Tesorio Founders Carlos Vega and Fabio Fleitas on Automating Accounts Receivable

Tesorio Founders Carlos Vega and Fabio Fleitas

In this IA40 spotlight episode, Managing Director Hope Cochran talks with Tesorio Co-founders Carlos Vega and Fabio Fleitas about getting finance teams out of the world of manual, error-prone and inefficient spreadsheets and equipping them with intelligent applications more common in other parts of a company. That’s where Tesorio comes in — they offer automation solutions designed to help companies manage accounts receivable — in other words, they help companies turn their revenue into cash. The platform replaces that tedious and manual collections processes with accurate, real-time predictions, optimized workflows, and actionable insights based on behavioral trends. Tesorio raised a $17M Series B in July to expand its go-to-market efforts and last year landed on Madrona’s list of the country’s top 40 intelligent applications, a list we launched to recognize companies applying machine learning to solve business problems better than ever before. We think these intelligent applications will define the next generation of innovation and shift the SaaS technology landscape into application intelligence.

In this episode, Hope, Carlos, and Fabio dive into where the idea for Tesorio came from, how the company pivoted from the original idea, how these two met, the hard conversations any co-founders should have before deciding to launch a company together, and so much more.

This transcript was automatically generated and edited for clarity.

Hope: Hello, everyone. I am Hope Cochran, I’m a Managing Director at Madrona Venture Group. I am excited today to be with Carlos Vega, the CEO and co-founder of Tesorio and Fabio Fleitas the co-founder and CTO of Tesorio. You know, When I think back to when I met these two fun friends, I was excited by the fact that they were all about solving the problem of forecasting cash flow. I am a recovering CFO for those of you that don’t know me — I have spent many, many hours of my life in spreadsheets trying to forecast cash flow and often getting it wrong, and often being an area where there was a lot of errors. There’s so many pieces that go into forecasting cash flow, whether it be the AR ,the working capital, the AP, that all amounts to what is your ending cash balance going to be. So when I met these two, and that was their vision to solve, I immediately identified with the problem, and we were off to the races. So we’ve been on quite a journey together, and I just welcome you two to this podcast today. Thank you, Carlos and Fabio.

Carlos: Yeah, thank you so much, Hope. I’m really excited to be here.

Fabio: Thank you.

Hope: I know the moment I met you all, and that’s when I got to be a part of your journey, but let’s start with where you all came up with the idea for Tesorio and solving this problem.

Carlos: Yeah, thanks. This is Carlos — thanks so much, Hope. Before beginning to Tesorio, I spent about a decade working in finance. Most recently, I spent a couple of years working at Lizard doing investment banking in Latin America, and while I was there, I actually co-founded a factoring business. Factoring for those who are not aware is purchasing of receivables at a discount so that people can get their cash flow now instead of waiting to be paid. You know, what we were trying to do is say, “Hey, look, let us help you with your cash flow and model it out, and then wean you off a factor and get you a proper line of credit at a bank.” But folks weren’t really biting. The way it ended up feeling is almost like payday lending for business. Where we’re providing those discounts, providing people the money up front, but they weren’t really taking the advantage of a better way of doing things.

When I went to business school, I knew there had to be a better way, and that’s what I was out to solve. So, we started with accounts receivable because, given that experience with factoring and other things along the way, what we realized was what people really needed around cash flow was predictability. And the most volatile part of cash flow that you don’t control is your cash inflows because any money going out the door, you have agency over, right? You can choose not to mail a check. You can choose to slow down your hiring. But you can’t really force someone to pay you. And one of our customers said it best — Steven Odell, who was at Slack at the time, said, “Revenue’s not real until you get paid.” So, when we start thinking about that, it’s like, all right, what does that mean? At the end of the day, it means that you grow the business. You have this revenue, but in order to generate value, you have to have the cash to pay for your expenses, provide returns to your shareholders, and fund future investments. When we started looking at what we could do we said, look, can we provide software that helps folks manage the day-to-day so that they’re not stuck in spreadsheets? And also give them that predictability they need so they can plan for future growth. And at the end of the day, you know, that’s what we have here with Tesorio. It was an important problem for every business to fund their growth with their cash flow. And it was a problem that we discovered a lot of folks had that we could solve.

