It was 2018, and shortly after payables start-up Tipalti had raised its Series C funding round, Sara Spoja recalls, she sat down with Tipalti CEO and cofounder Chen Amit.
Having spent the previous 8 years as a senior operating executive for private equity firm KKR Capstone, Spoja was known for asking C-suite management tough questions, and she was no less probing when it came to reviewing Tipalti’s Series C model.Read More
“I tore that thing apart and asked questions about every assumption,” comments Spoja, who recollects a 4-hour-long meeting with Amit, who encouraged her to grill him on every aspect of the business.
During the meeting, Spoja no doubt turned over as many rocks as any of Tipalti’s Series C investors had, but Amit wasn’t looking for an investment from KKR.
Indeed, he wanted an investment from Spoja—but not in dollars. Tipalti had achieved the requisite number of start-up milestones that normally precipitate the hiring of a chief financial officer, and it turned out that Spoja had quickly advanced as the tech firm’s leading candidate.
“I had hit a patch at KKR where I wasn’t as excited as I might have been about what my next role was going to be,” remembers Spoja, whose seat on KKR’s operating executive talent bench had in the past propelled her into a rotating variety of portfolio company operational roles—each with an expiration date.
“I decided that it was time to go and take my first real job at a company,” reports Spoja, who would join Tipalti as CFO in August of 2018. –Jack Sweeney
Made Possible By
CFOTL: Tell us about Tipalti … what does this company do, and what are its offerings today?
Spoja: Tipalti is a global payables product that helps finance executives to streamline their payables process. This means making global partner payments—maybe to their ecosystem of partners—as well as the more traditional global accounts payable. It’s paying your rent, paying your software licenses, paying to put food in the fridge, whatever else you’re doing. It truly focuses on this B2B payments space, focusing on global partner payments and A/P, and then we also have a number of offshoots from this.Read More
We also recently acquired a company called Approve, which is a procurement platform. With the Approve product and Tipalti integrated together, you have a full-suite procure-to-pay product that does everything from the upfront PO requisition and subsequent approvals to the supplier onboarding of and collection of all tax and compliance information for a new vendor to processing the payment information on invoices. They get OCR, so everything is pulled into the platform in an automated fashion. We use machine learning and AI to route these invoices around your company in an email-based platform, so your approvers don’t need to use any platform outside of the email that they’re already using every day for their invoice approvals processes. We also provide payment scheduling and payment execution services to 190 countries in 120 currencies across multiple different payment types in each of these countries.
Tipalti really just automates what is today the longest lead item within a closed process, which is accounts payable. It takes on one of the riskiest financial operations processes that executives or finance executives perform today, which is payments. Payout is significantly riskier than pay in. We take that payout process and help you to mitigate that risk, to control that risk, to have the right approvals in place to ensure that you’re paying out successfully and correctly.
“Make sure that you are passionate about the product and market that you are serving and speak knowledgeably about why the company will be successful. Having a tangible connection to our product as a power user inspires me in my role as a partner to marketing, product, sales, and operations.” –Sarah Spoja, CFO, Tipalti
Tipalti | www.tipalti.com | San Mateo, CA