Tristan McKinney envisions a future for Sofi Exploration that encompasses relentless growth and adaptability.
As MarTech startups continue to rise, the role of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) has become increasingly crucial in ensuring the financial health and growth of these companies. CFOs are responsible for managing the financial strategy and operations of the company, including financial planning, fundraising, budgeting, and risk management. They must also have a strong understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities that arise in the MarTech industry, such as the rapidly changing technological landscape and the need to balance innovation with profitability.
One CFO who has excelled in this role is Yeliz Kalafat, who serves as the CFO of Insider, a leading marketing technology company. Kalafat has been instrumental in driving Insider’s growth, having secured over $200 million in funding and overseeing the financial strategy of the company’s global expansion. She has also implemented innovative financial technologies and processes, such as real-time financial reporting and forecasting, to optimize the company’s financial performance.
Kalafat’s success as a CFO in the MarTech industry highlights the importance of having a strong financial leader in these companies. With the right skills and expertise, CFOs can help MarTech startups navigate the unique challenges of the industry and achieve sustainable growth.
Journey at Insider
Insider, a global MarTech startup, has experienced tremendous growth since its inception 10 years ago. The company has expanded to 28 countries across Europe, APAC, and the Americas, with offices in major cities such as London, Singapore, Dubai, New York, and Istanbul. Insider has become a leading provider of MarTech solutions to over 1000 brands across different industries, including e-commerce, online travel, retail, finance, automotive, and more. Some of Insider’s notable clients include Decathlon, Marks Spencer, Singapore Airlines, Estee Lauder, Samsung, and Apple.
One individual who has played a significant role in Insider’s success is Yeliz Kalafat, the company’s CFO. Under her leadership, Insider achieved an extraordinary milestone in March 2021 by becoming the first B2B Saas Unicorn in Turkey, the second in APAC, and the ninth in the world. Kalafat’s efforts to ensure the company’s healthy financial statements led to the successful completion of a fundraising round of over $120 million, led by Qatar Investment Authority. This funding has allowed the company to continue growing and expanding, even amidst global economic struggles, at a rate of more than 50%.
Insider’s main source of revenue is the software it produces and sells, with the company offering more than eight billable products. The company has achieved a balanced revenue distribution, generating 40% of its revenue from APAC, 40% from EMEA, and 20% from the Americas.
Since its startup days, Insider has experienced impressive revenue growth, with an increase of over 150% in recent years. After reaching Unicorn status, the company has continued to expand at an impressive rate, with a growth rate of more than 50% over the past two years, despite the challenging macroeconomic environment. Yeliz Kalafat’s leadership in financial management has been instrumental in driving the company’s growth and success, as Insider continues to establish itself as a leading player in the MarTech industry.
And when we asked Ms. Kalafat about the pricing strategy implemented by her at Insider, she shared – “The company’s pricing strategy is based on monthly active users of the products by the customers. Since the company operates in 28 different countries and more than 12 verticals, the pricing strategy is changing from region to region and vertical to vertical”. She added – “It is a quite complex pricing model which creates more revenue for the company when the customer’s active usage increases”.
Maximizing Value, Minimising Risk
As a technology innovator, Insider invests heavily in research and development to continue building its technology. Yeliz Kalafat, oversees the company’s financial strategy and ensures that every penny is allocated towards developing new technology. The company’s R&D team is a crucial aspect of its operations, and innovation is a key driver of the business. Insider has demonstrated its agility by adapting quickly to changing conditions, unlike its competitors who laid off employees around the world. The company manages its costs by decreasing the hiring phase, cutting general admin expenses, consolidating expenses across countries, and building a 3-year model to create a short and long-term strategy.
Insider values compliance at every stage of its operations, particularly when it comes to data, which is at the core of its business. The company has implemented many policies and procedures to ensure compliance in the regions where it operates, and it has obtained relevant certifications, which are displayed on its website. As part of its meticulous approach to partnerships, Insider works with world-renowned servers and suppliers, including AWS.