Hope: I love that concept because, really, it’s so basic and yet, so true that revenue is not real until you get paid. Truly we know that we need the cash in our bank to pay the expenses, the most basic concept out there. And yet, somehow, it’s such a challenge to not only forecast when it’s going to come in, but know it’s going to come in, have that certainty. And so, you all do a fabulous job of looking at patterns and ensuring that we can approach those payees at the right time and ensure those payments and also help with that predictability. So again, “Cash is king” is the mantra here, and how can we help businesses maximize that?

Carlos: Right. And you know, what’s a funny part about it? How many times have you not gone out with some friends and spotted someone a couple of bucks, and you’re like, “You know what, don’t worry about it.” Cause it’s kind of awkward to tell your friend, “Hey, remember I spotted you $20 bucks last time? Can you give me $20 bucks back?” You just forget it. And you go on. It’s an awkward conversation, even personally. And in business, if you think about it, a lot of things happen, and you close a contract, you sign it. That’s perfect. But then going to have that conversation or remind someone, “Hey, remember we closed this contract, and we’ve been doing business for the last three months. You still owe me some money.” It’s not comfortable for any of us. Yet, folks were still doing this in spreadsheets. And what would you do with a BDR that took your entire database and just blasted the same message to everyone? What would you do with a sales team that didn’t even have a CRM if you’re looking at investing at this company? Well, that’s actually what finance teams are living with. A lot of companies we’re finding are sending the same message to everyone. And then, not using that information the right ways, as you were saying, as inputs to forecast cash. Every little bit of information about who is trustworthy when they say “I’m going to pay you by next Friday?” Who says they’re going to do it, but they don’t pay that? Or who consistently pays late or has a certain pattern? All these things can be discovered with algorithms. And then you can use that to make your cashflow more predictable, as you’re saying, not only to anticipate when you’re going to get paid but also to know when you should follow up with someone and do that the right way. It’s kind of interesting, everyone was doing this in spreadsheets when we came along.

Hope: I attest to that. Everyone does this in spreadsheets before Tesorio. I did that myself, and I experienced it many times. I think many people are still amazed by how messy and manual the back office is. You made the comment that the BDRs, the sales team, they have lots of CRM tools or different tools to help them in the sales world as people are focused on getting the revenue in the door. But then the finance team that’s trying to get the cash in the door is really based on messy workflows and complicated spreadsheets that often break. I often bring this to my friends and peers about how messy the back office still is, and they’re always surprised. But I lived it, and I know it, and I have the scars to show for it. And I love the fact that you all are bringing that solution to bear.

One of the things that I want to explore with the two of you, since I’m so fortunate to have both of you on this with me, is when starting a company, finding that partner or co-founder is difficult and challenging and yet so vital. I often say that the co-founder relationship or the founder relationship is harder than marriage. There are so many nuances, your lives are so intertwined. You guys have been at this now for a while, and I’ve really enjoyed working with both of you and your partnership. I’d love to hear how you found each other, what you feel was complementary in skills, etc.

Fabio: So, Carlos and I met actually, while we were both in college. I happened to be an undergrad in computer science at the University of Pennsylvania, and Carlos was in business school over at Wharton. We were both independently involved in tech entrepreneurship in Philly / Penn. I had at the time co-founded a fellowship program that got funded by the city of Philadelphia to get students from all around the world to come work at Philly-based tech startups. And so, I was getting really involved with the tech community there. Carlos was running a group at Penn called Founders Club that was helping other like-minded students that are interested in entrepreneurship or founding a company to work with each other. How we ended up meeting was because of a professor. He was starting a brand new class that was focused on tech entrepreneurship, and he kind of recruited Carlos and I independently to get students to join his class. He wanted both business students and computer science students at the time, which was a very unusual mixture in school usually. And from there, I remember still meeting Carlos in one of the sessions with talking with the professor he had applied to Wharton with an idea of Tesorio. So, we met there and started working together. Carlos is originally from Panama, I’m actually originally from Cuba. We’re both native Spanish speakers — we both immigrated to the U.S. as kids. So, we had that connection between us. And then, before actually making it an official co-founder relationship, Carlos and I both actually worked together for about a year. And then spent another nine months or so before getting into YCombinator. So, for us, it was actually very important to work together. And Hope, as you said, it’s a little bit like marriage. This time that we spent together is basically almost like we were dating before we decided, “Hey, we have a good relationship together, we can work together long term.” And at that point, obviously, it gets to become a very serious thing. And so we had the opportunity to work together before making it official.

