Following a “tremendous” year of growth, Blooom officials said Wednesday that upward trajectory requires a new leader at the helm.
Co-founder Chris Costello, who has served for the past five years as chief executive officer, has stepped down and moved into a new role as chairman of Blooom’s board of directors. Matt Burgener, the company’s chief marketing officer since he joined in November 2016, succeeds Costello as CEO.
“I think that a lot of founders get into trouble sometimes because they hang on to it maybe too long,” Costello said. “There’s different skill sets involved in starting a company: the idea stage and the garage or basement stage, versus the experience that Matt’s had that I clearly have not, the things that he’s seen in his career.”
Leawood-based Blooom offers financial advice and services on 401k management. Costello co-founded the fintech company alongside Kevin Conard and Randy AufDerHeide.
In his new role, Costello will be the company’s top evangelist, advocating for the company and spreading word about its services, he said.
“Blooom has — and these are my words — a more effective operational leader in place now with Matt, which frees me up to get to do the things that I think I do best, which is evangelize the company,” he said. “I think nobody on planet Earth is better at telling the why behind Blooom than I will. And I can do that with a tremendous amount of peace of mind knowing the company on a day-to-day basis is in extremely good hands.”
Assets under Blooom’s management have “quadrupled” in the past year, Burgener said, citing about $2.3 billion the company manages in assets today. Blooom’s client acquisition has also grown 400 percent since January 2017. With 30 employees, the company is approaching 20,000 clients.
“This is definitely a point of strength in Blooom’s journey thus far,” Costello said, adding that now is the time to hand over the reins to Burgener, who will lead the company forward.
As the new CEO, Burgener’s main goal is to focus on day-to-day operations and scaling the company, he said.
“It’s so important for us right now, particularly as a company that’s in a highly regulated industry, to be out there in front of folks, talking to people,” Burgener said, adding that Costello will stay in the community and industry spotlight, speaking about Blooom through interviews and talks on podcasts. “We’re a big enough company now, on a trajectory, where that’s not a one-person job.”
Blooom’s future faces one of two outcomes: Either seek profitability because “there’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” or raise additional funds through another Series C round, Burgener said.
The firm has been fortunate to be on a growth pace for the past year, he added.
“We’ve also been fairly disciplined on our uses of cash to where there is a plan that allows us to get to that independence, that viability, that profitability, without taking on any more,” Burgener said, citing the company’s modest expenses. “At the same time, we’re on a mission to try to impact as many people as we can.
“And, you know, we have ‘first mover’ advantage in that regard. There isn’t anybody else who’s doing what we’re trying to do, so why not try to go even faster?”
Burgener has an extensive background in marketing and e-commerce, managing large and small companies in both large and small cities, Costello said.
Blooom has a great team in place, Burgener said, and he anticipates no other big changes in leadership — except hiring a new chief marketing officer, of course.
“Other than that, we’ve got all the pieces in place for our next stage of growth,” he said.