Mastering Innovation, Helping Customers Succeed & Work-Life Integration with Donna Wilczek SVP Product Strategy & Innovation Coupa Software

Donna Wilczek SVP, Product Strategy and Innovation at Coupa Software chats with Sanjay Swamy Managing Partner Prime Venture Partners.

Listen to the podcast to learn about

02:05 - Donna’s journey from first job to SVP at Coupa Software

11:00 - Building a culture that attracts the right people and weeds out the misfits

15:40 - Adopting the mindset of a public company

21:15 - Signs of a mature organisation

25:25 - Build vs Buy. How to think about acquisitions

30:10 - Work-Life Balance or Work-Life Integration?

35:00 - The new normal and the new way to work and collaborate

Read the complete transcript below:

Sanjay Swamy - 01:12

Hi, everybody, this is Sanjay Swamy here and welcome again to the next episode of the Prime Ventures podcast where we talk to the industry veterans, experts, luminaries, people who have done it, people who are working on the exciting startups, and talk about life in the startup ecosystem. I have a really special guest today, a close friend, former colleague, and someone who I’ve really admired over the years. Donna Wilczek here on the show today. Donna is SVP of products, innovation, and probably a lot more at Coupa software. Coupa is one of the leading players in the enterprise, procurement expense management areas. So Donna, welcome to the episode. It’s great to have you here.

Donna Wilczek - 02:08

It’s great to be here. And it’s so great to connect with you and have this conversation.

Sanjay Swamy - 02:14

Thanks, Donna. And I know that you’re also no stranger to India. We have worked together in the past at Ketera and you have visited India and you’ve mentioned to me several times over the years. Would be great if you could share a little bit about your background and the journey with Coupa and the Association of India. And let’s start there.

Donna Wilczek - 02:35

Sure. So, we start with the journey. How did I even get here? And probably even started right out of college when I joined Anderson consulting. It was funny in those earliest days, being given an opportunity, do I want to work on a Mac pack for the OS 390. This product that had been in existence for so long or do I want to try this new thing, this thing PeopleSoft and we were going to host it in a solution centre, where the IT organisations that our customers would not have the technology at Andersen would have it. It was such a strange concept but knowing me and my personality, I wanted to go for the new thing. I want to really understand what’s the latest thing. And ever since then it’s really been that journey of learning more and what is the next thing and how do I think about strategy and where the company should go through the years.

Then, I went to a company called Ketera where we met. At Ketera, I ran professional services implementing these solutions for these companies around the world. That’s the journey that really led me to India many times through the years and what led me there is really this deep desire to connect with the engineering organisation and to really share what customers were going through in our implementations and our run state working with these companies. Making sure the team could really understand the business problems and trying to figure out how to create solutions for those problems.

But it also was one of the things I think that somehow frustrated me a lot because the technology was just simply not doing what I thought it needed to do in order to make these customers successful. Ultimately, at that point in time, I was really even considering leaving the industry and contemplating going into a different industry because on some level, I was just tired of apologising to customers and apologising to people that had to use the technology. Luckily, I had been able to watch a company called Coupa.

Sanjay Swamy - 04.58

I thought you were gonna say, “luckily, I got thick skinned after some time and it didn’t matter”. I got thick skin and it didn’t matter.

Donna Wilczek - 05:07

Oh no. That has never happened, Sanjay ever and it still hasn’t happened. My skin is definitely not thick even still. No, it was definitely a journey of saying, ‘I personally need to find a company that’s able to do the right thing that is out there and doing something special’. The technology supporting these customers and getting to a place where they can really get value. I had been watching the startup company Coupa and what was this company doing? How are they in our space and releasing so much new innovation? How are they executing so quickly? I had an opportunity to meet with Rob Bernshteyn , the CEO of Coupa and Ravi Thakur who is really the head of everything operations services, you name it.

Company wouldn’t be where it was without these core people. And I had an opportunity to really sit down and talk about the company that was being created in those earliest days.Starting with this whole notion of making customers successful, period, hard stop, and then creating an entire company wrapped around that culture. Ultimately, I made the leap and I moved over to Coupa.

Sanjay Swamy - 06:29

Maybe you can describe a little bit about Coupa’s business itself. Who are the customers and what problems you solve for customers?

