Enterprise Times had the opportunity to speak to Rob Israch, Chief Marketing Officer & Alliances of Tipalti during SuiteWorld 19. He was in a jubilant mood. Tipalti has just won its first SuiteApp award. Israch commented: “It was a great surprise to us. It was the first time winning a SuiteApp. It was pretty great.
“We were called out in that same partner session because we rolled out in alignment with NetSuite’s strategy to go to the emerging markets. We’ve been able to do a little bit of the SuiteSuccess style of implementation using their best practices. We decided to roll out an express package. Ourselves and Dell Boomi were called out as adapting to the new model.
“We have been working together with them (NetSuite) for about six months. We have been sitting with them, understanding SuiteSuccess and their benchmark.”
Tipalti was also named an Oracle NetSuite 2019 Partner of the Year. Guido Haarmans, Vice President, SuiteCloud Developer Network and Partner Programs at Oracle NetSuite commented: “We are pleased to recognize Tipalti’s Global AP & Supplier Payments Automation solution as the 2019 SuiteApp of the Year, and to have the company as one of our 2019 Partners of the Year. The significant benefits that Tipalti’s accounts payable automation solution delivers to our global customer base made it a well-deserved choice for this award.”
The recognition by Oracle NetSuite is especially significant. It should help Tipalti demonstrate its leadership in an increasingly crowded market. Companies such as Bill.com and AvidXchange were also on show at SuiteWorld
Tipalti product roadmap 2019
Keeping that leadership is not achieved through solely winning awards. Enterprise Times asked Israch what changes customers can expect to see in the product during the next year.
“The Netsuite integration, we are going deeper there. We are building additional capabilities on the integration and configuration side. It is really a plug and play for the integration where the configuration is very user friendly. That is definitely in the works and starting as we speak. It just enhances the experience.”
Recently Tipalti announced its integration to Procurify and Tesorio. A few months ago it completed an integration with Sovos as well. All three are NetSuite partners and Tipalti continues to improve its integration. At the moment Tipalti integrates to two ERP/Accounting solutions, QuickBooks Online and NetSuite. ET asked Israch if Tipalti will integrate with other solutions.
Israch answered: “Yes, we definitely are. Other ERP’s on the roadmap are Intacct, QuickBooks Desktop and more are in the near future. There are so many other ERP’s out there, such as Xero. Some of these we may not build dedicated integrations with. We already have an API with them. We have customers on Oracle, Intacct, Xero, QuickBooks Desktop and a number of other systems. The API is very strong but you need IT time for that. We are creating an FTP interface as well. That’s also in the near future. That will make it pretty easy to integrate to other applications. The FTP solution is likely the focus for on-premise legacy solutions, with cloud systems more likely to use the API.”
Tipalti is also looking to leverage the recent growth of iPaaS solutions. It is talking with Apiant. This means that Tipalti will soon be capable of connecting its AP solution to virtually any ERP and Accounting solution and deliver a choice for customers on how they complete that integration.
How is 2019 looking
With awards won and a product roadmap defined, ET asked Israch what the future holds for Tipalti in terms of business success. Israch responded: “We just finished our first quarter and it is by far our best Q1 ever, in terms of orders of magnitude. We are seeing particular growth in NetSuite and QuickBooks. NetSuite is by far the bigger revenue, because of the nature of the customers, but Quickbooks has strong growth and that has come from a low base.
“We have almost 500 customers now, a good chunk has NetSuite or QuickBooks. A good chunk is using ERP but they are not integrated with it. We have quite a few that are using different systems – not using an API to integrate and that works pretty well.
“It comes in all different flavours. Statistically more customers who are NetSuite customers were on NetSuite first. The next level after that is typically accounts payable because it’s the single most time consuming function in Finance right now. The IFM survey in 2018 controllers reiterate that, in four straight years that has come up as the most time consuming process. It the last place you want to have a manual process, it is not a great retention tool. Finance retention is a pretty big challenge these days.“
What about challenges?
Despite, or perhaps because of the recent success there are also challenges for any firm. ET asked Israch what ones Tipalti faced.
“Keeping up with growth is definitely a challenge. We announced quite a number of new employees. It is the biggest quarter for hiring new employees to keep up with the growth. As you keep up with the growth we have just focused on the mission, value and the culture. Execution and the focus on customer is front and centre.
“We are building out the finance team. We announced a CFO a few months back, we are now hiring a controller and a head of HR. So it is that kind of infrastructure. When I started four and half years ago we were 19, now we are about 180/190. Its been a dramatic growth and it has accelerated.”
It is the kind of growth where startups often fail to grasp the change in organisational processes its needs. If it does so, it often forgets its values. Tipalti appears to be growing with both in mind, if it succeeds in the tricky balancing act the future will be good.
Geographical expansion imminent
The Tipalti team is mainly based in Israel and the US. Are they considering opening offices elsewhere? According to Israch, 25% of the customer base is non-US. Those are mainly in Europe and several are in APAC. The biggest markets are Canada, UK, Germany and Israel. In APAC it has customers in Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. Tipalti is likely to consider opening up an office in Europe first, Israch believes. However, that is unlikely to happen in the current calendar year and Israch is unsure where it will open. Without a doubt Brexit and what happens with the political situation will play a part in the final decision.
Expansion is not just measured by new integrations and geographies though. Tipalti is also looking to extend its reach through financial institutions. Israch added: “The other thing we are working on is that we already integrate with Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase. We have had banks coming to us, but for that future to scale we are looking at other options.”
How will that help? Israch continued: “We primarily serve the mid-market, 20 to 1,000 employee companies. Beside the ERP and banking relationship we are adding a lot of advanced capabilities throughout the year on the accounts payable workflow management side. Companies in that upper mid market have some additional requirements.”
Aligning with NetSuite
Having won partners awards from NetSuite ET wondered how Tipalti was aligning itself closer to NetSuite. Dell Boomi recently announced that it had produced a SuiteSuccess solution for eCommerce. Is Tipalti likely to do something similar and does it align itself with the same verticals that NetSuite does?
Israch answered: “We haven’t organised our business yet in a vertical way. I think we will to some effect. We know in which verticals we align with NetSuite, it is not always 1:1. The digital economy is one. It is really three verticals, one is AdTech which aligns with NetSuite’s AMP and a little with Software too. The other big vertical is ecommerce where there is definite alignment with Retail. There are a lot of joint customers with NetSuite. Online services is another.
“Two verticals we are well aligned with NetSuite is Software and Tech, another is business services. Manufacturing is a fast growing one, we released a two way, three way matching capability in NetSuite. Now that we have released that tends to relate more to the product world. Manufacturers that have a lot of supplier around the world we align well with.”
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
With only 500 customers it is little surprising that Tipalti is only on the cusp of aligning itself vertically. It seems like the development efforts are more to service increasingly larger and more complex organisations as well as delivering solutions for other systems.
The problem for Tipalti is that while it raised $30 million in a Series C funding round last February it cannot deliver everything for the market. It had a busy expo at SuiteWorld and by offering solutions on widely used solutions in the US such as Intact and Xero, it can leverage its existing US salesforce to accelerate that growth. Its cautious geographic expansion is sensible, however it will need to be wary of competitors who steal a march on them by opening offices abroad.
Importantly, Tipalti seems poised, rather than over extended, for growth. It will be interesting to see whether it looks to raise further funds to accelerate that growth, especially considering the growth trajectory of NetSuite. It may need further funds to keep up.