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Thought Leaders in Financial Technology: Sashi Narahari, CEO of HighRadius (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Jul 20th 2020

Companies like Blackline, Bill.com, Anaplan all automate various CFO office functions. HighRadius is yet another excellent company automating a piece of the finance function.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with some introduction about your own background as well as High Radius.

Sashi Narahari: I’m the Founder and CEO of HighRadius. I’m from India and came to the US to do my Masters. I became an entrepreneur two years out of college. High Radius is an enterprise SaaS company specifically focused on accounts receivable and working capital optimization and helping companies get paid faster.

Sramana Mitra: What segment do you cater to? Is it large enterprises? Mid sized enterprises? Small businesses?

Sashi Narahari: Historically, we’ve catered to large enterprises. We just launched our mid-market offering last week. This is not necessarily for the SMBs. 

Sramana Mitra: How many customers do you have? How big is the footprint?

Sashi Narahari: We have over 450 customers. About half of them are Fortune 1000. We have two headquarters: Houston in the US and Hyderabad in India. We have locations in London, Amsterdam, Germany, and we’re just starting in Toronto.

Sramana Mitra: Are you a venture-funded company or a bootstrapped company?

Sashi Narahari: I bootstrapped for about 12 years. Then I did two rounds in the last two years – Series A and Series B.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s talk about the landscape. Who are your competitors? Who are your partners? Let’s start with competitors and partners to get a sense of the ecosystem.

Sashi Narahari: I’ll give you the big picture. We sell to the office of the CFO. Of the top seven functions that they need to solve, we fit into one of them, which is receivables automation. We are the market leader in that.

There are other sectors like procure-to-pay. Coupa is the top player there. Then there’s Blackline and Anaplan doing other things in the ecosystem. Our direct competitor is Billtrust in the US. 

Sramana Mitra: What are the trends in terms of what you’re able to do? What’s new? What’s different? What’s cutting edge?

Sashi Narahari: We started in this business 14 years back. If you think about the CFO’s office, A/R and A/P was a fairly back office function. What has happened with the emergence of AI and the cloud is that it has become one of the hottest sectors. These are severely underserved problems.

Most of the funding went after sales and marketing. If you think about the office of the CFO, the main function is mostly related to working with data, whether it’s collections or payable. With the emergence of AI, the level of automation that we’re able to bring is very disruptive.

The CFO has the unique opportunity to become a digital CFO’s office. Historically, they were back office bookkeepers. Now with the emergence of automation, the CFO’s office can be more strategic and be more of business partners to their peers.

Sramana Mitra: I have two questions. First is, give me some use cases where you’re using AI in the receivables function.

Sashi Narahari: I’ll give you two. Think of this as billing your customers, and your customers transfer money to your bank. Then you have teams that are applying that cash in our system and figuring out what invoices got paid.

It is basically doing the whole A/R reconciliation. We completely automate that. We know the payment patterns of these customers. We know the amounts and invoices. We automatically clear them. It’s one of our hottest products.

Almost all the bigger banks like Citibank and Bank of America white-label and resell our solution. That’s one use case. That automation rate that we have gotten is almost 86% across all our clients.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Thought Leaders in Financial Technology: Sashi Narahari, CEO of HighRadius
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