Donna Wilczek - 06:40

Sure, so Coupa is a business spend management company, what we do is we help our customers manage every dollar that they spend and make those dollars more effective. Look at reducing the risk of those dollars and improving the value of every single dollar by reducing the fraud potential of those dollars and getting to a place where a company can say, I know where my money is, I know how the organisation is spending it, I have control over that spend and I can direct it as needed based on the conditions my business is facing.

Sanjay Swamy - 07:21

Got it. What type of customers do you target at Coupa? What scale companies are the most efficient and even benefit the most from it.

Donna Wilczek - 07:32

Our customers range anywhere from $15 million in annual revenue to upwards of hundreds of billions of dollars of annual revenue. The cool thing, Sanjay is all of these customers are on the same platform, the same configurable multi-tenant SaaS model, so you never can really outgrow the solution. It’s able to change with you because of all of the configurations today, I think something over 10 million permutations of configuration options are available to these companies. So companies like Amazon, Barclays, Capital One, UPS, Walmart.

Sanjay Swamy - 08:14

Fabulous, how big was the company when you joined? And how big has it grown to? And then specifically, the product area itself? How big was that team and how has that grown? Can you share a little about that journey? Most startups are at one end of the spectrum in the very early days and cannot even envision that kind of success let alone achieve it. These are planning probably 18-24 months ahead. So, it’d be great if you’ve seen this now for eight plus years, I’m guessing. So it would be great for you to share the different phases of how it evolved.

Donna Wilczek - 08:52

Sure. So it’s been going on 10 years at Coupa already. And the last 10 years, I would say have been quite a ride. I joined when maybe there were 30 or so people at the company, we were in one office, one small office and a bank building and everyone’s cramped together. But everyone there is really driving towards this singular goal of making our customers successful, creating an industry, doing something right and getting our customers value. It was interesting and it was this maniacal focus from everyone. All of the team members were so dedicated to that cause to creating that type of company that would actually deliver on making customers successful. It’s interesting, because 10 years later, those same core values that we had, are still these core values that drive every decision that the company makes.

It’s not just something we wrote on a wall or put on a piece of paper. But it truly is something that we’re living every single day. It goes back to those earliest days, building the culture and finding the right people that were completely committed to the goal at hand.

Sanjay Swamy - 10:12

It’s grown from being on the wall to now being on a zoom backdrop, I can see.

Donna Wilczek - 10:20

Everyone that knows me will tell you that I really do. I believe the values because the values of this company are what make it great. It’s this culture of every person, every colleague, and as we’ve grown, again, from those earliest days now to over 3000 employees and probably somewhere near 6000 or more consultants, side partners and people that have been trained externally. So quite a different company from where we were to today. But those core values that you see behind me on my zoom background is this tie that binds and has never wavered at this company. Prior to COVID, I was travelling so much to all of our customer locations, I was travelling so much to our Coupa offices around the world.

You can really see that spirit in every office, in the meetings. I would observe with my colleagues sitting down with our customers and everyone is still as committed to those core values and driving that way. And it’s really special to see, 10 years later, still, that drive for everyone around me.

Sanjay Swamy - 11:36

It’s fabulous. Drilling down a little bit on the culture and the values, I think, most startups go through several phases. The first is where it’s really the founders and the founding team.

Then the next big wave happens where you start scaling up. And we’ve had companies where we are fortunate to be investors where customers ask the sales guy who’s the founder of this company and that tells me that they have done a good job, at least at that stage to have transferred the values but as the company’s trying to balance growth with retaining the culture. What are some tips you may have for our audience saying how do you ensure that this happens? And how do you weed out people who are not fitting into the culture?

Donna Wilczek - 12:29

Yeah, weeding out is a very important aspect isn’t it. It is finding those right people and hiring for those people with the qualities that align to what you’re trying to do. Some of it is really just sometimes, a person walks into a meeting or room, that interview, and you can feel it, you can feel their energy, you can feel the hustle, you can feel the grit. You can see from the examples that they’re sharing with you of what they’ve accomplished and what their teams have accomplished. That unwavering focus on getting stuff done especially in a start up in those earliest days, everyone needs to have that true hustle to get stuff done and get it done quickly for these customers.

But weeding out is hard. Oftentimes at Coupa, I think what happens happens, especially now is that culture is so strong, sometimes people will weed themselves out because it becomes very uncomfortable for people, that if you’re surrounded by all of these people that are driving and really trying to get these customers successful, and you’re not, you don’t really fit in with the culture. And so we do see some of that. We also make sure that we’re coaching people out at the right times.

