Traydstream’s unique PaaS solution digitises Documentary Trade (LCs, Collections & Open Account) and supporting documents to automate the scrutiny, clause matching, rules and compliance checking process, using machine learning. Using AI and over a quarter of a million trade rules, Traydstream’s uniquely powered products reduce the costs, complexities, and timescales of trade finance processing for banks and large corporations. The platform mirrors exactly the job of a document checker today, using cognitive behavioural technology to learn from each transaction, memorise document behaviour, and perceive potential issues.
Founded in 2016, the business has attracted significant investment which has enabled them to build out its resources, infrastructure, further enhance its technology platform and build out its user base and solidify key relationships with multi-national partners across the banking and corporate communities. The business has grown rapidly in recent years and is servicing clients across multiple continents and markets. A true disruptor, the industry they serve is recognising the value of digitisation and automation as a key driver of efficiency and scalability. This in turn is translating into strong revenue growth and high levels of interest from client companies.
Having recently closed out a Series A funding round, Traydstream are poised for a period of rapid and sustained growth. As such, this was the right time to bring on board a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to act as strategic business partner to the CEO/Board and subject matter expert to the Senior Management Team and become the financial driving force in the development of the company strategy across all areas of the business, challenging assumptions and decision-making as appropriate and providing financial analysis and guidance on all activities, plans, targets and business drivers as the business grows at scale. In addition, with a targeted Series B capital raise on the horizon, there is a firm emphasis on investor relations and owning the capital raise process alongside the CEO and CCO.
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 CFO would need to exhibit experience and core competencies gained in a similar VC/PE backed, high growth scale-up environment. It was also agreed that candidates would need to exhibit a firm understanding of the commercial and strategic challenges associated with international scale and growth. It was also agreed that the incoming CFO must be able to demonstrate experience of securing ongoing new lines of Funding including PE investment to enable the business to maintain its fast scale-up trajectory, with demonstrable experience of closing out a sizeable Series B capital raise being a pre-requisite.
Traydstream indicated it was interested in evaluating candidates from a wide range of backgrounds including the FinTech/RegTech verticals but also across the broader B2B SaaS domain, with the emphasis on businesses being at venture/growth stage. We focussed our research on targeting similar B2B SaaS related businesses that had had a liquidity event within the last 18 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 business at venture/growth stage scaling internationally whilst at the same time providing subject matter expertise and sound judgement in discharging their duties in a fast-paced environment with shifting priorities. It was also important to assess their fund raising capabilities and contact across the investor universe.
Following an extensive search, we presented a strong shortlist of four candidates all with experience in supporting and building scalable, high growth SaaS businesses. Candidate 1 was a qualified CA and experienced SaaS CFO with a rare combination of commercial SME and Investment Banking experience. Candidate 2 was a qualified ACA and 20+ years Board level experience driving fast growing B2B technology companies internationally, including several successful SaaS start-ups. Candidate 3 was a qualified FCMA and experienced CFO with 15+ years board level experience with fast paced, high growth, internationally focused SaaS/Tech scale-ups/start-ups. Candidate 4 was an experienced, highly commercial CFO/COO with 20+ years of financial and operational leadership experience supporting investment backed, high growth international technology businesses. All four candidates had extensive fund raising experience covering Series A, B & C rounds.
Client interviews identified strong interest in two of the four that went through to second and third round interviews. The third round interview with the board provided excellent feedback on both candidates suggesting that either one could be offered the role. However, after much deliberation one individual stood out due to their engaging style and approach combined with their experience aligned to Traydstreams desirable wants and needs.
As CFO of a B2B/B2C SaaS business, the individual supported the growth agenda expanding operations into Europe, USA, India and Latin America. In their current role they brought financial discipline, insight, strategic and transaction experience to Board and shareholder discussions on the growth and development of the business. This included significant changes such as a shift away from the Freemium market and a focus back to their core geographies. They also introduced CAC, CLTV ARPU and other key SaaS KPIs and utilised the data to optimise the mix of pricing/features of products and to bring accountability in the business. The individual in question was a seasoned fund raiser and skilled in developing a strategy and then selling the story to raise equity and debt to enable its execution. This included A and B rounds as well as stock exchange listings. Alongside their capital fund raise and investor relations experience, the individual demonstrated strong balance sheet/cash flow management, strong value creation experience, managing debt covenants, driving and leading operational change/transformation, the ability to manage both internal/external stakeholders, and the ability to challenge status quo.
All these capabilities (and more) served to impress Traydstream who duly appointed the executive.