Hope: I love that — definitely understanding each other’s working styles, knowing what each other’s strengths and weaknesses are, is so important to going into this. And, just having really honest, and I want to say hard conversations — don’t know if you both did that. But I really encourage my founders to have those: What does your life look like? What are the things that work in your life and don’t work? I’m curious. Did you all explore that together so you would know that you had the same values going into starting a company?

Carlos: Yeah, totally. I would say that you’re spot on, Hope. Making sure that you have the value alignment just in life generally is so critical just because when you are starting a company, your core values are so key to the success of the culture, and culture is everything, especially once you get 50 people or so. And that, I’d say, is one of the key things we aligned on. And then the other one — talking about hard conversations, which we had a couple of times. But figuring out how you are going to split the work is something founders sometimes avoid in the early days, but you have to have that conversation. And then also, “How are we going to split the equity?” That’s a really basic conversation that could lead to a lot of awkward situations down the line if you don’t have it early on. To anyone who is getting into a co-founder relationship, you can’t avoid those.

Fabio: To add to that. I love to say that Carlos and have a really great working relationship. I think we respect one another. We know what we are good at, and what we’re bad at. And with that, we can support one another and go through all of this journey of building a company together. And I think again, having a great co-founder is arguably one of the most important things for the success of a company. And although it is difficult, it is one of the most important early decisions you’ll make. And finding that right person that you can gel with, that you can have the right values with, and work together and see a long-term relationship and success with is really important.

Hope: Yeah. You mentioned knowing your strengths and weaknesses. I often find that we’re attracted to people that are similar to us, and yet that’s not what you want as a co-founder. You want someone who’s good at the things you’re bad at, and that’s a little bit of a stretch — sometimes it shouldn’t be your best friend who is exactly like you. Can you guys talk a little bit about some of the ways you complement each other?

Carlos: That’s a great point. Right? And it was one of the reasons, like Fabio mentioned, this professor was putting together people from the business school and the engineering school and the design school. Because most of what was happening at the time on Penn’s campus was, business school students would go try and start something together and engineers would go and start something together. And people weren’t really mixing, and Fabio and I were very fortunate to meet. From a skill perspective, Fabio is an engineer and I’m not. I can’t do what he does. And I’ve got the finance background, and I love product and sales. Where we overlap is that he likes product, but he can actually build product. Then also, just more broadly, it’s interesting from a personality standpoint, it’s good to have a balance, right? Like I’m more passionate, more excitable, you know, I have more highs and lows, and I live with the passion and energy of everything that’s going on. And Fabio’s just even and steady the whole way. And those types of things are really valuable as well. Because it’s good to have both and have that complementarity. And then, from a pure skills perspective, I really admire Fabio’s ability to just work on a process and be extremely organized. He can’t live without his to-do lists. We all joke at the company that if Todoist were to go down, I think Fabio would stop breathing or something because everything goes on a Todoist.

Fabio: It’s pretty true.

Hope: Well, let’s jump into what Tesorio does. And I always like to look at companies from the lens of the customers. You guys have a tremendous list of customers — really amazing logos and names.o name a few, we’ve got Twilio and Slack and Couchbase, Smartsheet and many, many others. What do your customers give you feedback on what they love about Tesorio?

Carlos: Accounts receivable automation is like the core of how we started. That’s the workflow bit. For those who aren’t as familiar with the back office as you were mentioning, Hope, everyone knows there’s big sales teams out there closing a lot of business, but then in the back office in finance, you’ve got maybe a handful of people. At a company as big as Veeva, you’re talking about 15 people. Slack when they got acquired for $27 billion, only had two or three people in the back office doing this. And what these folks are doing when I say, “doing this,” they’re following up with your customers to make sure you get paid. So, what the customers tell us all the time that they like is, “Hey, your product feels like it was built by a collector — like one of us built it.” And so that’s pretty exciting to see. And then when you look at the stats — our DAU/MAU, the daily active user over monthly active user, is actually almost 20% higher than Slack’s. So, if you use Slack a lot, which we all do every day, or some of us use Teams — imagine something that gets used 20% more by the teams that use it. Like literally doing your job is using this tool. Again, what people say and what they love is like, “Hey, this feels like it was built by one of us,” and then the stats back that up because it’s what they need to do their job.

