Startup Life: Unscripted #40 with Mark Perry, Chief Growth Officer at

Reflecting on his CGO role at, Mark talks about how a 25-years in tech led him to embrace the challenges of sales leadership in a startup environment.

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Startup Life: Unscripted is a TNG Media newsletter, as part of The Nudge Group, where we feature candid conversations with startup operators about their career journeys and experiences. If you received this email as a forward, you can read all our past interviews and subscribe right here.

Welcome back to Startup Life: Unscripted! In today's edition, we're excited to welcome Mark Perry, the Chief Growth Officer at With an 25-year career spanning multiple tech roles, Mark has recently embarked on a significant new chapter in his professional life, moving into a sales leadership position.

In our conversation today, Mark will share insights into what motivated his shift from technical and strategic roles into sales, the lessons he's learned in adapting to this new role, and how his background has uniquely positioned him to drive success at

Key interview takeaways:

🔧 Technical to Sales: Transitioning from CTO at Ping Identity to CGO, Mark shares how his deep technical knowledge informs his approach to sales and customer success, ensuring integrity and accuracy remain at the forefront.

🌐 Startup Dynamics: Reflecting on the differences between established companies and startups, Mark highlights the hands-on, focused approach required in the startup environment and the unique challenges and opportunities at Biza.

🛠️ Skills and Hiring Insights: Discussing the enduring tech skills shortage, Mark emphasizes the importance of transferable skills and creative hiring practices that align with company culture and the need for continuous learning.

📈 Future Visions: Looking ahead, Mark outlines his vision for Biza and the broader Datatech industry, focusing on innovation, customer needs, and regulatory changes to maintain leadership in the market.

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Mark, with 25 years in the industry, you've recently transitioned into sales for the first time as Chief Growth Officer at Biza. What prompted this shift, and how has the experience been so far?

The shift was prompted by an offer from Biza’s founder and CEO, Stuart Low. I’d always wanted to work at an early stage startup and having the CDR knowledge that I did, and the relationship with Stuart, made it an easy decision. I was also feeling like part of the furniture at my previous employer and looking for a new challenge.

I’ve settled into my role as the Chief Growth Officer and it's going great! has experienced significant growth over the past couple of years in terms of customer numbers, annual recurring revenue, and employees.

In the last two and half years I have learned so much about management and how to be an executive in a fast growing company that’s always ahead of the regulatory changes of the Consumer Data Right (CDR). The shift to sales has been seamless. I’ve worked with great sales people throughout my career and I’ve learned plenty by watching them.

You've transitioned from the Asia Pacific CTO at Ping Identity to your current position at Biza. How has your technological expertise influenced your approach to sales and customer success?

As a technical leader in a technology company, my goal was always to not over promise to customers, but to make sure they had accurate information to make their procurement and implementation decisions. In a sales role, I’ve tried to retain that level of integrity.

The technology required for the CDR, combined with the complex rules and specifications of the government’s always changing obligations means that I have hit my technical limits at times! It’s always better to defer to a more learned colleague in those situations, which is something I do more often than not now.

But I am at peace with the fact that my career has moved past the stage of me needing to know everything. I rely on my people skills as much as my technical skills now.

Having worked with established enterprise software vendors and now an early-stage startup, what are some key differences you've noticed? What challenges and opportunities stand out at Biza in the emerging Datatech space?

I can remember joining Biza and saying things like “We’ll have to do that” or “Someone will need to work on that”. Stuart would always say to me, “Who is we/someone?”

I quickly learned that in a startup, there’s never enough time or people to get things done, so it’s better that you make a start on an issue yourself and then engage a colleague to assist if needed. It’s much easier to get assistance if you’ve got something for them to review, than nothing at all.

Another major difference in a startup is the complete focus on your solution and industry, compared to the broader, more diverse focus at an enterprise software vendor. In the past, I had a wide-ranging solution focus, from employee identity management, to consumer authentication, to Zero Trust and other industry buzzwords and use cases.

At Biza, CDR is all we do. And so I get to be laser focused on the CDR industry, its challenges and use cases. That’s our market differentiator. Our customers respect and applaud our deep knowledge and continuing involvement in the industry. I know from my previous job that it’s almost impossible to be up-to-date with the intricacies of the CDR if you’re not working on it full-time.

The challenge and opportunity for Biza is to be ready for each new industry as it comes into the CDR, like non-bank lending, telco and superannuation. Each industry comes with its own language and integration requirements. While we take the stress out of the CDR for our customers, there’s a lot of work that goes in behind the scenes to ensure projects run smoothly under often tight timeframes.

