This interview is taken from an episode of the Spend Culture Stories podcast. In this episode, Jake Tyler, the CEO of Finn.ai shares his insights with host Dani Hao on the future of conversational banking, scaling a business effectively with spend culture, and balancing growth perspectives while also being financially responsible.
About the Podcast:
Your company culture might attract talent, but your Spend Culture will make or break your company. Spend Culture Stories is a podcast that helps finance leaders learn the tactics, strategies, and processes to build a proactive Spend Culture. Learn how to pick the right tools, implement the most efficient processes, and how to develop the right people to transform the Spend Culture of your organization for the better.
How This CEO is Changing Banking with AI
On location at the annual BC Tech Summit, we were able to sit down with Jake Tyler, the CEO of Finn.ai. Finn.ai is one of the fastest growing tech companies within BC, and they recently raised a $14 mil Series in back in October 2018. Utilizing conversational AI, Finn.ai is creating an entirely new way to interact with your bank. Getting recommendations, tips and coaching on finances in real time from a virtual assistant sounds futuristic, however it’s a real solution that Finn.ai is providing right now.
We talked to Jake Tyler about leveraging spend to accelerate growth, scaling a financially responsible startup, and navigating the choppy waters of investor expectation after funding a big round.
On tracking and managing spend after funding:
Jake Tyler [00:05:23]: Alongside that A round comes more board control and then as you think about managing spend you have some additional stakeholders in the reporting structure as a result of that more formal board. So that’s been a bit of a change for us as we’ve moved into the into the sort of post a side of things and as more infrastructure that we’re building up suddenly as the company evolves from A through B and beyond you there is those new investors are really investing or historical performance.
We need to do a lot more to build up the infrastructure of reporting and then also as a result of that modeling out for the future for the period up to the ground. You know I think things are done. It’s probably no less well organized fashion at least they were in our case. So you know I I took my my business school skills and did a lot of the financial modeling including myself. And then we had a small tight internal finance team that was doing a lot of our sort of historical reporting. So not a super sophisticated process historically and slowly becoming more actually quite quickly becoming more sophisticated as as we move through different financing stages.
On using expense reporting versus spreadsheets as a primary tool:
Jake Tyler [00:06:53]: [We definitely use] a mix of both. We use a number of different cloud sort of services and pieces of software for tracking expenses and and bookkeeping and so forth. Most of our forward looking financials are managed through as an Excel model so both the management forecast and any investor sort of five year forecast managed that way alongside our cash flow forecast.
So those are the those are the two sort of components that we’re looking at or looking at alongside our board every quarter and making sure that where we’re matching our cash burn and forecast cash burn to the risk that the investors and management team is interested in taking on.