The Backbone — Episode 7: Going Through an Acquisition of an eCommerce Company & Keeping Both Sides of a Marketplace Happy

Elena Armstrong, Co-Founder & VP Finance at Exact Media

Welcome back to The Backbone: a journey inside finance at a startup. On this episode, I’m joined by Elena Armstrong, Co-Founder & VP Finance at Exact Media.

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


I chatted down with Elena Armstrong, Co-Founder & VP Finance at Exact Media, a company that is transforming the world of direct mail by enabling brands owned by companies like P&G, PepsiCo, Unilever and L’Oréal to distribute samples and coupons using the excess space in eCommerce parcels that are being shipped to consumers.

Elena is an accountant by training, entrepreneur by choice and a passionate operations/ finance leader. Previously, she led operations and finance at Loose Button — one of the largest beauty subscription services (Luxe Box) in North America, which was sold in 2015. She received her professional training at Ernst & Young working with the firm’s retail, distribution and manufacturing clients in Canada, Spain and Dominican Republic. While at EY, Elena also received a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) / Chartered Accountant (CA) designation, having graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce and Major in Economics degrees from the University of Toronto.


On this episode of The Backbone, I chat with Elena about:
  1. Her journey into tech and startups and from public accounting at Ernst & Young;
  2. What Exact Media is all about;
  3. What it was like to go through an acquisition;
  4. The challenges of leading finance and keeping both sides of a marketplace company happy; and
  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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Check out previous episodes of The Backbone

Episode 6: From Finance to Founding an IoT Startup & Bootstrapping vs. Raising Venture Capital w/ Sacha Sawaya, Co-Founder and CFO at Litmus Automation

Episode 5: Difference Between Being an Advisor vs Finance Leader for Tech Startups & When to Raise Capital w/ Eugene Bomba, CFO & VP Operations at ThoughtWire

Episode 4: Transitioning from Professional Services to Finance Leader of Pre-Revenue Tech Startup w/ Chris Parkes, CFO at NuraLogix

Episode 3: Why Finance & Operations go Together & Dealing with the Highly Regulated Financial Services Industry w/ Leen Li, Head of Finance at Wealthsimple

Episode 2: How Finance Scales Growing from 25 to 200+ Employees & Transfer Pricing w/ Les Cullen, Director Finance & Operations at TopHat

Episode 1: Managing Churn & Being Private Equity Backed w/ Daniel Israelsohn, VP Finance & Operations at Firmex


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