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August 25, 2021

Why I left Dropbox to join Airbase.

Written by
Jerry Shih
Jerry Shih
Why I left Dropbox to join Airbase.Why I left Dropbox to join Airbase.

Earlier this month, I joined the Airbase team with humility, excitement, and resolve.

After a fantastic experience at Dropbox, I'm joining a spend management startup which is by far the highest-growth company that I have worked at yet. 

In early 2019, Dropbox made its biggest acquisition to date, snapping up fellow San Francisco company HelloSign in a deal worth $230 Million. At the time of acquisition, HelloSign was a Series B startup, and they hired me to build and scale its financial planning process. 

Let’s be honest: When you’re working at a corporation such as Dropbox and have the latitude to lead sales finance, and build and scale HelloSign’s financial planning process, it takes a lot to turn your head. However, Airbase did just that. Once I was introduced to this newcomer in the fintech space, I was initially intrigued, then impressed, and finally, enticed. I watched the company grow from a tiny yet bold startup to a formidable force in the spend management market. After understanding the reasons for this meteoric rise, I realized I didn’t just want to like Airbase. I wanted to be at Airbase.

The road to Airbase.

At Dropbox, I was fortunate enough to work alongside Jaakko Iso-Järvenpää, who at the time was leading the 35-person strong global sales and customer success teams for HelloSign. I always admired Jaakko for his leadership abilities, and I respected his data-driven approach to solving problems. So when Jaakko joined Airbase earlier this year as VP of Sales, I began to research the company further.

I met up with Jaakko early on in Q2 of 2021, and he informed me that Airbase was looking to grow their finance team, and a big part of what they were trying to do was build and scale their financial processes. I quickly realized that I had an opportunity to do for Airbase what I had done for HelloSign at Dropbox. 

After being introduced to Airbase Founder/CEO, Thejo Kote, and getting a deeper understanding of his vision, I knew I had to be a part of it. Given Airbase’s explosive growth and the complexity associated with fintech businesses, having a solid FP&A function is crucial. I’m excited to bring my skills and experiences to Airbase. 

What I hope to bring to my new role.

At its core, FP&A acts as a trusted financial partner to the business leaders and the executive team, and helps them make sound financial decisions. A key aspect of my job is to understand the levers that drive our growth and monitor a variety of key metrics on a daily basis to stay on top of the health of our business. I work with the business partners to identify growth blockers early to course correct and continue on our upward trajectory.

Another important aspect of my job is ensuring we get the most bang per buck on our investment. Control our destiny is our first value at Airbase, which means we assume that whatever round of investment we raise will be our last round of fundraising. To spend the money wisely, we set criteria for our investments, optimize our resource allocations to maximize returns, and set financial guardrails to mitigate risks. An example of this is how we closely monitor the health of our various go-to-market motions, doubling down on actions that work well, and (again) identifying any growth blockers to unlock a go-to-market movement.

Airbase: A unique opportunity.

There’s a lot of noise around spend management right now, but if you do some research, you’ll realize that Thejo Kote had the idea for unified spend management long before people started talking about it. Thejo built the complete product roadmap around it. In contrast, all the other competitors began with either a corporate card offering or some other specialized pillar, and are now trying to transform their companies into unified spend management. I believe Airbase is poised for success because its DNA is unified spend management. From a customer perspective, using a single platform has a high ROI, and Airbase is the only truly consolidated spend management solution. 

Airbase has become the leading expense management and corporate card solution for small to mid-market businesses, and I believe this is only the beginning for the company.  

I’m so excited about the journey ahead.

Jerry Shih
Jerry Shih
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About Airbase

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 paymentsphysical cards, virtual cards, ACH, and checks – from one place. Close faster. Empower employees. Control spend.

To learn more about Airbase, contact us for a product demo.
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