New at the top: Marc Rubin has made a career of creating a financial foundation for start-ups

December 29, 2013

I suppose no one really thinks about becoming an accountant as a kid. But my dad was an accountant, and he was an inspiration. So I began heading down that track during my undergraduate studies.

In college, I landed a summer internship at London Fog. It went so well, they asked if I wanted to work part time in internal audit while continuing my education. When I graduated, they hired me full time.

I was adept at identifying deficiencies in controls. I was very detail-oriented. We audited the outlet stores, which managed a lot of cash and transactions at the cash register. I would sift through thousands of transactions looking for the one that would be irregular. Being patient and detail-oriented, I actually helped come across a fraud scheme going on at the time.

In six years, I worked my way up to become the director of internal audit in my early 20s.

But I was ready for a much larger company.


Marc Rubin is the new chief financial officer at Canvas. (Courtesy of Canvas)

I started at Black & Decker as a senior auditor and focused again on a lot of the outlet store issues but also manufacturing and marketing programs.

It was that experience that led me to do what I’m doing today.

I was picked to be on a project to re-engineer the customer service department. That involved a lot of process analysis, detailed work and putting new technologies in place to update the processes. The vendor I chose that helped us out was a small technology company in Columbia [Md.] that was called Sequoia Software.

At the time, I really had the desire to work at a small start-up where there was no job description and you could play lots of different roles. I was very impressed with this tech company’s founders and the engineers who were running the business in its early years. It was at a time when technology was revolutionizing the way business was being done. I knew this was where I wanted to be.

I was hired as employee number seven. In the time I was there, the workforce grew to 150.

That was my start of working with venture-backed start-up tech companies as their first finance person in the door.

I really like working with companies when they’re small and you can mold them. It’s a great feeling knowing that you’re putting processes in place that really build the foundation of the house.

The next start-up was a cybersecurity firm called Sourcefire. I met their founder when it was just him and three other guys working out of his house. He would work with his baby girl on his shoulder.

That’s how a $2 billion business got started.

I was employee 10, and they got up to about 80 in one year. It was exciting seeing it grow from the beginning.

Then I helped build the financial operations at Rovion, which was in the rich media advertising space. Rovion was exciting because we dealt with ever major brand in the United States. It eventually sold to Gannett.

They didn’t need a full-time chief financial officer, so I worked part time and started my consulting business in 2008.

Now at Canvas I am excited to bring value to a company that has gained a lot of traction and acceptance.

— Interview with Vanessa Small

Marc Rubin

Position: Chief financial officer at Canvas, a Reston mobile app developer for businesses.

Career highlights: Partner, ArcPoint Partners; chief financial officer, Rovion; chief financial officer, Sourcefire; chief financial officer, Sequoia Software.

Age: 50

Education: BS, accounting, University of Baltimore; MBA, marketing, University of Baltimore.

Personal: Lives in Reisterstown, Md., with wife Sandi and children, Josh and Ilyssa.

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