Michael E. Gruen

Founder-type / Tech Executive

I’m a founder, builder, and technology executive since the mid-00s.

Throughout my career I’ve worked in a part-time, fractional, or advisory capacity to a number of companies, firms, and founders through my firm greyworks. This is often on-top of or next-to my primary focus.

I have extensive experience in technology (or technology-enabled) companies going through transformational moments, whether its the company’s founding, an early/mid-stage pivot, or growth investment through a financing ro…

Michael E. Gruen



  • Exposure Labs, Inc.

    Exposure Labs, Inc.

    Interim fCEO / Board Member

    Aug 2022 - Present

    Easy-to-use, easy-to-publish visual storytelling platform for brands, organizations, and professiona/pro-sumer photographers. See some of our members best work at: https://exposure.co/publications

    • Upgraded core technology to modern standards. (3 version jump!)
    • Reduced MTBR and MTTR (mean time between repairs, mean time to repair) by orders of magnitude, while also reducing page load time by 90%
    • Leveraged AI for back-end processes and customer service tickets, reducing inbound support needs by 60%.
    • Restructured CS and Technology resources for improved velocity.
  • SaaS/Services (Redacted)

    Technical Advisor

    Aug 2023 - Oct 2023

    Established SaaS/Services company that maintains resume/CV records for professionals within a high-regulated industry. Company invested in a rebuild of their core technology with an outside vendor that was over-time and over-budget. Executives were concerned about future viability of their investment.

    • Partnered with C-suite to understand perceived challenges and desired outcomes.
    • Conducted a code and architectural review of operational app and contracted future-app; repackaged findings into recommendations with business impact for strategic discussion.
  • Mobile App + Web Platform (Redacted)

    Fraction CTO / Advisor

    Mar 2023 - Jul 2023

    Series A company with a vertical-SaaS iOS app and web platform had architectural constraints on their codebase and team structure. Neither constraint was visible to the CEO, but they knew they had a problem with shipping and delivery and was concerned they didn't have the right people in place.

    • Triaged the architecture (team and technology) and provided a roadmap on how to move forward. Company has since raised their next round of funding and hired a full-time technical lead.
    • Coached key engineering resources on communication strategies to better articulate challenges to the wider team.
    • Had fun doing it.
  • HR Tech Services Company (Redacted)

    Fractional CTO

    Oct 2022 - Dec 2022

    A technology-enabled recruiting firm witnessed the efficacy of their core process automation tool drop dramatically. Executives were convinced their technology had a functional deficiency/bug that their internal team couldn't diagnose and wanted to bring in an expert.

    • Coached senior engineer resources on defining success and efficacy rates for core services
    • Through that work, hypothesized the problem was product-related, not engineering-related, and conducted experiments to prove such
    • Proof in hand, recommended a holistic approach to remediate the existential to their business model.
  • Upright


    Mar 2021 - Jul 2022

    Financial services company focused on fix/flip and new construction loans, funded by individual investors (crowdfunding) and institutional warehouse lines.

    • Owned product, engineering, DevOps, IT, data/analytics, security, and compliance.
    • Rapidly built distributed team: 5 to 75 FTEs in 13 months.
    • Organized using modern software organizational practices, including team topologies, dynamic re-teaming, and Agile/Scrum, with a nod toward’s Conway’s Law to improve ownership and agency, enabling more consistent value delivery with ever-growing team.
    • Deprecated/repackaged monolith to service-oriented architecture on IaaS.
  • Cloud Security Posture Management (Redacted)

    Interim COO/CIO

    Apr 2019 - Aug 2019

    Series A company's flagship product helped Fortune 50 and large financial institutions secure, manage, and govern their public cloud estates. (e.g., AWS, GCP, Azure, etc.)

    • Set a "land speed record" for achieving SOC II Type 2 compliance
    • Reduced cloud costs by over 50% by improving containerization strategy and contracted spending.
    • Stood up Product, DevOps, and other core technology functions.
  • DTC CPG (Redacted)

    Fractional COO

    Jun 2016 - Apr 2017

    A cosmetics company with 90% sales volume through online channels, customers could "subscribe" to products with auto-delivery.

    • Reconstructed data systems and reporting to improve customer/product matching
    • Restructured core ops
    • Lead fundraising efforts (successfully)

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