Stripe Finance Chief Helps Steer Payment Processor’s Growth

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Divya Suryadevara joined Stripe from General Motors last year. She is working to expand her finance team and invest in the business.

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Like its rivals Square Inc. and PayPal Holdings Inc.,

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Stripe processes payments for e-commerce companies, keeping a small cut of each purchase as a fee for its services. Founded in 2009, Stripe is expanding into services including Stripe Tax, which helps businesses calculate and collect taxes, and Stripe Identity, an online verification tool.

A funding round earlier this year valued the privately held company at $95 billion and the growth of e-commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic fueled its business.

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Analysts at the time said a public company CFO like Ms. Suryadevara signaled to investors that Stripe might be headed for the listing. Businesshala previously reported that the company is laying the groundwork for an initial public offering that it could pursue in late 2021 or early 2022. For that, it needs the skills and systems to file quarterly earnings reports to the SEC, which isn’t necessary as long as Stripe remains a private business.

When asked about the possibility of an IPO, Ms. Suryadevara said, “In terms of opportunity, we are always on the lookout for new investments. If it is prudent to raise capital in an efficient manner, we will do so.”

The CFO said that before joining Stripe, he didn’t pay close attention to the online payments space. According to former and current colleagues, she quickly grabbed her head for the new role.

“She spends hours with the product and engineering teams internally and with our partners in the ecosystem, as well as the CFOs of many of our top users,” said Patti Kangwankij, Head of Corporate Finance and Strategy at Stripe. To Ms. Suryadevara.

Ms. Kangwankis previously worked under the company’s former CFO Will Gabrik, who also served as chief product officer and chief of payments. Mr. Gabrik has held the sole position of Chief Product Officer since July.

Ms Suryadevara “brings a great mix of deep financial expertise, long-term thinking and operational acumen,” said Mr. Gabrik.

At General Motors, Ms. Suryadevara gained a reputation for being meticulous and results-focused as well as a great communicator, and she brought those skills to the new role, analysts and colleagues said.

Rocky Gupta, GM’s treasurer who worked under Ms Suryadevara for many years, said: “When we were looking at a problem, she clearly thought deeply about it and encouraged us to poke holes in our logic. did.” Mr Gupta said one important thing Ms Suryadevara taught him was how to issue earnings guidance in periods of uncertainty, for example in 2019, when GM’s US plants were suffering from a weeklong strike.

“There are often things that are difficult to measure,” Mr. Gupta said.

Ms Suryadevara said she sees allocating capital for Stripe’s expansion as a core part of her job. He said that whether in a public or private company, the role of the CFO is essentially the same. “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, banks are bones, our users are muscles and we are cartilages,” she said.

Stripe is working on a vision for 2031, and according to Ms. Kangwankij, the CFO is playing a key role in defining the next steps and how to get there.

“We want to make sure we have the right infrastructure and 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, expects to add insurance and other banking services to its portfolio soon, said Robert Ley, a senior analyst at data company PitchBook. It already offers more than 30 local payment methods as well as Treasury services and bank accounts, with partners including the Goldman Sachs Group later. Inc.

and Barclays plc. Square and PayPal are also expanding their product range.

Investors are confident in Stripe and its leadership, said Hemant Taneja, managing partner at General Catalyst, a venture-capital firm that has held a stake in Stripe since 2012.

“We as investors feel very good about the good pulse of the business,” Mr. Taneja said, referring to Stripe’s conversations with its shareholders. Ms Suryadevara is a “very proactive” CFO and “is not afraid to get her hands dirty,” Taneja said.

Nina Trentmann at Nina [email protected]

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