A key appointment to support the strategic growth agenda of a nascent, high growth SaaS business


Traydstream is a cloud-based platform whose modular technology digitises and stores Trade Finance documentation, extracting the data intelligently and, based on machine-learnt experience, validating the transaction documentation against a vast, evolvable library of Trade Rules and Compliance checks. In short, Traydstream’s new Platform-as-a-Service solution digitalises the whole trade transaction – from invoice to Swift – and is targeted at banks as well as corporates.


Founded in 2016 by leading figures from the world of trade finance and corporate technology, the business has gone through the evolutionary start-up cycle, validating customer problems and customer segments before building a prototype product. During this period, Traydstream generated significant interest from potential customers in proofs of concept and paid pilot programmes with approximately 50 banks and corporates worldwide. In 2018, the business  attracted Pre-Series A funding which enabled them to build out its resources, infrastructure, further enhance its technology platform and solidify key relationships with multi-national partners across the banking and corporate communities.


With the business poised for a period of rapid and sustained growth, the time was right to bring on board a finance executive to help shape and take ownership of the company strategy and to professionalise and internationalise the business and finance infrastructure. This included, but was not limited to, developing and implementing robust systems, controls and processes; managing cash flow and building a capital efficient business; fully owning the budgeting process through understanding the levers of the business and generating monthly actuals vs. budget and a rolling forecast; fully owning the financial modelling outputs, developing metrics to track business performance; developing a pricing strategy and an ARR model; supporting and implementing a diverse growth strategy i.e. upsell path, cross-sell path, usage pricing, international expansion, etc; owning the cap tables; owning and developing a data room for future fundraising events.


Because the business had reached a key stage of its future development and combined with its ownership structure and future funding needs, it was agreed right from the outset that in order to succeed in the role the new Finance Director would need to exhibit experience and core competencies gained in a VC/PE backed, high growth environment. It was also agreed that candidates would need to display a firm understanding of the potential pitfalls besieged on businesses at this key stage of their development if not steward correctly. In summary, the business required strong financial leadership and guidance; insightful business intelligence and performance trends; and incisive reporting.   


Traydstream indicated it was interested in evaluating candidates from a wide range of backgrounds including the fintech/regtech verticals but also across the broader SaaS domain. We targeted similar businesses that had had a liquidity event within the last 12 months indicating growth and identified a slate of executives. During the engagement phase, the key was to identify an executive who demonstrated a deep understanding of the challenges facing a start-up on the cusp of commercialising its product/solution whilst at the same time providing subject matter expertise and sound judgement in discharging their duties in a fast-paced environment with shifting priorities.


Following an extensive search, we presented a strong shortlist of 4 candidates all with experience in building scalable, high growth SaaS businesses. Client interviews identified strong interest in 2 of the 4 that went through to second and third round interviews. The third round interview process provided excellent feedback on both candidates suggesting that either one could be offered the role. However, one individual stood out due to their highly engaging and collaborative style and approach. 


As Finance Director of a previous high growth SaaS business, the successful candidate had been part of an executive leadership team that had grown revenues from $6.5m to $81m over a 5-year period and had expanded its international footprint from a 3-company group to 10 country branches worldwide. The candidate was a Chartered Accountant with 17 years post qualification experience and came across as a dynamic, commercially aware finance executive with a rounded, broad international experience of building and managing a global finance function with employees across multiple countries. Notably, they had extensive hands on experience of scaling a company from a start-up, including implementation of processes and multiple global operating systems including finance, expenses and travel. They also possessed sound commercial, operational and change/transformation experience and importantly had extensive financing and shareholder relationship skills. 


All these capabilities (and more) served to impress Traydstream who duly appointed the executive. 

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