Hope: One of the things I loved when I met you both was the fact that you talk in DAUs over MAUs, meaning how many daily active users versus monthly active users that is not a common KPI for a SaaS company. And yet it shows the engagement and the amount of time that your users are in your application. I think I’ve also heard you say, Carlos, that you want it to be the coffee mug experience.

Carlos: When we talk about that is, what we want, what we strive for is that this is the first thing you look at in the morning if you’re in finance. And for a lot of our customers, I kid you not, it’s one of their default tabs in Chrome. So, every time they open up Chrome, Tesorio, next to Salesforce, next to their ERP is one of the things that open up. The team started calling it the coffee mug experience because every morning you get your cup of coffee, you sit down and look to see what’s going on with the business. How much cash do I have? What’s going to happen? What’s going to come in? What’s going to go out? And if you can have that in one place, that changes your day, instead of having to look everything up in Excel. And that was really critical. I started earlier by saying that people use a product daily, and they feel it’s created by a collector. But that comes from a lesson we had — we pivoted to what we do today. We knew that there was a problem with cash flow. But we pivoted to what we do today in focusing on accounts receivable because we learned two things. First off, if you want to do something a little bit more strategic, you have to earn the right to do that. And by that, I mean originally, we started focusing on supply chain financing, given my factoring background. But what we realized is that what people really needed was a solution to their hair-on-fire problems. The strategic day two problems of how am I going to finance my problem takes a second seat if you don’t even know when you’re going to get paid, how are you going get paid, and you don’t know how to follow up with your customers. And so, when we were building Tesorio, I literally worked out of Veeva’s office for three months next to their AR team to see how they did their job and what they needed to solve their day one problems. And then, after that, now we’re getting to the place, right Hope, that’s part of the vision, where we can start forecasting your cash flow. And then part of the longer-term vision is then now that you are managing your cash flow day to day with this tool, then you’re forecasting what’s going to happen. Then you can get back to where we started, which is how do I finance it? How do I do things down the road that are going to allow me to grow the business in a longer-term lens? So interesting stuff, a journey that feels like we’ve come full circle sometimes. It’s been exciting

Hope: I love that you put a lot of good points in that. Number one, you guys have been maniacally customer focused, and that shows in your NPS scores, which are extraordinarily high for a SaaS software company, which is very impressive. The other thing is, you mentioned Carlos, how you need to solve the burning issue in order to get in. And then we’re going to move up the chain to the broader strategic issue. And I think that burning issue is also where you’re getting that strong engagement — the DAU vs. MAU — they’re loving your product, and they’re using it every day. One of the things that I observe in both of you is that while you are maniacally customer focused, you’re also really good at stepping back and not just responding to exactly what that customer is telling you they want — different customizations — but you are able to look across all of your customers and decide what would be useful for all of them, so you’re not just focused on one. Those are hard choices. Can you guys talk a little bit about moments in time where you’ve had to really focus your product roadmap on things that apply to all versus maybe responding to one request here and there.

Carlos: Yeah, definitely. Gary Wiessinger, who’s the head of product at NetSuite, once told me, “You can measure a product manager by how many times they say ‘No,’ more than how many times they say ‘Yes.’ And that ratio is really important. And that’s hard as a founder because you’re so passionate about building things, and you want to get your vision out there. And when you see people responding to it, you almost want to say “Yes,” “Yes,” “Yes,” all the time. There there’s been a couple of things. In the early days, one of our very earliest customers was Spotify, and they were very large. And they wanted a bunch of features that would’ve brought us toward almost like building a treasury management system. And one of the key things for us from the beginning was, again, learnings from having pivoted and just along the journey, was we just simplified as “Insights to action.” One of the core things we’re trying to do from an intelligent applications perspective is tie the insights that you get to the actions that you actually take every single day. So, building a TMS or treasury management system would’ve required a whole bunch of work that’s almost like just purely data aggregation. Let me pull data from all of these different bank accounts, put it in one place, and then forecast out my cash flow. But what was really important for us was actually aggregating the transactional data before it happens. So that means going to the finance systems of record, like your ERPs, your CRM, you’re procure-to-pay tools, where you can see cash flow is going to happen — cash is going to flow, but it’s going to be because this customer’s going to pay me or I’m going to pay this bill. And so, for us, building integrations to those systems was more important than building a bunch of integrations to banks, into FX platforms and that sort of a thing. And so that was one where it was really hard, you can imagine, to walk away from our second customer, who we flew out to Sweden to spend time with, and you know, we’re still really close with their whole team to this day and say, “We’re not going to do this,” because customer number two might want this, but customer number one and then 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 don’t, and it doesn’t align with our vision. I still think back to how painful it was. True story — we were curling with the treasurer of Spotify the day they went public in Sweden. Like we were very close with them. But to say no to them was really difficult and it’s hard. But back, similar to your hard conversations with founders, there’s just a lot of hard choices you have to make along the journey. That’s probably one of the toughest — sticking to your vision in the right ways.

