Les Cullen, Director Finance & Operations at TopHat

Shubham Datta
Feb 22, 2017 · 2 min read

Welcome back to the The Backbone: a journey inside finance at a startup. We’re back this week chatting this week with Les Cullen, Director Finance & Operations at TopHat.

For more background on the launch of this podcast, check out Introducing The Backbone!


Fresh off raising $22.5M in funding led by Union Square Ventures which values TopHat at $185M, I sat down with Les Cullen, Director of Finance and Operations of the company.

Les Cullen, Director of Finance and Operations — TopHat

As Director of Finance & Operations of Top Hat, Les leads the company’s accounting, compliance, and financial planning & analysis functions. Prior to joining Top Hat, Les spent 4 years with Advanced Inc, a leading and innovative distributor of hardware in the edtech space. There he was responsible for overseeing the accounting, finance, HR, and operation functions of the entity’s various business units. Les is a CPA, CA, having started his career in assurance at PwC, and holds an Honors Bachelor of Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University.


On this episode of The Backbone, I chat with Les about:

  1. His journey to TopHat and his move to Toronto from Waterloo
  2. What Tophat does
  3. How a company’s finance function has to scale as it grows from 25 employees to over 200+
  4. Unique challenges (from a finance perspective) that Les has encountered as the company start selling its products globally, such as dealing with transfer pricing
  5. The importance of the finance function at an early stage technology company

We close things off with a quickfire round:

  • Go to online resource for all things startup finance related
  • Favourite productivity hack
  • One thing you don’t leave the office before finishing

Take a listen:


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The Backbone is a podcast hosted by Shubham Datta, that explores the journey inside finance at a startup. Each episode features a finance leader (Director/VP, Finance or CFO) that:

  • shares their story of how they entered the world of startups,
  • explains what their company does
  • describes unique challenges he/she faces in their role
  • shares expertise relating to specific topics on the mind of finance leaders

The Backbone

A journey inside finance at a startup

Shubham Datta

Written by

Coprorate Develpment @shopify + Host @BackbonePodcast | write about #tech, #investing, #finance, #SaaS | opinions are my own | more: www.shubhamdatta.com

The Backbone

A journey inside finance at a startup

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