Krish Venkataraman recently joined Socure as the company’s new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). In this role, he will be focused on accelerating and scaling Socure’s growth and operational efficiency. An accomplished Wall Street executive, Venkataraman is a renowned expert in financial services, cybersecurity, payments, exchange technology and big data, and has the proven ability to turn cost centers into profit centers, guide market leaders to successful IPOs, and consistently exceed Wall Street’s growth expectations.
We had the opportunity to hear Krish’s thoughts on the identity verification and fraud market, his vision for Socure, and the lessons he has learned helping fast-growing and innovative companies scale for the future.
An “Accidental CFO”
In Socure, I see so many similarities with other successful companies I’ve worked with, especially when it comes to execution. The mark of a company that’s going to be able to grow and scale, irrespective of what the market is doing, is one that is focused on a long-term strategy, and is built to weather the small bumps in the roads, or even the big ones. Establishing the systems and processes to be able to execute that is what I love most about my job.
I’m not purely an accounting-driven CFO. In fact, I often refer to myself as an “accidental CFO.” I love products and being a part of how they are conceived and developed. My satisfaction comes from orchestrating all the pieces needed to solve complex, market-defining problems. And you cannot do that with numbers alone. The interaction among Sales, Marketing, Product, R&D, Operations, HR, and all the other groups within an organization is what allows you to be great.
My job is to lead finance as a strategic, driving force within the organization, which means integrating it with sales and product strategies. It means using data and technology to drive your financial operations.
“Socure is the identity verification layer for the internet…”
From a market perspective, Socure’s growth potential is what initially got my attention. It wasn’t just that there is a lot of room to grow, but the fact that Socure has developed a solution that can be used across every industry. I looked at the Socure ID+ platform and found that, because of the obsessive focus on data science to create the most informed and accurate identity and fraud models, no other vendor can come into this market and replicate what Socure has built.
I’ve long had the sense that, no matter what type of business you’re in, solving for identity verification was critical to operating in the next phase of the internet. What’s really becoming clear is that the line of demarcation between a real identity and how that identity operates in the digital world no longer exists. A person’s identity is how they access everything they want and need to do, and today, those things almost all happen online.
Socure is the identity verification layer for the internet. Think about that for a minute. Consider every person who has to be verified to become a digital user, member, or customer. That’s essentially every person on the internet. And is a company going to let anyone deliver those consumers to them, or are they going to want the solution that’s proven to be the most accurate?
Scaling a Multibillion Dollar Business
Socure achieved a huge milestone when we surpassed our 1,000th customer. That’s a major indicator for any enterprise SaaS company and it’s an indicator that the market not only likes your product, but that there’s true demand for it. Now we face the questions about how we rapidly get to the next 1,800 customers, and then double that, and keep growing, all without losing the culture that makes Socure unique and capable of this kind of growth in the first place.
There’s no getting around the fact that there’s a lot of work to be done, which is why Johnny and the Board asked me to join Socure. But that’s the stuff I love, I love the demands of a job that will steer the operational side of the business through major incremental growth. I’ve done it in previous roles and there are some important lessons I’ve learned.
For one thing, I have to know every part of this business, inside and out. I have to pair that knowledge with a 21st Century finance and operations discipline that connects all parts of the business so we can anticipate opportunities, eliminate unwanted surprises, and be confident in the decisions we make about how the company evolves.
In order for this to work, there must be a willingness among the company’s leaders to want to work across departments to ensure that we’re coordinated and that we support each other’s team goals so we can have a collective impact on company goals. I’ve only been here a short time and I already see that happening here at Socure.
Young companies grow really fast, and at these major growth inflection points, things start breaking. And when they start breaking, they actually slow the engine down significantly. Avoiding that slowdown and ensuring we move forward with confidence requires a tremendous amount of organizational pattern recognition.
The Chaos Theory of Startups
When I was younger, I wanted to be a physics professor. It may be a stretch to say this, but fast-growing startups operate with their own version of Chaos Theory. In a startup, you begin with that chaos to build a solution, then you develop a market, then you lead in that market, and then you dominate. Socure is an organization that is following that path with the kind of precision and preparedness that I’ve never seen before. It’s inspiring.
Read our recent press release to learn about Socure’s record customer growth, Krish’s official welcome to the company, and more.
Socure is the leading platform for digital identity verification and trust. Its predictive analytics platform applies artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques with trusted online/offline data intelligence from email, phone, address, IP, device, velocity, and the broader internet to verify identities in real time.