Meet FYC Labs CFO – Graham Peck Graham Peck, FYC Labs Chief Financial Officer, is a technology investor and operator. He has Co-Founded or is a partner in multiple companies in the marketing, recruiting, software development, and cybersecurity industries. In addition, Graham works as a Venture Partner with Cultivation Capital since 2019. He has helped to shape his family office’s investment committee since its inception over a decade ago. In doing this he has reviewed thousands of potential investments in the Angel/Venture Capital space including funds as well as the Real Estate sector. Graham volunteers his time to teach the principles of government at a summer youth program sponsored by the American Legion called Illinois Premier Boys State. Graham and his wife Mariia reside in Chicago and enjoy spending time outdoors and traveling. Tell us a little bit more about your story with FYC. How did you meet the CEO & CTO Justin Fortier and how did you guys decide to be partners? Justin and I met through a mutual friend. I expressed my interest in acquiring or investing in a custom technology development company, similar to FYC, and my friend mentioned that Justin was considering selling his company. This perfectly aligned with my interests. Justin was involved with a few startups that eventually became clients of FYC. He visited me in Chicago and during his visit, we worked together and also had a great time, solidifying our partnership. After our first meeting, we worked on finalizing the transaction details. The process took about seven months, slightly delayed by the pandemic. I wanted to evaluate the pandemic’s impact before investing, and fortunately, it turned out to benefit FYC, leading to substantial growth. Did you always aspire to have a career as CFO, or did it happen unexpectedly? I have always liked technology and understood that it would play a significant role in my career. Additionally, I’ve always had a natural affinity for numbers, although I didn’t necessarily assume it would be a constant factor. It doesn’t come as a surprise to me that my career has unfolded in the way it has. I have always envisioned myself as either an entrepreneur or a partner in a business, and I currently fulfill both roles. Technology has been an integral part of every company I’ve been involved with as a partner in different ways. While my family’s business is highly technical from an engineering standpoint rather than software-related, it still involves advanced technical knowledge. I expected technology to be a substantial component, if not the predominant aspect, of my career, and it has proven to be true. As for finance, I didn’t always anticipate it being part of the equation, but considering my natural preference towards numbers, it’s not surprising that it has become a significant element. Being a partner responsible for overseeing the financial operations of a technology company perfectly merges these three aspects that have always been prominent in my mind. What do you consider a measure of success for a small business? It depends on what your definition of success is. Some small businesses dream of not being small businesses anymore. Some small businesses, depending upon the owner or partner’s desire, may be just trying to stay small for a long time. Do you want to grow your company? Or you want to grow your profits? Do you want to have a better work life balance? Some companies’ goal may be to shrink, if the owner doesn’t want to work as hard. Most of the time you’d probably sell your company or hire a general manager, CFO or CEO, to outsource that work and then take more time off, if that’s your life goal. Generally, it’s what the ownership and executive team want out of the business and then- are you headed in that direction? What makes us successful at FYC, is the growth of our company in the past two and a half years. We provide meaningful jobs to more people now and that’s important to us. We want to keep growing and moving forward. Obviously, our partners want also our growth to be profitable. This year we took on a lot more projects where we’re joining a team basically as the co-founders. We have joined a few companies as co-founders and we’re providing technical support and resources through the FYC team. It’s really cool to see all of that actually transforming into reality, to see that happen. I see that as a sign of success, because we identified early on that we wanted to do it. Our recipe for success is growth. Profitability is always a struggle. But profitable growth, providing more meaningful jobs to our employees, contractors, and team members, being able to do work in exchange for equity or co-founding, to seat at the table for multiple different other client projects- that I see as a sign of success, because it was on our roadmap or goals to do that. Looking back on your journey as a CFO, what is the one business tip or piece of advice you wish you had received before taking on the role? There are a lot of things that I wish I knew. It’s kind of a “be careful what you wish for” to some extent. But I wish I had a little deeper understanding of how important paying attention to constant cash flow and collection was before I became a CFO. Still to this day, although I know more than I’ve ever known before, I wish I knew a little bit more about or thought a little bit more about tax-optimized business structures. What sets FYC apart from other web development shops? We have a fantastic team all throughout the company. Our dedicated employees excel at responding to our clients’ needs. Starting from our leadership down, we’ve always prioritized client delivery. Our team does an exceptional job of being empathetic and thoroughly understanding our clients’ needs. This empathetic view and approach are instrumental in delivering what our clients are looking for. Can you give us some insights about the phrase “This was the best week of my life” written on your hands? As part of the “Dear World” project, I had my picture taken at an after-party for Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal in November 2016. The project involves writing a word or phrase on your body to encourage conversations. My picture captures the incredible experience of my first international trip. In September 2016, I took my first international trip to Kazan, Russia with a layover in Helsinki, Finland. The purpose of the trip was to conduct due diligence on a US company that had an office in Kazan, as a potential acquisition. Although the deal ultimately didn’t go through, I had the opportunity to meet some amazing people. Until today, I still keep in touch with them. This trip sparked my love for international travel, which has only continued to grow since then. Connect with Graham on LinkedIn! Meet FYC Labs Founder and CEO/CTO Justin Fortier! Meet FYC Labs Chief Operations Officer Phillip Lorenzo!