One year after serving as Chief Financial Officer of Stripe Inc., Dhivya Suryadevara is working to grow the payment processor finance team, strengthen their reporting capabilities and invest in their business, building on some of the knowledge gained during his years at General Motors. Co.
Ms. Suryadevara joined the San Francisco-based financial technology company last October, after more than 15 years at GM, including two as chief financial officer. The move, which surprised some analysts and recruiters at the time, propelled her into a leadership position to drive Stripe’s growth.
Like its rivals Square Inc. and PayPal Holdings Inc.,
Stripe processes payments for ecommerce businesses, keeping a tiny portion of each purchase as a fee for its services. Founded in 2009, Stripe has expanded to include services like Stripe Tax, which helps businesses calculate and collect taxes, and Stripe Identity, an online verification tool.
A funding round earlier this year valued the private company at $ 95 billion, and the growth of e-commerce during the Covid-19 pandemic has boosted its business.
Bringing in a CFO of a state-owned company like Ms Suryadevara signaled to investors that Stripe may be heading for a listing, analysts said at the time. The company has laid the groundwork for an initial public offering that it could continue in late 2021 or early 2022, the Wall Street Journal previously reported. For that, it needs the skills and systems to file quarterly earnings reports with the SEC, which is not necessary as long as Stripe remains a private company.
Asked about the potential of an IPO, Ms. Suryadevara said: “Opportunistically, we are always looking for new investments. If it makes sense to raise capital effectively, we will. ”
The CFO said she didn’t pay close attention to the online payments industry until she discovered Stripe. She quickly picked up on the new role, according to her former and current colleagues.
“She spends hours engaging internally with the product and engineering teams, and externally with our ecosystem partners, as well as with the CFOs of many of our key users,” said Patti Kangwankij, Head of Corporate Finance and Strategy at Stripe, who reports to Ms. Suryadevara.
Ms Kangwankij previously worked under Will Gaybrick, the company’s former CFO who also served as product manager and payments manager. Mr. Gaybrick has held the sole title of Product Manager since July.
Ms. Suryadevara “brings an excellent blend of deep financial expertise, long-term thinking and operational acumen,” said Mr. Gaybrick.
At General Motors, Ms. Suryadevara has earned a reputation for being meticulous and results-oriented, as well as an excellent communicator, and she brought these skills to her new role, analysts and colleagues said.
“When we were looking at an issue, she had clearly thought about it and encouraged us to dig holes in her logic,” said Rocky Gupta, GM treasurer, who worked under Ms. Suryadevara for several years. Mr Gupta said that an important thing Ms Suryadevara had taught him was how to make profit forecasts during times of uncertainty, for example in 2019, when GM’s US factories were suffering from a strike week.
“There are often things that are difficult to quantify,” Mr. Gupta said.
Ms Suryadevara said she considers allocating capital for Stripe’s expansion to be an essential part of her job. Whether in a public or private company, the role of the CFO is essentially the same, she said. “Public or private, you want to think long term,” she said.
Working with stakeholders is a priority, Ms. Suryadevara said. “At GM, it was the suppliers and the dealers. Here the banks are the bones, our users are the muscles and we are the cartilage, ”she said.
Stripe is working on a vision for 2031, and the CFO plays an important role in defining next steps and how to get there, according to Ms. Kangwankij.
“We want to make sure we have the right infrastructure and the right backbone [in place]Ms. Suryadevara said. She declined to comment on the company’s budget for such investments and the number of people working in its finance department.
Stripe, which launched in 11 countries this year, bringing the total to 46, is expected to add insurance and other banking services to its portfolio soon, said Robert Le, senior analyst at data firm PitchBook. It already offers more than 30 local payment methods as well as treasury services and bank accounts, the latter with partners including Goldman Sachs Group. Inc.
and Barclays PLC. Square and PayPal are also expanding their product line.
Investors have confidence in Stripe and its leadership, said Hemant Taneja, managing partner of General Catalyst, a venture capital firm that has owned a stake in Stripe since 2010.
“As investors, we feel pretty good about having a good corporate pulse,” Mr. Taneja said, referring to Stripe’s interactions with its shareholders. Ms Suryadevara is a “very operational” CFO and is not “afraid to get her hands dirty,” Taneja said.
Write to Nina Trentmann at [email protected]
Corrections and amplifications
General Catalyst has been an investor in Stripe Inc. since 2010. An earlier version of this article incorrectly gave the year 2012. (Corrected October 1)
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