Coupa Software provides real-time analytics for pricing, assortment, demand and competitive metrics in the retail sector. The firm has had a big six months — in October the firm launched a successful IPO, which saw its shares more than double on its first day of trading.
Analysts at the time said the strength of the IPO underscored investors’ appetite for technology. On its own, Coupa has already made its first big acquisition — Spend360, a U.K. firm that provides digital data management solutions, including data analytics, using machine learning and artificial intelligence, for corporate finance and procurement teams.
Many think this will be the first of a few upcoming acquisitions as Coupa adjusts to existence in the public markets and pushes forward on its path to profitability (as of its IPO, Coupa still wasn’t quite there yet).
We talked with Coupa CEO Rob Bernshteyn, about the firm, what it does, how it does it and what comes next.
Coupa’s platform has managed more than $300 billion in business-to-business spend, connected more than 2 million businesses globally and delivered more than $10 billion in customer savings. And the brands they work should be fairly familiar as well — Staples, Fresh Market, the Dollar General, QVC and Adidas are just a handful of names on a very long list.
“Coupa’s platform provides organizations with greater visibility and control over how companies spend money while increasing business-to-business collaboration with their suppliers,” Bernshteyn told PYMNTS. “Coupa’s apps digitize spending across invoicing, travel and expense management, and procurement. Our cloud platform provides the control, agility and visibility critical for businesses to compete, as well as fast ROI. Our customers span all industries, including the world’s largest manufacturing, retail, high-tech, life sciences and health care organizations.”
The firm, he noted, was founded in 2006 by two former Oracle employees with a very simple goal: making buying for work as easy as buying for oneself at home.
“Coupa was built on the simple idea that the way we buy at work shouldn’t be any different than how we buy at home. We believe that it doesn’t matter how powerful a company’s procurement software is on the back end — if employees or suppliers can’t or won’t use it, you won’t save a dime. Most of our customers say using Coupa is just as easy as using consumerized applications, leading to widespread user adoption,” Bernshteyn noted. “Our core value proposition is that by making the spend management process easy to use, organizations reduce rogue or inefficient spending by individuals, save time, digitize processes, increase compliance and ultimately improve a company’s bottom line.”
With the IPO in the rearview, Coupa has a busy year — or five — ahead of them.
“At Coupa, we are relentlessly focused on adding value that drives our customers forward. Profitability never goes out of style, and our momentum reflects an objective that is woven into our DNA: to provide our global customers with the industry’s best solutions that add value to their bottom line.”
What that means cashed out a bit more practically will mean more innovation, more platform updates and greater efforts to build intelligent collaboration between buyers and suppliers where data is used.
And, of course, growth is always desirable. Coupa has grown from a two-man firm to a 600-employee operation doing business in 13 countries. And going forward, they hoping to convince more of that big world where they do business that what they sell as a service is value — not software.
“We get so caught up in focusing on the how versus clearly defining and measuring the what for the value businesses seek. We came up with the concept of value as a service, which was born out of frustration and created out of a genuine desire to create an industry dialogue about where things are going, based on many of the measurable successes we’ve created at Coupa with our customers. This steadfast focus on value has been core to our success over the years,” the CEO noted. “We are now finally at a point where we can safely assume that this transition to the ‘as-a-service’ model will be the general norm over the coming decade. As this transformation takes place, we believe there will be less of a focus on the delivery model, and more on the value delivered over time.”