Don’t let it fester. Once you start identifying it, have conversations with the people, have authentic conversations with the people and see if they can get there. But if not, you really have to make the right decisions and do the right thing for the company ultimately. Sometimes it’s a mutual decision, they both see the writing on the wall and those early people are so critical to the success of the company.

Sanjay Swamy - 14:20

10 years later, you said there were 30 people in the company. And just to add an approximate number, the company has had a great ride especially over the last four years since the IPO and stuff like that, but in a well knit organisation like this, the first 100 employees are critical. Ten years later, how many of the 100 still are at the company? A large percentage?

Donna Wilczek - 14:50

I haven’t counted, but yes, a large percentage and it’s really cool Sanjay to see. I’ll have meetings with some of these early people just this morning. I can’t believe it’s the same day this morning, I was meeting with our business value engineering team and value solution consulting teams. There were so many people that were from those earliest days and they were still here. The cool thing is seeing just how passionate they are and still committed to this notion that we’re doing the right thing. We’re getting our customers value, but a high percentage.

Sanjay Swamy - 15:27

Awesome. Switching gears a little bit, the company is now pretty large with several 100 million dollars of revenue and publicly traded company. Can you talk a little bit about the build up to becoming publicly traded as a product person. I think because oftentimes when you’re a venture funded, privately held company, you can take a lot of shortcuts and revisit things. You can restate numbers and all of these things. They don’t really matter as much but the preparation for an IPO and then subsequently the responsibilities. What is your advice to startups and since you’ve lived through the journey. How early should they start thinking about it and worrying about it? What’s the right thing to do?

Donna Wilczek - 16:18

Start thinking about it immediately. Start living and working as if you are a public company. It’s okay to restate the numbers. Really try to get into that discipline of making sure that what you say you’re going to do, you do. Have the right conversations with your customers and don’t get into revenue recognition issues where you’re promising a bunch of things. Start early with discipline, because the discipline is really critical. And it again builds that culture. If you try all of a sudden to say, oh, next year, we’re going to IPO and we have to change the culture of this organisation to be thinking like a public company, it’s really hard to do, it’s very hard to pivot.

Coupa, for many years prior to the IPO, we operated as if we were a public company with the same discipline, the same mindset, the same mentality of closing out the quarter of not getting into revenue recognition issues, not over committing to our customers, being authentic, being honest, and doing what we said we were going to do. So, I would really counsel everyone, as soon as possible, just act as if you’re a public company. What are the standards that you would have to live to, again, maybe not as deep. Don’t go as deep into that, but start practising the right hygiene, the right practices, the right models, and in a product organisation, practice there as well which is, again, don’t overcommit. Don’t get into situations where you’re promising the customers the world, walk away from deals if you need to and have the courage to say no when what this customer is wanting from you, if it doesn’t fit, what your goals and your strategies are for your organisation.

That’s a really hard thing to do in those earliest days. At Coupa, we walked away from plenty of deals where there just was not alignment, that we were not aligned to that same goal. Sure. It’s hard. The customer is ready to throw a lot of money at you. But ultimately, you have to decide: Are you in it for a short term? Or are you in it for that marathon long term?

Sanjay Swamy - 18:45

It’s interesting that we had a situation here with a company where customers knew that at the end of the quarter, the sales guys are under the pressure to achieve quota. And so they would wait till the last week of the quarter and then start negotiating. As a board and as a management team, we just said, let’s remove this concept of quarterly quarters. So the sales guys went back to the customers and that’s okay, if you want to take two weeks to make the decision and take your time.

But this is what our value proposition is and this is what we’re going to charge. Actually more deals started closing within the quarter once the customer realised that you didn’t feel the pressure. So yeah, I think a lot of these things. If you’re thinking long term, and doing things the right way. I think they pan out very well. But also probably in managing investors, ?And I’m a venture capitalist and we track metrics on a monthly basis and say, how come you missed, etc.

There’s a fine line between being ultra cautious and sort of sandbagging and saying, Look, I’m only gonna do x and you know you’re going to do three x versus, say, you’re going to do three x and end up a two and a half x. So how should founders think about this? When they’re projecting to their board and investors and so on? What advice would you have for them?

Donna Wilczek - 20:09

Well, I think it is just as bad to sandbag and blow out the numbers than really putting forward a realistic number because what people are looking for is that you are able to project a realistic number and you can get in that ballpark. That’s where you’re really starting to see that the organisation has maturity and has the ability to predict and forecast properly and really understand the sales cycles that are going through and figuring out which ones are going to close and what’s not.

