Today we have Benjamine Portusach from Accrualify, Inc.
They are a spend management platform that automates invoice receipt, accruals, and payments. Our customers utilize our platform to manage spend and increase efficiencies surrounding processing invoices and vendor management.
Our questions are in bold.
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Who are you and what’s your background?
I am a bay area native, born and raised in San Mateo, CA. I studied finance at Santa Clara University and landed my first job at Ernst & Young straight out of college. I spent about 4.5 years at EY in their audit practice, focused on technology clients. After leaving EY, I worked in the private sector and eventually started a technical accounting consulting firm. As part of this firm, we focused on equity related consulting including stock options, secondary offerings, and equity related systems. Out of my consulting experience came Option Admin – my first start up which developed a suite of solutions focused on Cap Table and stock option ledger management. We grew a solid book of business that included some high-profile customers including Airbnb, GitHub, Nutanix, Peets Coffee and Kabam. We sold Option Admin in 2014 and stayed on with the acquiring organization until Sept 2015 at which time Accrualify came to be.
What is your job title and what are your general responsibilities?
I am Co-founder and CEO. It’s just a title–I wear many hats including product development, business development, strategy, HR, legal, and whatever it takes to help our company flourish.
Can you give us an overview of your business?
We are a spend management solution. We help companies manage their spend and provide workflow and systems that increase efficiencies around vendor management, internal controls, and payments. Our system includes a purchase order module, invoice automation, vendor management, accrual automation, and electronic payments.
Tell us how you are funded.
We are bootstrapped but currently raising a seed round in the form of a convertible note.
Why did you start the company? To solve what problems?
If you ask any CFO/Controller or finance team what one of their pain points is, they will immediately answer with accruals. We initially wanted to solve a way to automate accruals for all organizations, but then identified the need for a comprehensive spend management solution that was easy to use and handled all aspects of the procure-to-pay process. Most solutions handle invoicing or payments but none address accruals or the entire procurement and spend process. Our solution allows organizations to watch departmental spend, work to their budgets, and manage their vendors with ease. Integration with ERP systems and payments are also key to our success, and we have that all handled. Our customers gain efficiency, oversight, and comprehensive management over their spend. Our customers manage their vendors with care and provide them with insights into their billing while at the same time giving those vendors access to open PO balances and historical activity.
Who are your target customers? What’s your revenue model?
We are focused on companies that want to manage their spend, automate invoices and accruals, and utilize electronic payments. Ideal companies would be those that have $1M+ in revenues and manage multiple vendors. We are industry agnostic.
If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change in the banking and/or FinTech sector?
API’s are king. The banking sector has many challenges of allowing technology in. In our industry, B2B payments through banks are not very technologically advanced. We’ve found ourselves hitting obstacles working with multiple banks and experiencing their antiquated systems. Most banks don’t have API’s to facilitate payments. Compliance is warranted but also rips out all innovation. My magic wand would result in all banks acting like Stripe and allowing payments to be a commodity, not a luxury.
What is your message for the larger players in the Finance industry?
Continue to innovate. Focus on new products, not on the status quo. Embrace new technology and innovative companies like Accrualify.
What phone are you carrying and why?
I’m an Android man. While I sit here writing with my MacBook, I check my other communication outlets with my Android phone. I believe in an open ecosystem.
Where do you get your industry news from?
TechCrunch, Finnovate, MyCFO, Forbes, Tech Meme, and my trusted colleagues and friends.
Can you list 3 people you rate from the FinTech sector that we should be following on Twitter?
Renaud Laplanche – CEO of Lending Club – An innovator in the industry, I envy him stepping out of the norm. Although he has been in the news negatively, he is a solid industry leader.
Brian Armstrong – Coinbase CEO – He is at the forefront of the blockchain and Bitcoin revolution
Jeff Thorness – CEO of Forte Payments – We have a relationship with Forte, and Jeff has been at the forefront of the payments industry for over a decade.
What’s the best FinTech product or service you’ve seen recently?
Silicon Valley Bank has created a virtual credit card which can be used once and then would disappear.
Finally, let’s talk predictions. What trends do you think are going to define the next few years in the FinTech sector?
I believe the transparency and ease of payments is a focus for the banking industry. Whether it’s P2P or B2B banks are slowly accepting new technology and allowing for a traditionally obscure industry to become open source, providing for better collaboration by all parties and increasing the overall market size.
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