Sramana Mitra: One of the trends in your industry is, cloud software companies are starting to offer FinTech solutions. I wrote an article about Intuit very recently. It was a few days ago. It’s called “What is Intuit’s most promising long-term opportunity?” This was an analysis of how they’re offering this QuickBooks financing product whereby they’re basically lending money to their constituency of businesses who qualify.
They’re measuring the qualification by looking at the data that they have. It’s a very well thought through strategy. I really like it. I actually think that that could be an enormous business for Intuit going forward. I’ve had conversations with Brad and Alex over there. What is the thinking around this in your shop?
Rob Reid: I agree with you. That is a great opportunity for them since they’re dealing with very small businesses. To get any kind of additional financing, they have to go to banks or credit unions. It’s not as easy for them to get funds. That provides them a great opportunity.
We typically are working with more established firms. They have enough of a revenue stream and balance sheet so that it’s pretty easy for them to get bank loans from the likes of Silicon Valley. We could be dealing with public companies that have gotten funding from an IPO. That, for us, is not as great of an opportunity as it is for somebody like Intuit. It’s not high on our initiative list. We’d be going up against very established relationships.
In Northern California, Silicon Valley Bank really understands software companies and what it takes to finance them. For us to go and try and compete with them would be pulling us away from what we know best. It would start to draw away from the opportunity that we have in front of us. We’re going through a new change.
Nineteen years ago, we went through the client server to cloud trend. Today, we’re going through the same kind of incredible change as we’re going toward machine learning and artificial intelligence. That’s going to provide exponential improvements over the next few years. We’re making heavy investments in how to take our customers to a whole other level of being able to do financial planning. That’s where our focus is for the future.
Sramana Mitra: Can you walk us through a couple of use cases of what kinds of things you’re doing with AI and machine learning in the space?
Rob Reid: We have talked to our customers about where we’re going. We’re still in the development with some of these things, but I will reflect on the kind of direction we’re moving in to be able to exemplify the power of machine learning and AI.