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Kyriba Shows Big Firms The Money and More

Cash management may sound dull, but not if you’re handling billions of dollars daily for some 750 customers, including major multinational corporations such as Qualcomm Inc. and Nordstrom.

That’s the business of San Diego-based Kyriba, which provides its cash management services via the cloud, also known as the software-as-service model.

Recently, Kyriba’s sales have increased so rapidly, it’s had to hire another top executive to manage things. Marcus Bragg, most recently a group vice president at Oracle, comes in as president to assist Jean-Luc Robert, the company’s chief executive officer since 2003, and will be ensconced at Kyriba’s San Mateo office.

Privately held Kyriba is reluctant to reveal detailed financials, but in a recent announcement, the company said last year it generated sales between $30 million and $35 million, up 36 percent from the prior year. Its bookings in the second half of 2012 were up 50 percent over the like period of 2011.

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Among some of the high-profile customer wins last year were AOL, Time Warner Cable, TRW Automotive, United Heritage Insurance, and Vale. Existing customers include Amway, Booz Allen Hamilton, Matson, Wellpoint, and San Diego-based Illumina Inc. and Cymer.

Robert says the cash management software his company provides is more cost effective than older legacy systems that often require regular capital outlays for new hardware and software.

‘Price Effective Solution’

“We provide a solid product that is well received by users because it’s a price effective solution,” said Robert. “It gives visibility to customers (of their firm’s cash assets), and more control over those assets.”

The software Kyriba makes is generally aimed at larger companies with revenue of at least $800 million to those in the Fortune 100 level, Robert said. But recently it launched another cash management software suite targeting smaller firms with revenue of $50 million to $500 million.

Christine Dover, research director at IDC in San Francisco, said cloud-based software-as-service has been around for several years with early adopters using it for such functions as customer relations management. In recent years, both large and small companies are using it for back office functions such as accounting and human resources, she said.

By shifting the operations to the cloud, companies don’t have to invest in new hardware and software systems. “The software-as-service model changes how you spend money. Companies don’t create capital expenses. Instead you’re effectively renting (the systems),” Dover said.

The move to cloud-based systems is occurring across entire markets and giving smaller providers such as Kyriba plenty of new business, she said. “The small scrappy companies are starting to step up and be noticed, and the market is paying attention. They’re seeing them as a viable solution. They’re finding it’s not risky to move to the cloud.”

Hiring More Staff

The dominant software companies in the financial accounting market space are SAP and Oracle, but older and more established competitors include SunGard and Wall Street Systems, Dover said.

SunGard, based in Pennsylvania, did about $4.5 billion in sales according to its website, while Wall Street Systems reportedly did $185 million in sales for its last fiscal year.

Robert came to Kyriba after the business that was formerly part of France-based XRT was taken private in 2001. A native of France, he came to the United States after marrying an American woman whose parents live in the area, and decided this was a great place for Kyriba’s headquarters.

Kyriba’s Sorrento Valley office just about doubled to 30 people in the past year. Robert said he expects the local office will add an additional 20 staffers by the end of this year in just about every function, including marketing, sales, accounting, legal, support and human resources.

Kyriba’s global staff increased from 180 at the beginning of last year to about 250 people today, Robert said.

The firm that has always had an international bent opened new offices in London and Tokyo last year. It also maintains offices in New York, Paris, as well as Rio de Janeiro and Hong Kong.

San Diego is a good spot for a technology business like Kyriba because of the talent pool that exists, as well as the high quality of life and environment that also draws folks here, Robert said.

While concerns by companies using cloud-based management systems may exist, those concerns dwindle in the face of Kyriba’s employing the highest security levels for its servers maintained in data centers in multiple global locations, said spokesman Tim Wheatcroft.

“There is no higher level of security than the systems we use,” he said.

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