. Navy veteran Devin Burns moved from Boulder, Colo., to join Zylo as vice president of finance. I spoke with Devin and founder & CEO Eric Christopher on the company’s growth and what lies ahead for Zylo’s newest financial executive.
Finding top talent for a growing company
When Zylo closed its $9 million raise in January, the company already had some big goals in mind. “We were getting out front and building a category,” said Eric. “We could make some investments and establish the lead in our category. We knew we were going to work with enterprise companies who had enterprise needs.”
With the need to scale operations quickly, the company set out to find the people who would take them to the next level. Since January, they’ve doubled the size of their staff and are still seeking more top talent to fill their needs. Zylo is hiring engineering talent, account managers to sell more product, and marketers to tell their story.
Zylo prospects for new hires in the usual places, but sometimes the best talent finds you first. “Devin reached out to me,” recalled Eric. “I get a lot of inbound mail, but he reached out with a thoughtful note and lots of confidence.” After reviewing the note, Eric took this intriguing prospect to his team to decide what to do next.
Waiting on the other end in Boulder was Devin Burns. Devin’s career had been steeped in corporate finance, including work in the United States Navy as an officer on a submarine, the outdoors industry and tech startups. The progressiveness of tech and the rapid career opportunities therein proved especially appealing.
His move into tech three years ago exposed him to the complexities of finance in a fast-moving startup, though much of what he saw didn’t surprise him. “Finance is finance in general across the board,” Devin said. “Although there are some things specific to tech, you can learn those in four to six months.” He jumped into the tech scene in Boulder, too, familiarizing himself with Colorado-based organizations like Techstars and Foundry Group–a name you might recognize from recent news about Zylo’s holding company, High Alpha.
After helping his previous employer complete its acquisition process, Devin started looking for new opportunities. Although his Indianapolis professional network is still in its infancy, he has family who live in the area, which tugged him toward the Indy market and Zylo. “I came across the job and then contacted Eric,” he said. “The process here was good, and I got to meet a lot of the team before I started. The team is why I joined Zylo. It’s a team where anything good can happen.”
Eric and his team were equally impressed by what Devin had to offer. “We didn’t have many common connections in our networks, but I was intrigued that his background had some interesting attributes that were different,” said Eric. Along with Devin’s military-inspired discipline and hard-work ethic came other noteworthy attributes. “He was raising a young family, getting a Duke MBA, and working for high-growth tech companies–there was definitely something special about him.”
After a few more interviews, Devin moved his family to the Indy area, beginning his role as Zylo’s VP of finance this past June. He’ll take over some of the functions that were being shared with the team at High Alpha, allowing Zylo to delve deeper into its financial decision-making. “Coming in and taking over finance for a High Alpha company is great,” said Devin. “Nothing is on fire, and there are lots of systems already in place. It’s lived up to every stereotype of Midwesterns being hard workers.”
The Zylo team is bullish on Devin and are eager to get him integrated. “Devin as a fit to our team is great,” said Eric. “He adds to the balance of having a like-minded person who can also bring a different viewpoint to the work. We’re really thrilled to bring someone outside of Indy, especially at an executive level, to the city.”
What’s next for Devin and Zylo?
As the company projects big growth plans, Eric already recognizes the immense value a finance VP will bring.
Devin shares this passion for strategic data-driven decision making and building and maintaining systems of finance and accounting. He also sees himself getting involved in more of Zylo’s operations and in the Indy tech scene, too. “I’d like to be involved in some of the sales,” he said. “Our customers are typically the finance leaders in the organization, much like my role. I do also want to be pretty involved in the startup scene, with High Alpha and so many other things going on.”
Even though Devin is only a few weeks into the job, Eric believes that he’s poised to help Zylo accomplish its year-end goals. “Over the next 6 months, we’ll be looking at sales growth,” Eric said. “We plan to more than double the sales team and add an enterprise team. We’ve hired folks in Indy and other markets around the country, as our customers are all over.” Eric also foresees even more opportunity to grow Indy’s presence and create the networks needed to attract top talent. “We are a world-class tech community, but the stakes are only going to get higher. To stay on the stage, we’re going to need a global network to attract investors, bring in the leaders, and be a good tech citizen.”