Portfolio Spotlight: Daniel Kim & Jay Lee, Co-CEOs of AuditBoard*
Each month, Battery highlights a different portfolio-company CEO with our “Five Questions in Five Minutes” feature, showcasing the diversity of the Battery portfolio across investment stages, sectors and geographies. The views expressed here are those of the CEO, not Battery.
What does your company do in 10 words or less?
DAN: AuditBoard helps organizations streamline their audit, risk, and compliance programs.
What is your favorite piece of management/leadership advice?
JAY: One piece of leadership advice that has resonated with me more and more in recent years is the practice of actively listening to your customers. There are actually a couple dimensions of customer listening that I’ve found extremely valuable in leading AuditBoard with Daniel: (1) listening to our valued customers that use our software every day to help automate and streamline their audit and risk programs, and (2) listening to the talented AuditBoard team that’s committed to building an amazing platform for our customers as we also build an outstanding company together. It sounds really basic, but I’ve found that orienting myself to seek regular input, and investing the time in truly understanding what these two stakeholder groups think about their relationship with the company, provides tremendous insight, and often that dose of reality I need to be a better leader.
What’s the most under-rated trend in technology, in your opinion?
DAN: Believe it or not, we think SaaS at the enterprise level is an extremely under-rated technology trend, particularly within the CFO space. We have seen other functional areas of the enterprise evolve over the past decade through the use of SaaS, but now we are seeing the CFO office go through the kind of transformation that IT, sales, marketing, and service already have. With many areas of the CFO suite being so technical and complex, many software innovators have steered clear. We feel this is one of the final bastions of change left in the enterprise and are excited to be at the forefront of driving positive change within the audit, risk and compliance areas of the enterprise.
What accomplishment in the last 12 months are you most proud of?
JAY: We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have had a number of standout accomplishments over the past 12 months, but one that stands out for me is ranking #3 on Deloitte’s list of the fastest growing technology companies in North America. Not because it acknowledges our rapid growth, but because it represents how our mission has resonated with audit and risk professionals, and it represents how the passion and dedication of our hard-working team has paid off. When Daniel and I decided to start this company, we knew there was an immense need in audit for innovation, because we were the people struggling to keep up with the speed of business using the outdated technology available to us. It was painful. Today, we take great pleasure every time we’re able to help modernize and elevate a customer’s audit, risk, and compliance practice, because we know how it feels to finally have a solution for efficiently managing this highly technical work.
BONUS QUESTION: What do you tell people who think auditors are no fun?
JAY: For those who may believe auditors are no fun, I wish you could witness one of our events, or the healthy office banter of the dozens of former auditors who work at AuditBoard. Some of the funniest and happy-go-lucky people I know are auditors. Really! Many employees in companies fear outreach from an auditor because they misunderstand the role of audit. The reality is that internal auditors are there to help the business succeed, to carry out its mission. Also, people don’t realize that auditors are some of the most knowledgeable and capable employees in a business. Not just because they’re smart and often have the training and pedigree of Big 4 consulting firms, but they’re in a unique position where they are exposed to some of the most strategic aspects of the business. And since they spend so much time reaching out across functions and gathering insights, they often know exactly where the business stands to gain the most. We believe there’s an opportunity for audit to play a much greater strategic role in the future of business.
The information provided above is solely intended for the use of entrepreneurs, corporate CEOs and founders regarding Battery Ventures’ potential financing capabilities for prospective portfolio companies. The information is current as of the date it was published. The contents are not intended to be used in the investment decision-making process related to any product or fund managed by Battery Ventures. No assumption should be made that the investments identified above were or will be profitable. It should also not be assumed that recommendations made in the future will be profitable or equal the performance of the companies identified above.
Content obtained from third-party sources, although believed to be reliable, has not been independently verified as to its accuracy or completeness and cannot be guaranteed. Battery Ventures has no obligation to update, modify or amend the content above nor notify its readers in the event that any information, opinion, projection, forecast or estimate included, changes or subsequently becomes inaccurate.