Growing fast can be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it’s a sure sign a company is doing something right. On the other hand, a company that isn’t prepared for that growth could quickly become stretched too thin. That’s where a Chief Growth Officer can come in handy.
Startup AvidXchange has been on a fast-growth trajectory for the past few years, growing 40 percent year over year with an eye to accelerating even more in the near future. Keeping pace with that growth, said CEO and Co-Founder Michael Praeger, means having a ringmaster in place over various channels and their operations, from marketing functions to distribution.
As a business, Praeger said, the startup has multiple distribution channels to manage, including direct sales in various vertical markets, sales of its accounts payable automation product, partnerships with different accounting systems, partnerships with resellers and, since last year, distribution through a formal bank channel with Mastercard.
Each of those channels has its own marketing support and programs, said Praeger, along with individual go-to-market strategies — and these are overseen by various sales leaders and product marketing leaders. It was time to create a structure to keep all those things in alignment so the startup could take advantage of any opportunities that presented themselves.
Praeger said that’s why AvidXchange decided to bring on a Chief Growth Officer of its own. The startup’s new executive, Dan Drees, hails from Fiserv, where he helped financial institutions and their clients cut costs and complexity around fraud and compliance via process automation and analytics.
Prior to leading the fraud and risk solutions business at Fiserv, Drees accrued more than 25 years’ experience as a senior FinTech executive by working with companies and financial institutions such as GE, Bank of America, Ally and Capital One.
Praeger said that this variety is what made Drees an attractive candidate, since the Chief Growth Officer will have to fulfill a dynamic role across many functions and types of distribution — including the bank channel, which is still new territory for AvidXchange.
Overall, said Praeger, the startup has had to add new employees and teammates due to its rapid growth, bringing its workforce up to 1,200 employees. He said Drees is “one of the last pieces to the puzzle” in terms of senior leadership and positioning AvidXchange for the future. The company also brought on senior leaders Joel Wilhite (CFO) and Steve Boehm (COO) last year.
“Putting the right people in the right seat unlocks opportunities,” Praeger said. “This proactive approach ensures that we are prepared for whatever may come.”