Featured Startup Pitch: Proformative—an online social forum specifically for business leaders

By Editor November 22, 2011

Proformative_logoCompany: Proformative
Website: www.proformative.com
Founder: John Kogan
Headquarters:  San Jose, California
Year Founded:  2009
Twitter: @proformative
Brief Company Description: Proformative connects the world’s corporate finance leaders to provide instant advice and insights on the tough financial and strategic challenges they face every day.


John_Kogan-ProformativeBy John Kogan, co-founder and CEO

Product Overview

Proformative connects the world’s corporate finance leaders to provide instant advice and insights on the tough financial and strategic challenges they face every day. Proformative is the first professional social network specifically designed to help corporate finance professionals be successful in their jobs and careers. Proformative is used by more than 40,000 CFOs and has more than 400,000 corporate finance and business professionals, 80 percent of whom hold titles of Director, Vice President and above, in its fast growing network. Proformative members represent companies of all sizes—including the majority of Fortune 500 companies.

Launched in 2009, Proformative is the only social network for corporate finance professionals that provides real-time access to tens of thousands of senior financial experts. Corporate finance executives from companies like Citibank, Coca-Cola, Apple and General Electric Co. use the Proformative network for daily advice, counsel, news and information. Our products include Proformative’s extensive and dynamic peer network of 400,000 senior finance executives; Ask the Experts Q&A; News and Bloggers; Career Center; Expert Webinars; Network Newsletters and more.

Recently, we launched a product called Proformative Business Reviews. This new rating system gives corporate executives a trustworthy resource to get unbiased peer ratings and reviews on more than 80,000 corporate service providers. Proformative Business Reviews debuts with ratings and reviews on corporate service providers in tax, audit, corporate law, facilities, banking, insurance, technology, HR, logistics and other business areas. Social ratings have dramatically transformed purchasing behavior in the consumer market. However, senior business executives, who control over $3 trillion annually in the U.S. alone, have been without any such resource to help them make their major purchases, which are frequently in the five, six, and even seven-figure range, until now.

Founder’s Story 

I have served at all levels at of finance and accounting for over two decades, including as a VP of Finance at Cardinal Health and CFO at four Silicon Valley technology companies. Whether it was a large public company or a small private startup I noticed a common thread: no centralized, real-time, easy-to-use resource existed for finance, accounting and treasury professionals to network, find help and get answers. I posed this problem to one of my board members at the time, a partner at one of the world’s largest VC firms. He agreed to support my creation of a private online forum for all of the venture company’s CFOs. The response from those CFOs was overwhelmingly positive. Questions ranged from advice on accounting issues, to suggestions for service providers, to typical terms and conditions for debt and equity deals. This real-world experience was the genesis of Proformative.

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

Our marketing to date has been largely of the viral variety. We created a highly useful, noise-free resource for CFOs and related professionals and they have carried us to their friends and professional colleagues via word of mouth. We have built on that by offering high profile events with world-class partners, significant SEO work and PR.

How We Differentiate from the Competition

Our closest perceived competition is a news site for finance professionals. We differentiate by not being a news site, but rather a community-based resource for our users. Instead of our core content being written by journalists, our core content comes from our user’s peers in the form of questions, answers, and myriad other resources.

Business Model

Our audience controls more discretionary spending than any other enterprise function—more than $3 trillion per year in the U.S. alone. These influential buyers are highly attractive to a broad swath of industries ranging from banking to technology, insurance, accounting and many more. Our model is to attract this unique demographic to our site frequently and to become a conduit to them for the businesses who want to reach them.

Current Needs

Brilliant and effective product and marketing professionals. Recommend us to a friend in finance or accounting.

Proformative – www.proformative.com