It’s a sign of a mature organisation. So sure, in these early days, it’s very hard to do but you really have to get to a place where you can start trusting your sales organisation. The sales organisation feels confident and comfortable to accurately state what’s happening, as well as building a salesforce that starts building relationships with their prospective customers, because ultimately that’s what drives the signature. That’s what drives the confidence and whether you’re going to close the deal or not. So if you don’t build a sales force that has those relationships and has worked with the executives with the right people at the organisation, then you’re going to continue to get all these wild fluctuations on what the number is and no one ever knows what it is.

So, really start trying to seek out sales people that are driving relationships with the right people at the organisation, the conversation needs to be pivoted around the value and really understanding what the goals are of this organisation and figuring out can you create a mutual close plan with your prospect? Can you do that together and if you can start doing that consistently, then ultimately, that’s how you get the trust and the numbers and you’re not either sandbagging or missing wildly. But you’re getting to that place where you can trust the numbers coming up.

Sanjay Swamy - 22:19

But, I’ve got a couple more topics kind of related. I hope I ask them in the right sequence. The second half of your title is about innovation. You’ve recently done some large acquisitions. So that’s one way to do innovation. We’ll come to that in a second. But as the company scales up, you have these large marquee names running core parts of their business on the platform, there’s always this challenge of maintaining these large customers in the day to day business operations that you cannot mess up with, versus also needing to innovate. You’re sitting in Silicon Valley in the heart of the Innovation Hub on the planet. There are always newer startups trying chipping away and trying to do some of the stuff that they’re already doing or trying to do, but doing it faster and better with the newer platforms.

How do you balance out as the head of product innovation, and especially continue to be seen by your large customers, as you know the partner they can trust for the innovation as well?

Donna Wilczek - 23:31

Yeah. I think it goes back to these relationships with the customers. So first and foremost, the spirit I propose is none of us is as smart as all of us. So start there, start with this mindset, that you will not create real innovation, pragmatic innovation, unless you understand the business problem inside and out. Evaluate that business problem from every single angle and try to get a lot of different viewpoints. Get close to these customers around what problem they are actually trying to solve for.

It makes me cringe when somebody says, Well, this other platform does this thing. Honestly, I don’t care at all. I don’t care what the other platform does. What I care about is first and foremost, the business problem, what problem are you trying to solve or what goal are you trying to achieve? Then working with a lot of different voices, customers in different industries, different perspectives, different views on that same problem statement and making sure that every release has room for innovation. You cannot just have a bunch of features that customers are specifically asking for you to need this feature.

Likewise, you cannot just have innovation out there that is not meeting the day to day. So this art is really this balance. But you must reserve room for innovation. Otherwise, you’re writing your death sentence for your company, somebody else is going to out innovate you. So create an environment where number one it’s okay to fail. It’s okay to try ideas and prototype them with your customers and see. But the other advice I would give here is don’t innovate based on some technology because you’re interested in using that technology. Innovate based on really understanding the problem statement, and figuring out the best technology for that problem statement. Don’t all of a sudden over rotate and say, oh, everything’s got to be blockchain or everything’s got to be AI or ML. Understand the use case first and then figure out what the best technology is.

Sanjay Swamy - 24:48

Terrific. Yeah, so that I think is really important. I think if you keep looking at the use cases and the customer benefits, then the technology is a vehicle to achieve that rather than the primary thing. So let’s switch gears a little now. You guys are in the news for this relatively significant acquisition of Llamasoft. 1.5 billion type of a thing and probably a pretty large team as well.

So we’d love to hear from you on how a company like Coupa thinks about M&A, which could be a positive outcome for several young startups as well, that are out there today. And also the process. How long ago did you know because people don’t really understand this happened overnight? Is it the culmination of an existing relationship that’s been working very well? And obviously there are the large startups and large acquisitions. I’m not talking about the smaller acqui hires which are different situations. So, how should startups be thinking about this? How do you guys from the acquiring side, think about companies to look to work with?

Donna Wilczek - 26:09

Yeah, It goes back to those customers and the problem statements and understanding what are the needs of the customer base and where do you want to go as a company? What are you trying to build and when you understand the customer needs, you can really start evaluating. What are those whitespace opportunities? Where can we add value to these customers? Our M&A team at Coupa, I would say is second to none. Because we’re constantly partnered with the product organisation on the M&A team.

