RALEIGH – Sure, it’s the dream. Getting so big that you’re valued at more than $1 billion, earning the rarified status of “unicorn” company.

But according to Steve Boehm, chief operating officer of fintech software provider AvidXChange, there’s also a flipside.

“While that may be really desirable, it makes everything that you want to do that much harder,” he told a 300-strong crowd gathered for the closing session of the CED Tech Conference on Tuesday.

He should know.

Launched 19 years ago in the back of a Charlotte coffee shop with five employees, AvidXChange has experienced exponential growth in recent years – growing at a rate of about 45 percent for the last five years running.

Just last December, the firm, which provides automated invoice and payment processes, announced plans to invest $41 million as part of its growth commitment.

The result: an additional 1,229 jobs at its Charlotte headquarters – increasing its workforce by a third to 1,800.

“There aren’t many software companies in the world that are doing that,” he said, speaking from the main ballroom of the Raleigh Convention Center.

Skyrocketing expectations

Back in 2017, the firm’s value soared past $1 billion when it closed on $300 million in financing.

But as Boehm chronicled, expectations of the company also skyrocketed.

Steve Boehm, chief operating officer of fintech software provider AvidXChange.

“We started getting all this public commentary and feedback about the company being really valuable. Awesome,” said Boehm, who joined the firm around that time after stints at Ebay and Wells Fargo.

“At the very moment that’s going on, we’re having to spend an enormous amount of time looking inward. I use the term ‘industrial strengthening’. Because continuing to grow 40—45 percent a year, gets exponentially harder.”

But that’s not all. As the business-to-business sector continues to explode and competitors jump in, Boehm says long-term investors also make more demands.

“My point is, reaching this point of scale is exciting. It’s exhilarating. But the thing I want to stress is, every step of the way, expectations rise,” he said.

“I think everyone knows that, but then when you’re in the middle of it, it’s just almost – not overwhelming – the noise can deafening to keep really focused on what you say matters, and how you help customers win. Because at the end of the day, our customers don’t care about any of that jazz.”

‘Unicorn’ AvidXchange to add more than 1,200 jobs in Charlotte HQ expansion

Along with its plans to expand its headquarters in Charlotte, AvidXChange is building a second primary location just outside Salt Lake City, Utah.

Taking a moment to reflect on what’s fueling the firm’s success, Boehm said knowing when to step out outside your comfort zone is “critically important”.

“If there is one thing Mark Praeger [AvidXChange’s founder] and our board have done, they have made choices at the right moment to decide when we had to go outside and augment the skills in the company with people who are new.

“So far, so good. We have no entitlement to win. There’s no assurance that, while we are large and growing rapidly, that we will ultimately achieve our objectives. But we have high ambition, high expectations to do that.”

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