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June 28, 2023

Norwest Welcomes ‘Sales Whisperer’ David Rudnitsky as CRO Operating Executive and Principal

David Rudnitsky - Norwest CRO Operating Executive and Principal

As we’ve built Norwest’s Portfolio Services team over the years, we’ve learned there is no substitute for experience and no shortcut to meaningful business relationships. Portfolio Services gained both experience and relationships during the past few decades by working in tandem with Norwest’s investment teams to support our founders and CEOs. We have helped portfolio companies navigate hyper-growth phases as well as challenging economic environments, and we understand the value of working hard for our companies.

One of the things that sets Norwest apart is that we take an “invited guest” approach – providing practical guidance and support to portfolio companies when and how it best serves them, while allowing them to keep their hands on the reins. Today our Portfolio Services team is made up of more than 20 full-time professionals—plus a network of more than 25 Senior Advisors across multiple sectors – whose functional expertise spans marketing, sales, people and talent, finance, capital markets, CEO leadership, and operations. It’s all about the people, and today we couldn’t be more excited to augment our team with the addition of David Rudnitsky, who joins Norwest Portfolio Services as CRO operating executive & principal.

When our portfolio company leaders revealed through last year’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey — for which we received a world-class score of 77 among CEOs — that they wanted more sales support, we listened. We acted by bringing on David and his legendary CRO experience to give our companies the scaffolding they need on sales and GTM strategy. The valuable feedback we received from our leaders has helped shape our Portfolio Services strategy in key areas this year and has further motivated us to continue to improve how we serve our companies.

David will collaborate with Norwest’s marketing and sales team to help our early-stage enterprise companies define and execute their sales and go-to-market (GTM) strategies. In the current environment, it is essential that our companies receive the best possible advice and hands-on assistance to effectively build and manage teams and maximize their GTM spend.

David’s hire builds on the momentum of our go-to-market practice following the addition of Lisa Ames in 2020 as principal, CMO & marketing operating executive and Renée Cohen as B2B-focused marketing operating executive last year. Rounding out the GTM offering, we have David Garcia as a senior sales & sales operations advisor and Jamie Fontana as B2C-focused e-commerce & performance marketing senior advisor.

David also adds enterprise software expertise on the heels of cloud product leader Eyal Manor joining the firm this year as an entrepreneur in residence.

An Enterprise Sales Standout

David brings a stellar track record of success as a sales leader for technology companies. He was a driving force behind the enterprise sales organization at Salesforce. During his 12.5 years at Salesforce, revenue grew from $23 million to more than $5 billion. His contributions are highlighted in Marc Benioff’s book about Salesforce, “Behind the Cloud”.

David also was a sales leader in the early stages of several other notable technology companies, including ADP, Oracle, Netscape, and Ariba, and he was president and CRO at Yext, a digital experience platform.

In addition to his operational roles, he has shared his expertise and insights with numerous startups as an advisor, board member, and investor.

David has quickly hit the ground running at Norwest, already helping several of our portfolio company leaders. I could go on about what he has brought to our firm, but I’m excited to have him discuss his move to Norwest in his own words.

Why the move to VC/Growth Equity?

I made a conscious career decision to get into the investment world. There’s no better way to be a part of the conversation and be relevant to what we do in our industry than to join a VC/growth equity firm; that’s where you see the latest and greatest.

I also want to work with up-and-coming entrepreneurs who have great new ideas and can show us where the world is going. It’s like when I joined Netscape in 1995. No one really knew what the potential of the internet was, but I did know that I wanted to be at a company with the potential for profound influence.

I know I can be of value because of the many times in my career I’ve been brought in to help companies grow. Over the last six or seven years, I’ve spent time advising founders, CEOs, and CROs at startups and I feel like I have a lot to give them.

Why Norwest?

I talked to folks I really trusted who know the investment space. What I consistently heard was that the people at Norwest are very good at what they do, they know who they are and stay true to their values. As it turns out, the firm has an incredible culture based on empathy, ethics and collaboration that shows up in both the people they hire and the companies they invest in.

During the extensive interview process, I met 13 people across the investment and portfolio services teams and everything that others had said about the culture was true. It was reassuring to see Norwest conduct this level of diligence in their hiring process.

Norwest team photo at welcome dinner for David Rudnitsky
David Rudnitsky (2nd from left) at his Norwest welcome dinner with (L to R) Partner Sean Jacobsohn, Partner Scott Beechuk, Partner Katie Belding, and General Partner Dave Zilberman

What are the key sales challenges you will help early-stage enterprise companies overcome?

I want to instill confidence in entrepreneurs. I’ve been very fortunate to see greatness in companies and to see what’s possible. So, my goal is to have them walk away saying, “I see there’s an opportunity to be great. I have a better understanding of what it is going to take to get there.”

A lot of times entrepreneurs are so focused on the product that they don’t take a step back to ask “what are all the things I need to do to lay the groundwork for greatness? What does my go-to-market strategy look like? What does excellent execution look like for us?”

A lot of what I do is storytelling; showing them that what they’re going through now has been experienced before. I’ve seen the movie and can explain what plot twists and outcomes are possible. Because they don’t know what they don’t know.

I want to understand what their challenges are and then apply my experience in handling those issues.

It’s wonderful to see such close alignment with Norwest’s values and mission in these statements. If ‘no substitute for experience’ and ‘no shortcuts to meaningful business relationships’ were a person, they’d be David Rudnitsky.

Welcome to Norwest, David!

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