This is a collaborative exercise that we’re working through, around what are the customer needs. Should we build? Should we buy? Then really clearly articulating the intent of the acquisition. What is the intent and making sure everyone is on board with that same intent. One of the keys to our success with acquisitions when we do acquisitions, is this notion that we are going to unify this company, immediately. We’re not going to allow it to sit as a standalone company with a standalone development team, engineering team, product Management and sales marketing. We’re not going to do that. We are going to get after it on day one, unify the team, first, unify the people, and then bring them aboard, and then work together as one team.

During the M&A process I think what’s really critical to success as you’re thinking about these companies, and potential is first and foremost, the fit of the people. It’s the people that are going to make this acquisition successful. Are you culturally aligned? Do you have the right mindset? If not, you may want to walk away from it because it will never work. If you have to try to force it together. It’s really hard to do. I think the world is littered with failed acquisitions, because they simply weren’t cultural fit. I don’t think we need to name any names, but I’m sure we can both think of some right off the bat.

So really thinking through is that a cultural fit? Is the combined company going to create a one plus one equals three situation? How would that happen, really understanding and articulating the value of these combined organisations and understanding how the technologies will fit together and start building out those processes on day one, starting with unifying the team.

It’s the same strategy we’ve applied to all of the acquisitions we’ve done at Coupa regardless of the size whether it was a tuck in acquisition, whether it was a talent based acquisition for domain and really small acquisition or something like Llamasoft poweracquisition, where we’re going to retain the team, technology and unify ultimately with a focus on user experiences. But day one, start with that team and start with the unification of the team and over the last few months, that’s what we’ve been maniacally focused on at Coupa.

Sanjay Swamy - 30:32

Great. So coming up in about 30 minutes. It would be great too on the personal front about your family of kids and how do you balance. Do you feel like you are able to balance all of these things? Women obviously have several more challenges in even balancing a lot of these things. So, it’d be great for people to hear how you have managed to lead the way here.

Donna Wilczek - 31:16

So I would say it’s work life integrated and what has worked for me and wouldn’t maybe not work for everyone is this notion of work life integrated where I work some crazy hours. So sometimes I’m on the phone in the middle of the night with customers around the world. Sometimes I’m up early to make sure we’re supporting our European customers, or working late for Australia. It shifts continually.

So in my world, it’s about work-life integrated. And taking those times where I can block my calendar to be with my family to be with my kids. The pandemic has actually changed the dynamic quite a bit because I was travelling well over 100,000 miles on an annual basis for many years. The way we were able to achieve that is that my husband stayed home with the kids. We made a decision that would work best for us is that he would stay home with the children. That’s a hard decision to make as well, non-traditional roles. But I feel that ultimately, for me, what works is this integrated life.

I’ll share a funny story for you which I think a lot of people may think I’m crazy, but it’s indicative of me. With my first child it was maybe about a year into Coupa and as you can imagine, startup days, everyone is working all the time. I remember going into labour and I was working on my laptop in the hospital room while my husband was sleeping next to me. The nurse walks in and says, What are you doing, and I’m like, I’m working. I have all this work and we just laughed. But it works for me and no point in time, at no point in time, was I uncomfortable with that. I encourage everyone to find your personal balance, and work with your management structure to be able to do that. But then also, as you’re growing your startup, have empathy for your team members that are doing the same things. The people on your team and what they are going through and try to determine how to help them balance those pieces of their life. What works for one may not work for the other. But have empathy first and really try to think through. I think everyone is now digitally, working virtually. I think we have a lot of freedom to accommodate people. If we first seek to understand and have empathy for those things, but what works for me may not work for you. I recommend everyone to find their own balance.

Sanjay Swamy - 34:15

I was just recalling about three four years ago when there was this BBC journalist and a video interview and the baby crawled in and then the nanny came and pulled it away and it made the headlines. But this year, I think everybody’s gotten used to it, you almost assume you’re going to see that in every video.

Donna Wilczek - 34:36

Child or animal is going to come into the window. Knock on wood. I don’t believe that’s happened to me.

Sanjay Swamy - 34:44

I see one right now.

Donna Wilczek - 34:48

I think, again, we’ve set discipline in our house and the kids really respect the boundaries.

Sanjay Swamy - 34:58

You’ve talked about 100,000 miles and all of us are sort of itching to travel at least for pleasure, if not for work. What do you think the new post COVID era is gonna look like?How are things gonna change and which part of that you think is better and not so good?

