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Centro hires new CFO, keeps eye on IPO

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 - Shawn Riegsecker
Shawn Riegsecker

Centro Inc. is taking another step down the path toward a possible IPO, hiring a veteran chief financial officer.

Michael Bruns, who was CFO at several fast-growing startups and got his start as an investment banker at Robert W. Baird & Co., joined Centro last week.

The River North-based company provides software and services to help online advertisers automate buying and placing ads. Mr. Bruns, 44, takes over the CFO job from Leo Brubaker, who was promoted to chief operating officer. It's the second significant addition to Centro's senior management team recently. Last fall, the company hired a new head of product from Microsoft Corp.

 Centro has been growing at a torrid pace. The company recently crossed the 500-employee mark, says CEO Shawn Riegsecker. Centro has hired 150 people companywide this year, about half of them in Chicago, and it has 130 open jobs.

Mr. Riegsecker has made no secret that he sees Centro as an IPO candidate.

“We were looking for someone with IPO experience who understood raising private capital, someone who understood startups and had been through exit mode,” he told me.

 - Michael Bruns
Michael Bruns

Mr. Bruns most recently was CFO of Chicago-based Codifyd Inc., a technology-services company that doubled staff while he was there. He previously was at Chicago-based ClearTrial, which made software for managing clinical trials. It grew from fewer than 10 people to 50 in three years before being acquired by Oracle Corp. in 2012.


“We recently retained a banker to sequence us over the next 18 to 24 months to ensure we continue to have super growth over the next three to five years,” Mr. Riegsecker added.


That likely includes raising another round of venture capital beyond the $22 million it landed three years ago from San Francisco-based FTV Capital.


“We've gotten to this point in one institutional round,” Mr. Riegsecker said. “In preparing ourselves to be a public company, we expect to raise another significant round of private capital later this year or early next year. After that, we can make the decision to go public or not and continue the growth either organically or through acquisition.”

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