Fabio: And to add on to that, another thing that we had to do alongside making those tough product decisions is we still had to build the product in a way that would allow configurability within it. So, one kind of core product philosophy we have is configuration over customization, especially when we’re dealing with the types of large businesses that we’re working with. Being able to support them and their slightly different workflows and slightly different use cases in a way that is not just a bunch of customization has been something that we had to do from very early on. And it allows us to adapt to these types of larger, mid to large-size companies. And I think that was another key thing that we had to make a decision on pretty early on is that we needed to support this type of configuration and continue to expand and support that as we grew.

Hope: Such good examples. And you guys are just reminding me that part of being leaders in a company and founders is just a series of difficult decisions. I do want to come back a little bit to the fact that here we are on the intelligent applications podcast, and what is an intelligent application? It’s something that is enabling a workflow or something using AI or machine learning and really helping make things more efficient in the back office as well as smarter. That’s been something you guys tackle from early on in your solution. And so, I’d love to hear about how machine learning and AI are incorporated in your offering.

Fabio: Definitely As we’ve talked about here, historically, the entire accounts receivable process has been driven by tribal knowledge and spreadsheets within the accounting team. They know based on personal experience that a certain customer always pays 10 days late, five days late, while another customer is often promising to pay by a certain day, but then they can’t be relied on versus other ones can be relied on. Right? All that information is all tribal. It’s all just within the accounting, maybe even just within an individual. So, if someone leaves that company or is on vacation, effectively, that data is lost. And so, what we’re able to do, is take all that data and actually incorporate it into the product, so it’s not just siloed within individual people or individual departments. Our models are able to look across all of the customer’s payment history and determine, without human biases, when will they pay and also what will they do. Our models are trained across over 50 data points of anonymized invoice history. We’re covering billions in transactional volume to further refine and improve that forecasting accuracy. The product is able to learn from all these data inputs, both from a financial perspective and a behavioral perspective. We consolidate that all into our product and tying back to our integration strategy — which is that our system can connect to various different data sources from ERPs to billing systems, CRMs, emails, and everything like that — we’re able to consolidate all of that, bring all of the actionability and insights into one single place, learn from all of that data and then bring it so that users can actually take action. Cause one of the core things about our product is it’s not just providing insights, but it’s always tying it back to action, and what can they do about it? What can they do if their cash flow isn’t the way they expect it to or if the customer’s not paying them the way that they usually tend to pay? What can they do to affect their workflows affect their cash flows? And that’s been something that from pretty early on, we noticed was a problem with our customers, and we went out to solve that.

Hope: I love this phrase that Carlos talked about earlier, which is “Insights to actions.” So often in systems, you’re either a system of record — where it’s the system where you’ve got the data, and you’re doing the thing — and then you’ve got the analytics of that system of record. Very rarely do you find an application or software that allows you actually to do both? Where you can get not only insights but you can actually take the action there as well. And I think that’s really unique to your solution.

Carlos: That’s a good observation. Even databases are either transactional or analytical. And so that’s from a technology standpoint, that’s one of the things that’s been a fun challenge is figuring out how we have both — the analytical aspect tied to the transactional day-to-day aspect from a tech stack perspective.