At the start of 2023, Insider made a significant move by acquiring MindBehind, a Conversational Commerce and Messaging platform. Here – Yeliz Kalafat played a critical role in this strategic acquisition, which will accelerate the development of conversational solutions rooted in MindBehind’s world-class technology. Insider’s acquisition also made it one of the official WhatsApp Business Solution Providers (BSP), and the company, together with Meta’s product teams, is eager to develop the next generation of WhatsApp Business solutions. With this move, Insider aims to transform the dialogue between brands and consumers.
Lastly, when Ms. Kalafat was asked the question of what she looks forward to achieving in the years to come, she shared – “Company’s highest goal is to be listed on Nasdaq/NYSE and we are doing what it takes to achieve this goal”. She continued – “After being settled in APAC and Europe, the company kicked off its business in the Americas 1 year ago. We had phenomenal growth in LATAM and our strategy is to do the same in the USA”.
Beyond her Professional Avatar
Yeliz Kalafat’s personal motto is to work hard and play hard, as evidenced by her love for both physical and mental wellness. She is deeply interested in well-being and psychology and enjoys practicing pilates and kite surfing, as well as cooking and traveling. She values the importance of mentoring younger generations, especially women. Her educational background includes a degree in Economics from Istanbul University, and she has completed several business analysis and finance programs at the London School of Economics. Yeliz Kalafat was recognized as one of the top 50 CFOs in Turkey in 2023 and selected as one of the top 50 women for Women on Board Turkey.
Chief Financial Officer
Insider, a global MarTech startup, has experienced tremendous growth since its inception 10 years ago. The company has expanded to 28 countries across Europe, APAC, and the Americas, with offices in major cities such as London, Singapore, Dubai, New York, and Istanbul. Insider has become a leading provider of MarTech solutions to over 1000 brands across different industries.
View more profiles
Dr. Eric Leire, the CEO of Genflow Biosciences, is one such leader. He dedicates himself to the development of novel gene-based therapeutics targeting the aging process in dogs and humans.
Delmar Assis, who as the CEO of DRZ Corporation is converting regular companies to well-performing data-driven companies. Since its inception - DRZ has made a commitment to transform data....
Edwin Elias is the current Chief Executive Officer of Morupule Coal Mine (MCM) - Botswana, which has a rich history of over 40+ years. The mine currently runs both the underground and opencast operations...
The Entrepreneur's Source (TES) has been the sole Career Ownership Coaching organization for more than 38 years, offering education, awareness, and discovery to countless individuals in...
Martha Shwartz is a founding partner of Martha Shwartz Partners (MSP), a leading international design practice whose work focuses on regenerating, activating and beautifying natural sites and urban centers.
As the current Vice President and an Executive Board Member of UDN Group, Ms. Cynthia Huang has earned a name for herself as a manager who is more of a friend and a guide to all her colleagues and subordinates.
As the CEO of a non-profit charitable organization called The Open Doors, which for 25 years has been working relentlessly towards helping those individuals and families who find themselves vulnerable in situations,
Ms. Isabel is a strongly passionate individual who leads by example striving to make an impact on teams, business performance and ultimately and most importantly, she says, for patients.
As the CEO of Horizon Empowers, Gretchen Villegas works relentlessly to identify and cater to the unique needs of each individual child within their care, guiding them through the rescue-restore-empower framework.
The CEO and the Founding-Partner of Olympus Marketing, it was always Diana Muniz-Lebrun’s passion to create something that she is really interested in, and in this very pursuit Olympus Marketing was started.
Denise Schuster is a prominent figure in the logistics industry, known for her exceptional leadership and expertise in the field. Schuster has made significant contributions to the industry.
As the Co-Founder & CEO of PitchSee, Nataša Đuričić displays tremendous vigor, passion and support, helping several businesses grow in their own space, and prove their mettle of innovating and outperforming.
When her theater school colleagues told Margaret Keymetian Ng to ‘break a leg’, little did she know that one day she would literally do so and that her fortunes would change for the better.