Interview With Chen Amit
Describe your product or service & the problem it's solving:
“Tipalti was created to solve a real problem: making worldwide payments easy for firms of any size. Its automated accounts payable software manages, executes, and reconciles the entire process of making outbound payments to partners and suppliers. Tipalti is the only global payables solution to streamline all phases of the AP and payment management workflow in one cloud platform.
Its solutions address issues such as supplier onboarding and vetting, tax and regulatory compliance, invoice processing, payments to global suppliers, supplier payment status communications, and payment reconciliation and reporting. Just last year, Tipalti automated more than $36 billion across 200 countries, which was double the amount in 2020.”
How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!
“Chen designed the first supplier payments system for a friend whose ad-tech firm was having challenges with payments across different verticals. Online companies often had lots of invoice-less transactions with customers and vendors in many countries, involving numerous currencies that might be volatile, regulatory issues about data formats, anti-money-laundering and fraud laws, tax and bookkeeping requirements, and each company's proprietary methods for determining how much should be paid for products and services.”
How are you funded? I.e. type of funding, number of funding rounds, total funding amount.
“Tipalti is investor-funded, with our most recent funding round (series F) from December 2021 bringing our total valuation to $8.3 billion.”
How big is your team?
“We have over 1,000 Tipalti team members across our global offices in the US, Israel, Canada, and Europe.”
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Who is your target market? How did you determine this?
“Having the time and resources to keep up with manual financial operations is taxing on any sized organization, but it is particularly difficult for small-to-midsize firms. This section of the market is unique because it is where the need is just as great as a corporation’s, but the funding can be extremely low.
Because of this attention to the mid-market, Tipalti has become a choice vendor for these companies looking to scale rapidly and remains alongside those companies even after they achieve enterprise status.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“Chen pitched customers and developed the code as a “one-person company” for the first year. In fact, Chen even used (and still does) Tipalti to automate the financial processes, and provide him more time to focus on the product and partnerships.
The customer acquisitions were a result of ensuring the growth of Tipalti never compromised the core values that propelled the company in its early stages: agility, humility and hard work. Keeping the internal team aligned and on the same page allowed the company to improve, innovate and grow its bench of users to what is now 2,500+ globally.”
What is your primary marketing strategy?
“Tipalti has marketing operations like PR, social, advertising, events and so on. However, the best way to market a product is through customer advocacy. One of Tipalti's core values is its commitment to customers, and it’s evident by Tipalti's 99% retention rate that it’s effective.
Giving them the best experience is critical, which is why Tipalti always tries to give them the best possible experience by saving them time, money and ultimately making them look good to their bosses.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“Tipalti's retention rate is one of the most significant metrics. With customer service being a tenant of the core business, it’s a signifier, not just of utility, but of Tipalti's ability to support and sustain their growth.
That’s why its 99% retention rate is something of a badge of honor. It illustrates Tipalti's market value in a field where no one quite does what it does. The company is constantly asking itself how it can keep this number - even get it to 100% - in everything it does. As Tipalti continues to expand globally and bring more and more innovation to its offerings, the leadership team is keeping these customers top-of-mind and doing it to ensure they get the best product possible.”
What was the biggest obstacle you encountered while launching your company? How did you overcome it?
“It’s hard to pick just one. When Tipalti was a single-person company for the first year, Chen was building the software, winning customers, integrating with banks, managing operations and supporting customers. Needless to say, when the team doubled the (read: hired another person) in the second year, it was thrilling. Chen says, "There was a lot of pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps and staying nimble."”
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“Entrepreneurship does not have to be in your field of passion. To say I wasn’t interested in payments would be an understatement. In fact, it was and still is incredibly unsexy - but there was a pain point I saw in the process, so I seized the opportunity alongside my co-Founder, Oren Zeev.
We believed enough in ourselves and in our vision for Tipalti to venture into a previously unnavigated field. That belief powered a mindset that allowed us to drop expectations or comparisons to any other startup and build a truly unique and successful company.”
What is your #1 piece of advice for startup founders?
"I know many founders without a business degree and have found the idea that you need one to be successful is all too pervasive and untrue. Sure, it helps with anticipating certain situations like investor relations or building trust with stakeholders. Those soft skills such as leading others, reading people, and understanding motivations are essential in the startup arena, but they cannot be taught in a class."
More on Tipalti
Tipalti is a global fintech company co-founded by Chen Amit that provides powerful payable solution that scales with companies’ changing business needs.
Chen Amit, founder and CEO of Tipalti, joins the podcast to talk about building his fintech company, an investor mistake he learned from, and the value of product-market fit.