Saildrone Hires Barak Ben-Gal as CFO to Scale Ocean Drone Data Solutions

Barak Ben-Gal, formerly of Sunrun and Symphony Talent, will build the G&A organization necessary to enable growth.

September 8, 2020

Saildrone is excited to announce the addition of Barak Ben-Gal as its first Chief Financial Officer. Ben-Gal’s experience in finance, strategy, and operational management will be key enablers during the strong growth Saildrone anticipates over the coming years.

Ben-Gal comes to Saildrone from Symphony Talent where, as CFO, he led the G&A organization and helped to combine four different acquired entities into a single, cohesive, and aligned company. Symphony Talent is a leading provider of consolidated software and services to the top employer brands and public agencies in the US. Prior to that, he served as the first CFO for Sunrun, the largest US residential solar company at the forefront of clean technology, as it transformed its finance infrastructure in preparation for an IPO. Prior to joining Sunrun, Ben-Gal served in various financial and operational roles managing strategic forecasting, revenue recognition, core accounting, tax compliance, and talent optimization for a range of public and private companies including, Yahoo!, the Oakland Unified School District, and Mediaplex.

“This is a very exciting time at Saildrone. We’re moving faster every day as we continue to refine and expand our solutions for scientific data collection and develop new capabilities in bathymetry and maritime domain awareness. Barak will play a key role on our leadership team, which also includes our Chief Scientist Eric Lindstrom. He is a seasoned leader, and his operational experience will be an incredible asset as Saildrone continues to grow,” said COO Sebastien de Halleux.

Last December, Saildrone announced a public-private partnership (PPP) to advance deep-water ocean mapping capabilities with a new 22-meter (72-foot) unmanned surface vehicle (USV) known as the Saildrone Surveyor with the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI); the PPP is supported by a three-year grant from the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP). In June, Saildrone announced a $1.1 million contract to conduct a 30-day demonstration of ISR/MDA capabilities in the Central Pacific Ocean on behalf of the United States Coast Guard Research and Development Center. Over the past several months, despite COVID-19 travel restrictions, Saildrone has continued to operate science missions in the Tropical Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea.

“I’ve lived near a shoreline my entire life, so I’m keenly aware of the role that oceans and seas play in regulating our climate and contributing to our economy. Oceans make up more than 70% of the planet, and yet they have been woefully under-measured because of the inherent challenges and cost of collecting data in extreme environments,” said Ben-Gal. “Much like SpaceX has established the infrastructure for space, Saildrone is poised to become the go-to platform for ocean data collection and distribution, in close partnership with leading public and private institutions. I’m excited to help scale this frontier technology so that it can take its place as the premier ocean observation infrastructure.”

Ben-Gal earned both an MBA and a Master of Education at Stanford University and a BA in Economics from Harvard University. He has served on the CFO Advisory Board for Silicon Valley Bank, appeared as the subject of several CFO-related podcasts, and has lectured at Stanford, UC Berkeley, San Jose State University, and the University of San Francisco.

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