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Insights About the Role
Soothe is no longer a scrappy startup. And although it is the clear category leader, it is definitely not yet a proven winner. The Riverside Company (Riverside) has seen to it that the new CEO has a fully-funded plan and the resources required to go all the way.
The company is coming out of a pivotal 2018 where the leadership team was reconstituted under the guidance of private equity owner. Riverside leveled-up the team, bringing onboard key functional heads of Marketing, Sales and Business Development. The company honed its unit economics and operational metrics while optimizing its customer acquisition costs and developing its B2B and channel partnership strategy. As part of optimizing around a sustainable model, Soothe completed the transition of most of its employee population to its Las Vegas office, shedding its costly LA office lease in favor of its new WeWork space. The final piece of Soothe’s transformation is securing the executive leader who will build a culture and environment of accountability, achieve sustainable growth and enhanced profitability while getting Soothe to scale and a successful exit in a reasonable horizon.
In recent years, consumer on-demand services, two-sided marketplaces and high growth digital commerce businesses have soared – and then stumbled – in both public and private markets, proving there is no set formula for sustained success. The selected CEO will bring all that s/he has learned and apply it to Soothe’s:
- Revenue Growth: Data-Driven customer acquisition, retention and CAC to LTV optimization on the consumer side; demand generation, business and corporate development, converting opportunities into partnerships and revenue channels in B2B
- Product Strategy: potentially adding spa services (mani, pedi, facial, etc.) while tweaking the subscription, corporate and channel service offerings
- Go to Market strategy, revenue mix and yield optimization across DTC, B2B Corporate and B2B2C via channel partners
- Customer Journey: from recruiting and retaining the highest quality therapists–when and where needed to subtle touches in the call center scripts
- International expansion: Nailing the timing and playbook and creativity to seize the market opportunities globally
- Brand Promise: nail the narrative and mythology that delights all sides of the marketplace
- Discipline: Structured and measured fiscal and financial rigor; working closely with Riverside to invest in the right initiatives and drive yield
- Operational Excellence from end to end
Soothe is seeking a credible leader, strategic thinker and successful operator and builder who still has the heart and soul of a startup runner. Ideally, the selected CEO will also have had the opportunity to work with a PE or parent company where the resources, rigor and governance can be leveraged as fuel to achieve escape velocity.
The CEO will inherit a high-performance team of proven functional leads. Team members, right down to the receptionist, are high functioning and morale has never been better. The company’s metrics are all trending positive. You are ready to seize a rare opportunity to work in a fast-growing company, with great people, and to influence that growth with an eye toward a very significant exit.
Principal Charter for the Soothe CEO
- LEAD! Above all, what the team, the board and the market are all looking for will absolutely require leadership and ownership. Riverside’s transformation of Soothe’s operations, business and go to market models are complete, the CEO will take point and lead from the front.
- ASSESS: Swiftly analyze the historical and current metrics of the business. Talk to as many users, therapists, competitors, influencers and employees as possible to inform a similar assessment of Soothe’s product offering and platform in the market. Then get down into the trenches with the company’s functional leaders to determine where the team needs to be shored up to deliver the performance it will take to win.
- PLAN: Set a plan and a vision for Soothe’s path to both profitability as well as liquidity. Envision and build the playbook that will enable ramping the supply and demand sides of Soothe’s marketplace in the territories and across the channels required to scale.
- MANAGE: Get buy-in from the board and then work with the leadership team to execute the playbook in a data-centric, real-time tested and checked operational flow, thereby managing the expectations of all parties, including the board, team, customers, therapists and market.
- EVANGELIZE: Amplify the brand, rally the team and energize the market and the ecosystem with Soothe’s narrative, ethos and mythology.
- OPTIMIZE: Constantly test, iterate and turn the dials to keep the mixture just rich enough to keep the momentum at its peak and performance just ahead of the stretch goals!
Core Competencies (the Must-Haves)
- Leadership. Soothe needs more than operational savvy, it needs a person who can lead with the vision of knowing where the company needs to go and determine how best to get there. A great leader is a great recruiter and team builder and will bring a track record of building high performance teams.
- Documented reputation as a World-class Operator who has run a disciplined P&L in the past, ideally for Private Equity ownership or similarly rigorous board or parent company. Soothe’s is a sophisticated, multi-sided marketplace model where analytical and financial chops are required to get the company to scale.
- Credible B2C executive with brings relevant technology/digital experience and success who has mastered Consumer Digital the metrics and levers. Enterprise is important, but Soothe needs a proven player in consumer—ideally in a digitally native, on-demand or two-sided marketplace.
- Strategic. More than just operational, technical and a multi-function leader, the selected candidate will have tackled and solved complex problems, driven high-stakes decisions around critical aspects of a business like product roadmap, pricing and international expansion.
- Out of growth stage companies and been part of scale and success! Soothe is a mid eight-figure top line business looking to scale well into nine-figures and beyond. The selected CEO must therefore have been where Soothe is going rather than where it’s been.
- Data-driven and tech savvy! CAC, churn, LTV, acquisition, conversion, retention and the like are the vocabulary of all stakeholders at Soothe and mastery of the quant-driven business of digital is required.
- Startup AND corporate. The selected CEO will have benefitted from training in the forge of the best run companies but also done a tour or tours of duty in scrappy, resourceful, “failure is not an option” startup(s) as well.
- Marketplace Experience. Beyond consumer web/mobile, experience with an on-demand service in a multi-sided marketplace. Knowledge of and experience with yield, scale and algorithmic leverage would be amazing!
- Came up through Business Development or has the proven, market-facing sales and evangelical experience required to cut deals, build and expand channels and grow the business in a very personal way. Brought together opposing sides on critical issues toward winning deals and thriving commerce.
- Product-minded. Ideally, the CEO has come up through the product management ranks at some point in their career, but at the very least, has owned or heavily influenced the roadmap of a digitally delivered product or service.
- Exited. Returned capital to investors (and ideally all shareholders) in a sale or public offering. Has built a reputation and relationships with buyers, bankers, brokers and influencers that can remove friction on the road to liquidity.
- Managed a PE board. Much of Soothe’s world is venture-backed companies and so the entrepreneurs and executives that have run them do not often bring experience with PE. This would be extremely valuable.
- Gravitas, Credibility & Business Maturity: Soothe is in a highly personal service business and at all levels, trust and safety are two of the most important brand promises. The CEO will bring a reputation and career through line that exude the highest standards of integrity, honesty and judgment.
- Leader and Motivator: Who is results vs. relationship driven; a builder of high-performance teams and companies delivering high-performance results.
- Smart & Insightful: High intellectual bandwidth and a proven “quick study”, but also street smart with the gut to make the tough calls that don’t always flow from the data.
- Disciplined, yet Entrepreneurial: Flexible and resourceful, with a figure-it-out-and-get-it-done mentality but also enjoys developing and instilling process but will question the status quo.
- Decisive and driven to succeed; able to drive critical-path decisions, prioritize and resource projects and programs that will ensure success; unquestioned work ethic.
- Excellent Communicator: A polished presence, self-confident and a gifted listener; a great storyteller able to convince and motivate other and inspire teams.
- Data-Driven and adept at collecting and leveraging data to make better decisions and extract insights to improve operations, unit economics and user.