¡Hola Ola! Meet Aleksandra, our new Operating Partner
I’m thrilled to announce that Aleksandra Zorylo, better known as “Ola”¹, has been promoted to Operating Partner at Point Nine.
When Ola joined us about 18 months ago as COO, we thought we were making a slightly pre-emptive, opportunistic hire. Before joining Point Nine, after starting her career as an auditor with EY, Ola was a Senior Director of Finance at Awin (previously Zanox). In this position she was responsible for controlling, finance, accounting and tax of the international group of around 12 entities, managing a team of around 20 finance professionals in Berlin along with overseeing external service providers of international subsidiaries. One might think that it doesn’t take a person of that calibre to run finance and operations at a seed fund with around 10 employees.
Turns out we hired her not a week too early.
Until you see it with your own eyes, it’s hard to imagine how much work is happening behind the scenes of a VC fund. To give you an idea, here are a few stats. In 2017 we invested in 9 companies and participated in 35 follow-on rounds. Every single of these transactions requires a string of actions, from reviewing contracts and working with lawyers and notaries to filing documentations, updating cap tables, processing payments, and more. Including exits, ESOP increases and other types of transactions that affect cap tables, we saw a total of 106 transactions across four active funds. And that’s just one side of the business. You also have to take care of capital calls and quarterly LP reports, deal with tax filings in various jurisdictions, do bookkeeping and accounting for a number of different legal entities, continuously monitor AML compliance and file reports with various regulatory authorities (across our funds, more than 70 reports to different government agencies in 2017).
When Ola joined, she quickly took over ownership of our entire back office, and like in a startup that hires its first great, experienced VP, Pawel and I could see the magic unfold. We always had pretty smooth back office operations, but it was Ola who turned it into a well-oiled machine that is ready to handle the ever-increasing complexity and workload
Interestingly, Ola didn’t work for a fund before, but her broad skill set and vast experience, coupled with endless curiosity and brainpower, allowed her to get up-to-speed in record time, once again confirming that you have to hire for trajectory, not current status.
We can’t think of a better partner than Ola to lead finance and operations at Point Nine in the years (and maybe decades) to come and are grateful for the opportunity to work together with her.
PS: What’s cool is that while topics like financing, accounting and tax sound scary to most people, Ola is truly passionate about them. So if you ever want to geek out on topics like intra-company transfer pricing or setting up tax-efficient ESOPs in multiple countries, drop her a line!
¹ As I’ve learned, most Aleksandras in Poland are nicknamed “Ola”, just like “Asia” is a nickname for “Joanna”. Hard to understand if you don’t speak Polish, but based on the Polish pronunciation this apparently makes perfect sense! :)