Why I left Coupa to join Airbase.
As I step into my role as VP of Business Development at Airbase, I’m excited to get back involved in the ecosystems I’m most passionate about: startups and fast-growing companies. During my many years of experience at companies like Coupa, Wells Fargo, and Tipalti, I witnessed firsthand the positive impact technology can have as businesses grow. With Airbase, I’m fully confident that I’ve found the best solution for the companies I love to work with, and I look forward to helping finance and accounting professionals grow their operations at scale. I’m also keen to build out the broader partner ecosystem, focusing on financial institutions, and bringing our valued services together. The opportunity to join Airbase presents a unique chance for me to lead our pursuit of strategic partnerships to deliver measurable value for our mutual clients.
Airbase recently closed its $60M Series B funding round, and it’s clear that I’m joining an industry which is experiencing rapid growth itself. I’m arriving at a critical time in the maturing spend management market. We’re witnessing a convergence of some of the legacy software and fintech companies, as the former add modernized tools and the latter build traditional AP functionality.
Over the years, I’ve gained invaluable experience supporting companies as they grew from small businesses to multinational public corporations. My interest in technology has been with me from a young age; I am part of an entrepreneurial family who encouraged me to follow my enthusiasm and fascination for how disruptive technology is financed. I went from being a financial generalist to finding a niche in SaaS, fintech, marketplaces, and B2B enterprise software, and looked at the underlying operating models to get familiar with how these companies develop.
Before joining Airbase, I spent almost three years at Coupa as VP of Sales and Business Development. A big part of my responsibility was growing Coupa Pay. We launched the product in 2018 and, within two years, grew from zero to 200 customers. It was a fascinating time to be part of the company for the enterprise segment.
During my time at Coupa, I realized that spend management was becoming a necessity and no longer a nice-to-have.
It was also becoming more apparent that organizations’ financial institutions would become a critical partner in expanding the adoption and change management necessary to scale the category. Before Coupa, I was at AP automation vendor Tipalti, where I helped build the foundation for their alliance’s program and worked closely with the sales team to close some of their largest customers to date.
But it was during the 12 years at Wells Fargo where I developed my domain knowledge in finance and accounting as a corporate banker for pre-profit technology and life science companies, primarily in the Bay Area. It was here that I realized the products offered by the banks were inadequate and ripe for disruption — and where my fascination with fintech companies like Airbase began.
So why did I join Airbase? First and foremost, it was the CEO, Thejo Kote, and his vision for building a transformative spend management platform to truly influence companies as they work to scale. As we got to know each other and aligned on the business opportunity for spend management as a category to mature, we realized we were very much on the same page. We saw the opportunity both in the short- and long-term for Airbase and the need for a strong partnership program to emerge at this juncture.
The second was the enthusiasm for the Airbase platform held by the customers, both current and prospective.
As I began to learn more about the role, I did my due diligence and spoke to Airbase customers. I discovered that Airbase is different because they think like accountants and built the platform with them in mind.
Finally, what the role demanded from a leader at this stage of the company was a perfect fit for what I had done in my previous positions, and I knew I could have an immediate impact here at Airbase.
Airbase opens a door for me to contribute to the incredible company culture and to get to know diverse people from various backgrounds and experiences — all while building a world-class spend management platform. The scrappiness and willingness to test different GTM strategies, and collaboration across departments all thrill me and create a constant state of learning, growing, and challenging myself.
It’s clear from the outset that Airbase is disrupting the way companies think about spending money — and I can’t wait to be a part of it!
Airbase offers a one platform solution to manage all non-payroll spend. It provides oversight and control over spending with real-time reporting and automatic syncing directly to your general ledger. Control all payments – physical cards, virtual cards, ACH, and checks – from one place. Close faster. Empower employees. Control spend.
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