And then, interestingly, just before we move off the subject, if I were a founder listening here, a little piece of advice I’d share is, when you’re building intelligent applications, there’s no like blanket way to do it. I think it’s really important to have the context of the culture of your customer base that you’re planning to address and the cost of being wrong. So that’s something that’s really interesting, like for us, we’re proud of our analytical skills, right? We’re finance people, Fabio jokes, but every single meeting — I think in 95% of meetings, I’ll open up Excel and start doing something right. And people joke, but it’s the way we like it. So, if we’re building an intelligent application for people who like analytics, you have to take that into account, and you can’t get cash wrong. So, for us, when we think about machine learning, AI, and all of that, we think about it in our world, at least, more as the supporting actor. The lead, the hero, is the user. And so, for us, that leads us to think, okay, more than here is your cash flow forecast, or here is how much we’re going to collect, it’s how do we pre-process the data so that you can go and make a decision. The really key thing is making sure that we expose enough levers for the customer so that they have ownership of the output.

And that’s something we even got wrong at one point. We thought we should forecast out the cash flow using machine learning, but it felt too black box. That was a really key learning for us — you know, having that context, and for the culture of your customer base, the cost of being wrong are going to influence how you apply machine learning and AI tools.

Hope: So, you took the next question right out of which is great. No, that was exactly where I was going to go. Us finance people like to think we’re good at forecasting, and we like to be able to explain our forecasting and explain what the levers are and what’s impacting it. With machine learning, the truth is it’s probably more accurate than us, and yet we don’t really want to admit it, and we want to be able to explain it. We don’t want it to be a black box. So, you do have a hard customer to sell to, to utilize this type of technology. And you and I have had that conversation, which is why we both led to this topic, and you’ve really addressed that well with your customer base by giving them more transparency and allowing them to feel like they are the heroes. I love that phrasing.

Carlos: Yeah. It’s interesting. When you look at cash in the bank, we joke that if it already hit your bank ledger, cash already flowed. So, that’s why we say we have to get to the things before it leaves or comes in the door. And that’s why all those integrations we talked about earlier are so important. And that’s what allows you to give them the ownership, right? If they’re addressing the cash before it goes out the door and they make the decision on how it’s going to go out and how it’s going to come in, then they can own the forecast and have an influence on it.

Hope: I want to turn a little bit to the macro environment. I know that we’re all watching the capital markets and the macro environment and how it impacts us, whether it be the funding environment or how does it impact our revenue line and our customers. And so, as you think about your solution set, has it become more important to your customers? Is it something they’re cutting back on? How do you think this period of time is impacting the demand for what you’re offering?

Carlos: I guess I’d summarize that we’re cautiously optimistic because I think we’re seeing some tailwinds rather than headwinds. Which, if you think about this from a purely analytical perspective, it makes sense. With inflation the way it is, every 90 days, it’s more than 2% of devaluation. And so, where does cash typically get trapped on a balance sheet? As we talked about before, you control, when cash leaves the door, you don’t control when it comes in the door. Receivables is actually one of the biggest places where cash gets trapped.

And so, every 90 days, your receivables are late, that’s cash you didn’t put to work and just devalued by 2% in real terms. And on top of that, it’s kind of a double whammy with the cost of capital going up. So as interest rates are going up and the cost of capital is going up, the inverse of that, as we know, is your hurdle rate, and the rate of return your investors are looking for is going up. So that cash that you’re not putting to work, if you’re not getting it faster in the door and deploying it, the opportunity cost of that is also going up. And then the market just in general, as we all know, is no longer favoring growth at all costs, they want sustainable growth. For a long time there, it was so easy to go get cash from other sources, and now that’s not quite the case. So, what we’re seeing is that this is more of a pain killer than a vitamin in a lot of ways, and folks also need solutions fast. That’s been a really critical thing, at least for us, back to the theme of intelligent applications is how can you get these products deployed quickly? Because an intelligent application that’s going to take a year or two to get deployed might have great ROI someday in some spreadsheets, but it’s not going to help me achieve my goals now. And so, a solution like ours that can get in there quickly on average, 30 days to get live and 60 days to show ROI, that’s something that folks are really valuing and that you’re seeing today — folks need these solutions before their next earnings call, not by next year.

Hope: Yeah, I think we go back to something we said earlier in our conversation, which is cash is king. And when the economy gets tight, and tough cash becomes even more important. And therefore, the solution that you’re offering is paramount. I want to step back a little bit and talk about broader technologies in this space. And as you think about this space, what is a company or a startup or interesting technology out there that you two are both excited about?

Carlos: I’ll share one that changed my day-to-day. I think Clockwise was really cool because you just plug it, and it automatically starts allotting focus time. And you set rules around meetings and time between meetings and that sort of a thing. And it changed my life from just feeling exhausted at the end of the day of going back-to-back-to-back Zoom meetings, because we’re a distributed company, to actually having breathing room in between to get in the work that I need to get done.

