As the former CFO of Edmunds.com and founding CFO of Durham-based. start-up Pinpoint.com, which later grew into Motricity (NASDAQ:MOTR), Farrell brings more than 15 years of CFO experience to BUYSTAND. While leading Edmunds’ financial operations, Farrell guided the company’s growth from $7 million in revenue with 59 employees to $150 in revenue with over 400 employees. For his contributions to Edmunds’ success, Farrell was named The Los Angeles Business Journal's 2008 CFO of the Year. Farrell began his financial career in investment banking, working on IPOs, public and private debt and equity offerings, LBOs and M&A assignments for over 15 years. Farrell holds a Bachelors of Arts from Duke University and a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.
“When I first met Charlie in 2011, I was struck by his entrepreneurial spirit,” BUYSTAND CEO Joe Davy commented. “Charlie has a very deep keel, but he also brings a sense of urgency to the team; finding both these traits in one person is rare. We have already experienced the benefit of his energy, perspective and experience.”
We sent a few questions Farrell's way. Here's how he responded:
CED Team: What is one lesson you learned at Edmunds or Motricity that you can/will immediately apply to BUYSTAND?
Farrell: We ferociously accumulated metrics on the Edmunds website performance and monitored them closely daily. At least once a week we had a Revenue Optimization meeting that included all the senior executives in which we reviewed metrics and brainstormed ideas to improve conversion rates. Through continuous evaluation of the purchase funnel and visitor drop off, we were able to improve designs to keep visitors longer and continually increase conversion rates.
CED Team: What's BUYSTAND doing that is different from other online merchants/retailers?
Farrell: BUYSTAND is different from virtually all other consumer goods websites in that it allows consumers to set their own price for an item as opposed to being offered only the choice to purchase at a set price or being forced to compete in an auction. This model offers a win-win for both consumers and sellers. It allows consumers to acquire goods now at a price they consider to be a good value and allows sellers to move excess inventory at the highest possible price without advertising the price. Brands aren't hurt by the significant discounts that consumers might see on typical web or retail channels. Because the proposition yields a positive outcome for both sides in the transaction, the BUYSTAND model is quickly being embraced in the marketplace.
CED Team: Any bold predictions for the company?
Farrell: With its first mover advantage and exceptional execution, BUYSTAND holds the potential to become one of the largest retail websites across a broad swath of consumer goods.
CED Team: Tell me a bit more about BUYSTAND's Executive Team.
Farrell: Joe Davy, whom I've know for almost two years, is an insightful leader who understands what drives success and pushes his team to achieve exceptional performance. He has the vision coupled with the skills to manage that are mark of a great leader. In addition, we have COO and co-founder Ted Kraus and veteran Daniel Friel who brings terrific market knowledge and deep business experience to the team, Alexey Melnichenko provided the IT fire-power at EvoApp and, upon joining BUYSTAND, revamped the entire website in record time to give it its production stability. We have a powerful combination of leadership, marketing, and IT skills that bode well for the companies success. With all those pieces in place, it was an easy decision for me to join the company.
CED Team: How do you make the "make an offer" process simple enough for your users to encourage use of the technology and website?
Farrell: We've seen already that when visitors do make an offer and subsequently have it accepted, they experience a real sense of joy at "winning." This feeling that is attendant to the process should lead to terrific word-of-mouth buzz about the company and ensure its success.
Farrell: At Edmunds I witnessed first hand how the power of a good idea matched with careful execution can power a company's growth. In BUYSTAND I see a game changing approach for consumers and retailers that yields a win-win for both groups. The exceptional team at BUYSTAND forms the foundation for an incredibly exciting and successful venture.
Founded by Ted Kraus in 2011, BUYSTAND is a buyer-driven online marketplace for active lifestyle goods that empowers consumers with make-an-offer shopping. Initially backed by 8 Rivers Capital in Durham, N.C., BUYSTAND launched in private beta in October 2012.