Employee Spotlight Series: Chloe Grutchfield
March 8, 2021
Chloe Grutchfield joined us as SVP of Product when Sourcepoint acquired the software company she co-founded in April 2018, Redbud. Chloe brings over 10 years of adtech product expertise, maintaining leading roles at agencies, large data platforms and mobile monetization partners. Prior to founding Redbud, Chloe led product teams in adtech (Verve) and data & analytics companies (Acxiom/Liveramp, Telefonica).
What has been your favorite aspect of the role so far ?
I love the variety in the product role. You can go from very technical discussions with engineers, to discussing business goals with clients, to hearing from our sales team or privacy experts, and so on.
How did you get involved in this particular career track ?
Completely by chance! I lived in Australia for a bit where I worked at a media agency. When I moved to the UK and I was looking for a job, all the jobs that were applicable to my experience were in adtech. I eventually got a job with Acxiom where I got the chance to learn about and be involved in building new things.
What appeals to you about adtech ?
There is so much to learn and it continues to evolve so quickly! I am never disappointed with the always-changing landscape and driving much needed solutions in this space.
“Do you want to start a company?” I thought: “Why not? I have not slept for five days.”
What has been your path towards becoming a founder of a company ?
That, again, happened by chance. I was working for a company called Verve, a mobile advertising company. I loved working there and I had great colleagues, including a certain someone named Rhys Denny. When I returned from maternity leave, the European operations of the company shut down due to the impact of the (then still new) GDPR regulations. Rhys and I were both out of a job and at the time, my second child was three months old. I was very sleep deprived. Rhys came to me and asked “Do you want to start a company?” I thought: “Why not? I have not slept for five days.” It all happened because we had lost our jobs. It’s kind of ironic: we lost our jobs due to GDPR privacy regulations, and the company/product that we built afterwards served to highlight privacy vulnerabilities in Europe.
What was your inspiration for the concept of Redbud ?
Redbud began with a very simple concept: wanting to help Publishers. Publishers were frustrated because they felt that their revenues were declining, advertisers were spending more budget with the Walled Gardens and their workload kept increasing with the complexities of adtech. We wanted to work towards levelling the digital advertising playing field for them. We originally started out as a consulting service, but came to the conclusion that we could be far more effective by building proxy-type tools to resolve publisher pain points, from tracking down malware and identifying error-prone tech vendors to flagging data leakage. In the early days, we named every single feature we developed after one of our clients.
What is the best career advice you have ever received ?
Ian James, my former boss and one of the first investors in Redbud, would always tell Rhys and me to “Trust the process.” Things take time to happen: the product takes time to launch; building a client relationship takes time. There will be things that get in the way and there were A LOT of things that got in the way of RedBud in the early days. But we focused on the solutions (rather than the problems themselves). We focused on the bigger picture, trusted the process and fixed what could be fixed. That always helped me take a step back and not just respond emotionally to a situation, but be analytical about which pain points we could address.
What do you think is key for success in a role like yours ?
The key to success is three-fold. First, you need an eagerness to learn. The product role requires working for a wide variety of teams and you need to be able to adapt conversations to different personas. Second, related to that, you need good communication skills to be able to speak at different levels with different teams. Finally, you need to be able to work well within a team. Teamwork in any work is important, but especially within a product role.
“Don’t have preconceived notions about what you can’t do.”
What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the tech industry? What do you wish you had known?
“Don’t have preconceived notions about what you can’t do.”
When I first started university, I genuinely thought I would be terrible at programming because I didn’t know anything about computers. However, when I gave it a try and took my first class, I realized that it was like learning a new language, which I already knew I enjoyed. I ended up studying Maths and Programming and doing quite well.
Now I always look back and think: “Why wouldn’t it be ok for a woman to be good at this?” I realized these assumptions that we won’t be good at certain things hold us back a lot, especially in tech.
Why do you think it’s important for more women to join the tech industry ?
It is important for more women to join the tech industry so that these preconceived notions about what we are suited for in terms of skill and ability no longer hold women back. When my daughter is at an age to decide what career path she is going to pursue, I want for her to think freely about what she can accomplish. Plus, to be successful in this industry, you need to be open, employ different frameworks of thinking, and be able to communicate with clients at different companies. Those “soft skills” that are traditionally associated with women are incredibly useful in this industry – and they are perhaps skills that women think they are already good at.
Do you think enough is done to help women get into the tech industry ? If not, what would you recommend ?
I’ve always been in favor of pushing for diversity in recruiting. When you have a team that is diverse, you have access to so many different opinions and you are able to build something that is relevant to everyone. I fervently believe that diversity should be involved in every single hiring plan and a key focus in candidate outreach.
What role can the men on a team play to best support their women peers in the business and tech world?
I would use my colleague and co-founder Rhys as an example. He has been an amazing ally. When we set up Redbud especially, I was not great at promoting myself and my expertise. I don’t really enjoy doing it. However, everytime we were at a conference or I was writing an article–anything–he would build me up. Rhys would say “Look at my amazing colleague, business partner, etc.” I am so thankful for him doing that. His ability to amplify my voice and help me gain some confidence is a good example for other men.
Interested in joining us? Check out our careers page.
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