Coupa Q1 18 – Wall Street happy, customer growth and Amazon partnering


Last month’s successful user conference has been followed by an upbeat set of first quarter numbers for Coupa.

Rob Bernshteyn with Coupa logo behind 370px
Rob Bernshteyn, Coupa

Coming off the high of last month’s Inspire conference in San Francisco, Coupa just turned in its best revenue quarter to date – $41.1 million, up 41% year-on-year – on narrowed GAAP net losses of $10 million, down from $11.9 mililon last year.

For CEO Rob Bernshteyn, it’s validation of the spend management specialist’s proposition to customers:

Our philosophy has always been to look at spend comprehensively. If you look at the letter C in the name Coupa, it stands for comprehensive. So, the idea is to help companies capture as much spend under management as possible in all categories direct and indirect.

Our approach to comprehensiveness is picking off one by one the use cases where we believe we can drive a great deal of value around all areas of spend. Those use cases include things like preapproved spend and procurement, post-approved spend in expenses, ongoing expenditures with invoicing, the ability to do complex spend optimization and sourcing events, the ability to analyze areas of spend that should be targeted but are currently not under management.

He points to a number of customer examples to make his point, including:

  • ScotiaBank, Canadian international bank and a leading financial services provider, which selected Coupa’s source-to-pay solution in order to achieve the specific objectives identified for their spend management project.
  • Pearson, the world’s learning company with expertise in educational courseware, which also selected source-to-pay solution to optimize their supplier contract process, enhance user experience and improve transparency.
  • Eurofins International Support Services, a bio-analytical testing and genomic services provider, which is another source-to-pay user which based its selection decision on Coupa’s unified suite of applications.

Bernshteyn adds that, while most of the Q1 customer wins came from the US and European markets, Coupa is now seeing traction in Asia and Latin America:

We continued to make meaningful investments to expand our footprint in these geographies. Our partner ecosystem is key to our global strategy and we continue to develop and expand these relationships as well.


One of the most important of such partnerships is with Amazon Business. This has the two firms teaming up to pitch Coupa Open Buy with Amazon Business to business, higher education and public sector employees to enable them to search, find and buy goods quickly, while ensuring that required spending and budget controls of their organizations are applied automatically.

Bernshteyn sees the Amazon partnership as giving Coupa users embedded visibility and optional instant access to millions of items beyond the catalogues typically managed by their employer. It also raises Coupa’s profile in the global market:

The partnership really is centered around spot buy purchasing. So there are a host of categories that companies sometimes don’t have a supplier relationship for, they may not have catalogue loaded in Coupa and they may not have a way to offer a user something that they would like to requisition and purchase. And effectively the search result may come up blank.

In those cases, we are sending that information over to Amazon Business. Amazon Business will render in line within the system with a very non-clumsy environment the opportunity to have access to millions of different catalogue items that are available through Amazon Business, put them into the Coupa shopping cart, get them approved and get them purchased.

It might be suggested that there are some potential overlaps here between Coupa’s functionality and Amazon Business’s ambitions, but Bernshteyn doesn’t see this as an issue:

You’d have to ask Amazon Business specifically their target market where it cuts off, but obviously it’s largely centered about smaller organizations, certainly smaller than the ones we’re targeting here at Coupa. We don’t see much of an overlap there at all.

But what you get with Coupa and Amazon is access to a wide range of spot buy purchasing options while at the same time having the controls, the cross-company analytics, the workflow, the category analysis and spend analysis capabilities, the supplier information management capabilities, all the things that would come with core cloud-based enterprise software versus what Amazon offers which is this wide catalogue for spot purchasing.

All told, it’s been a good start to fiscal 2018, he concludes:

We have been deploying Coupa in record time and we have been leaving our customers with a platform that can easily be reconfigured without the need for detailed code level efforts. Our customers are deploying the Coupa platform quickly and are seeing measurable results sooner and their businesses are benefitting from it.

Our vision is to keep improving and improving in this area of time to value, agility and accelerated outcomes. This is the vision that Coupa is pursuing neatly, transparently and memorably described with each vision area timelessly committed to the letters in the name of our company, Coupa; comprehensive, open, user centric, prescriptive and accelerated. The pursuit of this vision is where our execution comes in.

My take

Nicely done by Coupa. A user conference that had a strong and positive buzz about it, some interesting new partnerhships, some good customer wins and a set of numbers that beat Wall Street expectations. Not much to complain about there.

Image credit - Coupa

Disclosure - At time of writing, Coupa is a premier partner of diginomica.