Sramana Mitra: How long did you stay at Oracle?
Nilay Banker: I was at Oracle for 10 years. On the first day of my 11th year, I decided it was enough. I had a lot of fun. I actually had a great opportunity to work with Larry Ellison for an extended period of time. At that time, I was responsible for the development of oracle.com for our portal product. I got to meet with Larry Ellison on a weekly basis.
Sramana Mitra: What happens next? What’s the next career move?
Nilay Banker: That’s when I decided that I need to figure out how things happen on the other side, which is not the software provider but more of a software consumer. I went off and took a job as a CIO at a manufacturing company in California. That was the beginning of what made me an entrepreneur. In that role, I started seeing how software is used by companies, most specifically, around enterprise resource planning and financial software. I was there for about two and a half years. My role was to bring in transformation within that company, which had just gone public.
Sramana Mitra: How big a company was it?
Nilay Banker: When I started, they were about $50 million in revenue. By the time I left, they had reached $200 million. Right after they went public, in order to sustain that growth, what was very important is the right kind of systems and processes. That is where I started seeing opportunities not just for that particular company but, potentially, for other companies to help medium-sized corporation to develop and deploy horizontal business processes through a combination of business process engineering and technology solutions. That’s where the idea was born.
In about two and a half years, I decided to start something on my own. We started off as a management consulting firm helping large companies re-engineer their business processes. Within a couple of years, one of the things that just accidentally fell into our laps was the whole problem around accounts payable and invoice processing. I had very little idea about what that meant. I’m not a finance person by any stretch of the imagination. The problem, itself, excited me because I started seeing a pattern with a lot of companies that we were providing services to.
The same problem existed everywhere. The finance departments and their accounts payables departments were really struggling with, what seemed to me, a very simple business operation. That is actually where things started. It’s the genesis of Inspyrus.
Sramana Mitra: What was your approach to solving this problem? Were you going to build software? Was it consulting services?
Nilay Banker: We started off with consulting services. Typically in business process re-engineering, we look at the as-is process and come up with a to-be process. Then we explain to our client the delta between that and what is required to achieve process efficiency. In this case, what was really required was a technology solution but, more importantly, a very different approach to using technology to solve that particular problem.
We looked at a lot of different solutions and companies who were providing solutions to address that space. There have been companies out there for a good 20 to 30 years doing classic document imaging and workflows. What we realized was that every single one of those companies were doing things exactly the same way. There had been no innovation in the market. Everybody was talking about document or image capture. They were talking about OCR. It started and ended there.
Interestingly enough, nobody thought of a different approach. That is where we said, “Let’s just come up with something radically different.” We developed our software product that not only uses the best in technology, but uses a completely different approach.