Donna Wilczek - 35:19

I think everyone’s trying to figure out what this new normal is and on an almost monthly basis, the new normal tends to change. But ultimately, I think that organisations will have seen a lot more people working on different on site schedules than what was before. Maybe no longer Monday through Friday, every day of the week, being on site. Maybe more situations where teams will agree on what days they’ll be on site and create these collaboration sessions more. I definitely feel that at least for the foreseeable future, I don’t see a return to the exact Monday through Friday, everyone doing the same exact situation.

Now, as the vaccine starts rolling out, I certainly would expect to return to more travel. I can tell you I miss it. I miss being with our customers face to face. I miss these whiteboarding sessions. We do them all virtually now. And ultimately, the output is the same. We’re still innovating so quickly, we’re still releasing new features so fast. But there’s something about a personal connection to sitting down with someone and face to face bond over whatever it is that you created, especially in product and celebrating these releases and this innovation. So something I miss.

Sanjay Swamy - 36:50

So we had a small anecdote. Last week was the first time as a VC fund, we had 17 employees as team members.Last week was the first time we met up since the first lockdown in the middle of March. The team has grown from 12 to 17 and as I was driving into the thing, I just pulled up and I created a little survey and sent it out to the team. I said how tall and how big do you think your colleagues are? For the existing ones, it was about the five new members and for them, it was the other 12 members. We’ve had these zoom calls every week right then and as a team, plus everybody’s had individual meetings. And probably two thirds of us got it wrong. People we thought were like five feet eight turnover the sixth footer. This is all you get to see. Because sadly, nobody thought I was a six footer.

But it was really interesting and we just realised that we had been working so closely together and yet, many have not met, you don’t know much about and so many things you don’t know. I was also wondering if we are going to form opinions of people differently now because there’s this aspect of someone who’s just not there. Whether they have an intimidating presence or not, doesn’t really come across in the zoom call; you can probably make some better judgments as well.

One thought that I had would be interesting to see. I also don’t see us going back to a full five day, regular work week. In our profession as VCs, it’s probably easier to do. But I can also say that as a seed stage VC first institution cheque, we always said, Well, it’s all about the team and we have to meet in person. How can you make a decision but we actually made more new investments last year than we ever have. So I think we’ve also found a way to spend more time with the founders. Because otherwise they would say, Well, I just spent two hours in traffic to come and meet you. Can we just do it all in one meeting now they’re happy to meet more often and so on.

And I think there are some benefits that have come out of the last year as well, obviously, the circumstances have been tragic and so on. But yeah, I was just reading that Salesforce, after spending billions of dollars on that massive tower of theirs in the heart of San Francisco suddenly said the death of the five day workweek. So things are definitely going to be quite interesting to watch.

Donna Wilczek - 39:39

It’s a giant experiment that the entire world was forced into, to see what would happen in a remote and obviously for our industry, what would happen to teams and organisations, at least for Coupa and it sounds like for you as well. We saw productivity increase, we saw collaboration increase, we saw more output from the team members.

Sanjay Swamy - 40:05

So things that were considered by customers as it’s done a lot to fast track the industry, in some cases, probably five years and billions of dollars of marketing could not achieve what happened last year. So certain industries and the ones you’re operating in, and several of the ones we’ve been lucky to invest in and have benefited for sure.

Donna Wilczek - 40:39

One thing for any startup listening, I just want to commend you. You said when you went from 12 to 17 you were coming in that meeting and you created this fast survey about how tall everyone is etc. I always want to remind everyone, have fun while you’re doing those things. Have fun with your colleagues, have fun with your team members, have fun with your customers. That’s where the real innovation, real spirit and real connections come from. You can’t just constantly head down work.

Sanjay Swamy - 41:09

I think of a quote from one of my first CEOs that I worked with. A gentleman named Naren Gupta, who’s founder of Nexus Venture Partners, which is a cross border VC fund. He had said once and I was working with him in the valley, “the work should be more fun than fun.” And I didn’t really internalise it at the time, it seemed like a cool thing for the CEO to say, but it has really helped. It’s so awesome for us also 15 years later, as you know, colleagues for we probably have worked together for maybe six or 12 months, but the relationships are what matter over time.

Donna, thank you so much for being on this. It’s been wonderful. I’m sure our listeners, and then the entrepreneurs listening are going to love it. Congrats again on all the successes at Coupa as well as on the way forward as well as personally and wish you all the best.

Donna Wilczek - 42:07

Thank you so much for having me, fun chatting. Take care.


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