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Advisory Board Spotlight: Nino Cavenecia, Founder at Customer First

This week we caught up with one of our Advisory Board members, Nino Cavenecia, to get to know him better!

Nino is the Principal at Customer First. He is a 20-year veteran leading customer operations in the tech industry. A majority of that time has been spent building teams in marketplaces, from Customer Support to Trust & Safety. He is currently working with startups across multiple industry verticals through his consultancy practice. Prior to that, Nino held senior level roles at Outdoorsy, Doctor On Demand, and Upwork, to name a few. He believes the most overlooked contributor to growth and trust is putting the customer first. Nino applies this principle by helping organizations better listen and act on customer insights as they scale. He credits his early experiences at Nordstrom and Zappos as the major influencers behind this philosophy.

Our Advisory Board is the very lifeblood of everything we do at Marketplace Risk. From conferences and virtual events to resources and advice for startups, our board takes a hands-on approach to providing indispensable insight and guidance, drawing on their broad experience that spans a multitude of platforms and industries. Let’s learn more about our member, Nino!

Tell us what you do in / your connection to the marketplace / sharing economy space.

I have been working for marketplace organizations, helping them navigate the building and scaling of various customer facing teams, for the majority of my career.

What interests / fascinates you most about marketplaces / the sharing economy?

The challenge involved in building and scaling customer operations within a marketplace business. When you are interacting with multiple customer segments, who are all contributing to a single transaction, it tends to break traditional practices and require a more bespoke approach.

How were you first introduced to marketplaces / the sharing economy?

My first leadership role was for an e-commerce marketplace business, CafePress.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A child psychologist.

What motivates you the most about your business/platform?

I love helping companies navigate how they support and empower their customer's experience. Working with a company in its early stages allows me to make a real impact on its foundation.

Do your friends and family understand what you do?

Yes, I think so. I'm basically a "customer service guy" to them.

What one or two things do you do each day religiously?

Play with my kids and's too short not to.

Who inspires you from a business point of view?

Mark Benioff: he has artfully balanced the needs of customers, employees, and shareholders, all while maintaining a strong philanthropic stance.

What’s your favourite social media channel, and what was the last thing you posted on it?

LinkedIn. The last thing I posted about was the incredible post-pandemic journey I have experienced.

What do you think the world of marketplaces / sharing economy will look like in 10 years?

I believe we have yet to experience the full potential of this business model. I see competition increasing and forcing current market leaders to change their tactics on how they care for their partners/freelancers, as well as the customer experience provided. Additionally, we should see more unique applications of this business model play out.

If you’d like to be part of a dynamic group of founders, operators and subject matter experts, and your expertise and ideas could help us to better support the marketplace ecosystem, reach out to us at

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