Podcast November 22, 2022

Transforming B2B vendor payments with AI

Supercharging vendor decision-making through the power of data is allowing Glean AI to elevate the operational accounts payable process.

On today’s show Scott Ernenwein caught up with Ankur Patel, Founder & Head of Data at Glean AI, the intelligent bill payments solution that gives finance teams visibility and clarity into their vendor spend.

What we talked about:

  • Improving customer experience with machine learning and automation
  • The importance of capturing burn rate amidst our current economic climate
  • How visibility into vendor spend provides transparency for investors
  • The future of Fintech and new revenue streams

Glean AI, challenging the status quo

Glean AI has taken traditional Account Payable software to new heights. They’re the first spend solution to combine smart automation with spend intelligence. The accounts payable platform applies machine learning insights so finance teams can save money. Armed with relevant context into relationships with their vendors, providing detailed insights into cost drivers, and actionable recommendations that help avoid overspending, businesses are using Glean AI to drive profitable spend decisions and power their businesses to grow more intelligently.

Machine Learning, impacting customer experience

Ankur notes that machine learning has matured over the years and Glean AI saw the opportunity to apply its advancements to B2B vendor relationships. The platform provides clients with spend context as they’re paying their vendors, but in the long term, it’s really optimizing spend with intelligence. Processing invoices using machine learning helps their customers analyze vendor spend in the form of invoices, allowing businesses to manage payments and settlements, but also make smarter decisions. The platform captures spend change over desired time periods and streams real-time analytics directly to their clients through the interface. Vendor data mapping is usually cumbersome and manual, but with Glean AI’s embedded machine learning, finance teams are saving money and time spent on mapping invoices to the right entity.

 “Glean has taken a different approach to operational AP software. We don’t want to put the responsibility  on our customer to actually do the data processing themselves. There’s no manual data entry that our clients have to do” – Ankur Patel, Founder & Head of Data

Feel the burn?

Our current economic climate is forcing businesses to take a closer look at burn rate. For companies trying to manage this better, Ankur offers up the idea that there’s opportunity to eliminate certain services that aren’t necessary to have. For example, a lot of companies have credit card based spend, but they don’t receive detailed invoices and have little control over the employee’s automated spend. By moving from credit card spend to invoice based spend, businesses have more time to analyze the burn and get more line item details.

Now that expenditure is being monitored more closely, VC backed start-ups are coming to Glean AI because they have a problem with managing their burn rates. They know if their burn rate stays as is it will be harder for them to raise capital in the next valuation.

“This particular market environment where it’s harder to raise valuation – is attractive to us, because our clients want to have a better sense of burn and manage it better. No one used to care about anything but revenue” – Ankur Patel, Founder & Head of Data

Transparency for investors

Although Glean AI is a flexible solution used by customers to internally manage their spend, it’s providing external transparency for investors. They cater to Series A & B Venture backed startups, so the AP platform is often introduced by VC’s to their portfolio companies. Firms want to see their customers adding Glean AI to their existing tech stack because it adds transparency and allows them to see what they’re spending. Having the capability to analyze and scrutinize vendor spend in an automated fashion provides detailed visibility for all parties.

The future of Fintech, new revenue streams

Fintechs often have one revenue stream selling directly B2B but if they can monetize other channels and incorporate additional revenue streams, Ankur believes, this will give them more stability during uncertain times. For example, Glean AI is considering building out their APIs in addition to their platform experience where customers log into the platform to see their spend and pay it. This will enable other companies to embed invoice processing tech into their offerings, opening up more possibilities for profitability. Ankur notes that the companies who will do well are the ones that can pivot so they’re not just relying on one type of growth.

“I think the Fintech companies that will fare the best are the ones that think about monetizing across different lines of business.” – Ankur Patel, Founder & Head of Data

Glean AI, looking ahead

Although Glean AI was born to serve venture-backed Fintechs, they’re ready to identify new untapped sectors such as hospitality and healthcare. Glean AI eventually sees themselves becoming an “introducing marketplace” from a spend management perspective. Ankur adds that they’re exploring the opportunity to process contracts and POs as well as AR to expand their footprint and help more businesses manage their burn rates.

We’re looking forward to seeing what’s in store!

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Until next time!


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