Home Feature New CTO Talks The Challenges, Opportunities In Building At A Seed-Stage Startup

New CTO Talks The Challenges, Opportunities In Building At A Seed-Stage Startup

by Maija Ehlinger

Calm Mattier, a Georgia Tech physics graduate turned teacher turned developer, is stepping into the CTO role for the fast-growing Atlanta startup Lillii RNB Inc.

That team, which includes the fraud detection platform Freeing Returns, raised $3 million seed round from Serena William’s venture fund this April to help the e-commerce brands better track revenue. 

Mattier got involved at the earliest inception of Freeing Returns when it was part of the inaugural FinTech Hack at ATDC in 2015. Mattier told Hypepotamus that while the idea and product behind Freeing Returns has evolved over the years, being part of building the “dream team” around the startup has been the most rewarding. 

“Being a non-binary lesbian, I have experienced my fair share of issues surrounding inclusivity and diversity in the tech space, but [CEO Barbara Jones] has consistently advocated for minority groups and women in tech. Heck, it is even part of the company name, “Let’s Imagine Life with Ladies In It” (L.I.L.L.I.I.),” Mattier added. “In addition, joining the team this early on has given me the opportunity to enact change to support all members of our company and create a diverse and inclusive culture. This has included codifying diversity and inclusivity as part of our company values and modifying company policy to include language supporting this.” 

Mattier landed her first job in the startup space after submitting Minecraft code, a video game that she got involved in during her time at Georgia Tech. “My main attraction to startups is the culture, which is so much better than at more traditional companies. I tend to be a bit of a rebel and am not afraid to take bold risks. Instead of that being punished like at a traditional company, in startups, it is celebrated. I am able to thrive and grow, unlike I would be able to do in another space,” Mattier told Hypepotamus. 

Mattier’s step into the CTO position comes at a unique moment of growth for the company. Top of mind for Mattier right now is “balancing the need to build out our platform quickly while keeping it secure and robust.”

“This is a challenge I have seen at every startup I have worked at. As a startup, you have the advantage of being able to move fast and do bold things, but you can’t sacrifice the integrity of your platform, or you will end up with tons of bugs or data breaches that could be catastrophic.”

As Lillii RNB builds up both its product and its remote-first work culture, we asked Mattier what a “day in the life” looks like for a CTO at a seed-stage startup. 

Matthier’s answer: “Working as CTO of a startup, there rarely is a day where I am not working on dozens of different things. Some days might be back-to-back meetings; other days, I am getting my hands dirty and working on demo code or helping our junior developers. I am orchestrating our SOC 2 implementation, which has so many moving parts dependent on different team members. On top of everything, I have to find time to work on the company culture and make sure my teams are getting what they need.”



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