- Timothy Jacob CA joined Who Gives A Crap in 2018 after roles at EY and Ansvar Insurance.
- The company completed a A$41.5 million funding round in September 2021.
- Jacob was heavily involved in the vendor due diligence process to ensure accuracy.
By Hannah Tattersall
Coming from secure jobs at EY and then Ansvar Insurance, were you nervous about joining what was essentially a start-up in 2018?
Absolutely there were nerves about the unknown. What if the business failed? Do I really want to sell toilet paper? And do I know how to work in a consumer goods business? But I really had a desire to have an impact with my career, and once I got to know more about the business I felt excited… I could see they were doing something different and had an amazing culture.
This was my opportunity to use my CA skills to make an impact, be part of something new, help build out a new team, establish new processes and grow with the business.
What was it like during the toilet paper panic buying last year?
It was wild indeed. I remember waking up one weekend and wondering why my phone was pinging so much. I looked over to my wife and said, “Something’s happening with toilet paper sales.” And then it began! We were excited to see that more and more people were being exposed to what we did, but also wondering how we were going to manage stock levels and continue to service our loyal customers who’d been with us from the beginning.
You had some impressive backers behind Who Gives a Crap’s first big funding round of A$41.5 million in September, including Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes, Kate Morris and James Height from Adore Beauty, and Canva’s Cameron Adams. How did you get these people onboard?
During the pandemic we learnt that we had more fans out in the world than we expected. So, as we started to talk about raising capital, people that we looked up to were excited to chat because they’d been following our brand and were long-time customers. Our business model, brand and products really spoke for themselves in that way.
Picture: Timothy Jacob CA. Image credit: James Braund.
“During the pandemic we learnt that we had more fans out in the world than we expected.”
As the head of finance, what was your role in negotiations to secure funding?
There were the basics – adhering to accounting standards, analysis and reporting. But the storytelling, the stakeholder management skills and critical thinking you learn as a CA played a huge part, too. I was heavily involved in the vendor due diligence process and helped the founders paint the picture of our results to date.
The balance of keeping the lights on and doing a deal while having a pretty capacity-restrained team was stressful, particularly as the deal wasn’t public knowledge. It was a challenging time. Ultimately, it was rewarding to see how outsiders look at your business.
Who Gives a Crap is having a big impact on people as well as our planet. How does it feel to be doing work like this?
I feel empowered every day. Even on the busy, stressful days it feels that the work we’re doing is supporting people (thanks to our donations and impact projects) and the planet (thanks to our sustainability focus). My favourite time is hearing the stories from our partner NGOs. I also feel the company has had an impact on me. It’s challenged me and helped me to harness my creativity, critical thinking and leadership skills like never before.