Fabio, I know we’ve talked about another one. I’ll let you take the next one because it’s definitely more of a tech nerd out.

Fabio: Yeah. Yeah. Obviously, a lot of the IA companies out there are very CTO friendly, and the one I admire and I think is doing really cool work is Fivetran. Every company, as we already know, has a problem with getting data into a single place — it’s ETL, especially if you don’t have engineering resources. I found Fivetran is a really cool product that allows companies to actually connect all of their data streams and try to consolidate them into one place. And why I also think this company is cool is because it’s a little bit of a reflection of our product as well. We consolidate data from all these different financial, CRM, billing, email data sources for our customers to use, and Fivetran is doing similarly for their customers so that they can get their internal data together. It’s a really cool piece of tech and a pretty exciting company.

Hope: I love it. And then, so those are existing companies, as I think, five years out, what are some technologies that are coming to pass or things down the pike that you really think will disrupt how we do work today?

Fabio: You know, on my end, augmented reality, I think, is one of the biggest sources of the kind of technological disruption and innovation that’s going to come up soon. I’ve always felt that the same way smartphones changed the way we live and work, augmented reality is going to be that next big leap that’s going to really change the way we work and live.

Hope: So, we’ll end on lessons learned. And I know I certainly have a lot of them in my past history. But as we indicated before, a clear observation is that being co-founders, being CEO and leaders of a company is just hard. And I think it requires more persistence than anyone ever realizes — that ability to climb over any wall that’s put in front of you. I’d love if either one of you would be vulnerable enough to share some lessons learned with other founders and words of wisdom.

Carlos: Yeah, I think for me, the most important lesson just looking back is realizing that you’re never done. As a founder, you feel this extreme urgency. In the early days, someone once told me if you’re asking yourself if you’re moving fast enough, you’re not. But you know, at the sacrifice of what, right? Before being founders, we’re people. We’ve got families, or we’re in relationships. And sometimes I think for a very long time, in most of the early parts of the journey, or until recently, I kind of worked like there was no tomorrow, you know, working till every hour at the end of the day and at all times of night and giving up sleep and all of that. And then, eventually, it clicked. You never really de-risk the company, you just attain new levels of relatively higher stakes. So, even though you think you’re going to do this, and then you’re going to be all good, and you’re going to be done, and I have to do this now and forego a lot of things — I’m not going to go to the extreme of saying that you’re ever going to have good work-life balance as a founder. I don’t think that’s part of the job description at all — but realizing that there’s always going to be more to keep doing tomorrow is very critical. So, at the end of the day, I guess what I’m getting at is, to take care of your health, take care of your personal relationships, and remember that because it’s a long journey.

Hope: Yeah, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. and I think people go into startups thinking it’s going to be this sprint-like event. When really, when you look at the companies that have gotten to scale, it takes 10 years. It truly is a long road and a marathon. And you have to manage that in a healthy way. Fabio?

Fabio: The most important lesson I’ve learned throughout this entire startup journey is it, maybe it sounds a bit cheesy, to be honest, but I think it’s very true that — the people you work with matter the most. And I think it obviously starts with your co-founder and the relationship you have, but it quickly grows. It grows to everyone in the company, the board, the VCs you’re working with, everyone. And who you work with, I feel, has one of the biggest impacts on the success and outcomes of your startup. I believe that finding the right set of people, the early employees, your early investors, and your co-founder will have such a large impact on how things will go. And I have truly felt very fortunate to have this opportunity to work with such brilliant people. It’s ultimately what excites me most about the entire startup journey.

Hope: Those are great words to live by and great words to take to heart. Carlos and Fabio, thanks for spending this time with me together today. I always enjoy it when I get to have a conversation with both of you, and this was right in there, so thank you so much.

Fabio: Thank you.

Carlos: Thank you, Hope.

Coral: Thank you for joining us for this IA40 spotlight episode of Founded and Funded. If you’d like to learn more about Tesorio, they can be found at Tesorio.com – that’s T-E-S-O-R-I-O.com To learn more about the IA40, please visit IA40.com. Thanks again for joining us, and tune in in a couple of weeks for our next episode of Founded and Funded. We’ll be spotlighting another IA40 winner next month.

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