It’s a good thing that we’ve done this more than 20 times now!

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You've mentioned that being nimble and agile can be a solution to the skills shortage. Could you elaborate on this? How can organisations tap into transferable skills and think creatively about filling roles?

The technology sector is facing an enduring skills shortage and organisations are struggling to find and retain good talent. As a potential solution to this issue, it’s important for organisations to move away from conventional ways of hiring whereby only candidates with relevant technical skills or qualifications get shortlisted.

Instead organisations need to hire for cultural fit where attitudes, behaviours and mindset are aligned. Transferable skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking and computer skills should not be discounted, as they are very useful to leverage when striving to acquire the necessary technical skills for a particular job. These skills can be learnt if you have the right basic skills and more importantly the right mindset and attitude to learn.

At Biza, we really value and encourage self-learning, which is necessary when you’re working within the CDR as the space is constantly changing. We need to have that discipline within ourselves to stay on top of industry and regulatory changes.

It can make hiring a bit more challenging for us as we’re always looking for people with the basic transferable skills as well as those to have that self-learning drive, but we strongly believe that these are the people that make the best employees.

Hiring great talent goes beyond just looking for people with the right technical skills, qualifications and experience.

With experience working with the ASX 200, what insights have you gained that have been pivotal in your current role at Biza?

There are a few. Firstly, customers are looking to buy an outcome. Not the technology. So my approach is all about how Biza reduces their time to value and eliminates much of the risk in their CDR project. That’s the language they want to hear. The Kubernetes/OAuth/alphabet soup of technology is all nice and well but it’s not what my customers want to focus on.

Secondly, make sure everything is clear and understood upfront and documented because once lawyers get involved, your deal can quickly disappear into a legal black hole if there are any ambiguities. And your customers will appreciate a smooth legal process as much as your team will.

Thirdly, just be yourself. And be upfront about your limitations, especially technical blindspots. As someone who used to pride myself on being up-to-date with the technology in the solutions I was representing, I’ve learned to defer to others more skilled in certain areas rather than make assumptions in front of the customer.

As someone who's successfully transitioned into a new role within a burgeoning industry, what advice would you offer to startup professionals considering roles outside their traditional experience?

I would recommend getting out of your comfort zone and trying something different in your career. Especially if it’s no more than a couple of steps from what you’ve been doing. It gives you a broader perspective in your career as well as life in general and makes you a more valuable employee to companies, in my experience.

Although I've stayed in my previous jobs for a considerable amount of time, I've always known when it's time for a change, and I tried as much as possible to be ready for that change through self-learning and networking.

So when the opportunity arises, I’m at least 75% ready to jump. And it has never been the case that I’ve been 100% ready to change. Sometimes a leap of faith in yourself and your ability to adapt is required.

Looking to the future, where do you see Biza and the broader Datatech industry in the next 5 years? How is Biza positioning itself as a leader in this space? 

In five years, the CDR will hopefully become mainstream as consumers start to realise its potential in providing them with the most competitive and reliable products. Biza will continue to be a leader in the CDR space by continuously seeking new opportunities to improve and expand our services.

Biza recently became the first Data Holder solution vendor to become an Accredited Data Recipient (ADR), which enables us to design and deliver new capabilities for customers and expand our customer base.

In the next five years, Biza is aiming to expand our market leadership to help Australian consumers take control of their data and change the way the world shares data. Although we use the rails of the CDR, we strive to always remain on the forefront of data sharing trends and regulations.

We also talk to our customers regularly about their future needs and leverage the feedback and those conversations to drive our product development strategy and roadmap.

The startup environment is known for its fast pace. How do you maintain a balance between work and personal life? Do you have any tips for those looking to thrive in the startup world?

That’s such a great question! My advice is to make sure you give yourself time to decompress from the startup environment. Take micro-breaks during the day to stretch your legs and avoid sitting for hours on end. A quick walk around the block, listening to your favourite band, can do wonders for stress!

I’m also pretty strict on not reading Slack or work email late at night. My work phone goes on Sleep mode after 7pm so I don’t see notifications. My team knows how to contact me if there’s an emergency, and the Biza executive team is whitelisted during that time, so I’ll receive their calls and texts.

I set myself strict boundaries around when to switch off and give myself some space. Startup life will consume you if you let it. The trick is to find your own balance between intense focus and breaks so you can be fresher and less reactive when it matters most.

From the Startup Life team

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