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AIR DATE: March 21, 2024



Hi. I'm Brian Jaffee, Partner at Thoma Bravo, and this is Beyond the Deal, a special bonus episode of Thoma Bravo's Behind the Deal and I'm here with the CEO of Bottom Line, Craig Saks.

Craig, I'm really excited to talk to you some more about your inspirations, your career, and your life. But, in case anyone is joining us without hearing the full Behind the Deal episode, tell our listeners a little bit about Bottom Line.


Thanks Brian, and great to be here. So, Bottom Line is really all about enabling companies to pay each other and to receive money from companies that are paying them and to do it very efficiently and to manage the cash flow that results from that. And so we have a collection of market leading assets and products and a payment network that enable us to help businesses and banks and their customers pay each other more efficiently and more effectively.


What, what's something people don't know about Bottom Line that you wish they did know?


Yeah. There's a lot. You know, Bottom Line's, uh, um, brand isn't very visible and that's by design because we actually enable others to do business payments under their own name often and so a lot of people don't really know and understand what we do. I think there, there're a few things, perhaps, that I would, would highlight.

Um, one of the things that a lot of people don't realize is just how much money gets moved or paid through Bottom Line Solutions each year. Yeah, so, uh, we got, uh, together the other day and we were adding it up saying, "Well, just how much does the world rely on what we do?" And every year, we, um, enable others to send or receive payments worth more than $10 trillion and if you compared that to an economy, we'd be the second-largest economy in the world after the US, if you... If it... If you could call it GDP.

So, you know, that's just, a r- a real affirmation of the impact that, you know, what is often a, a fairly little known company has on the, the wellbeing of the global economy and the ability of companies to continue to thrive because they can pay each other and receive money effectively.


Maybe talk a little bit about your leadership style and how, how has that evolved over time and, um, you're, you're obviously from South Africa, uh, have now been in, in the US, uh, for a long time but, maybe talk a little bit about your background there and, and, uh, and any influence that's had on you as, as a leader.


Yeah. That, that's, like, three questions.


Yeah (laughs).


[inaudible 00:02:48] work through that. So, um, so perhaps if I just start with, so I'm South African. I moved to the US in 2012 actually on the back of a transaction with a company I worked for was bought by ACR Worldwide and, you know, there became an opportunity to come to the US and take on, uh, a different role, um, in, in the ACI at the time and it was a really good experience.

I had always worked globally and internationally in a very multicultural context but you don't truly get confronted with the impact of culture and how people think until you live in a place. Being a tourist and being a citizen are two different things and, you know, I've really learned a lot about the value of how different people think and how different people perceive the world and the different contributions that people make, um, from different places and so I really enjoy working for a company like Bottom Line, which is really a global organization.

Just being, uh, tuned in to the value of differences and the creativity and the power that comes from a diverse state of experiences and perspectives has really been influential in my life. The flip side of that is while you celebrate that state of voices, you need to bring things to alignment. And so the second thing that I talk about all the time is are we aligned? Are we aligned? Are we heading in the same direction? At a company level, that is all about making sure that we have clarity of purpose and we have a common culture.

So we spend a lot of time talking about how we align the company around the one thing that we do well and that's business payments and around a culture which is how we work with each other and with our customers and, and how we want a bold value and so on. And so we spend our time kind of with this yin and yang of different voices, different perspectives, good debate, you know, bickering with each other and what have you with getting consensus, getting aligned, making sure that you all understand where we're going and then holding ourselves accountable to delivering those goals.

Let me, let me turn it on you. You know, you guys, as Thoma Bravo [inaudible 00:05:00] just this amazing experience working in software and fintech companies and figuring out how to, to create value from these opportunities that you guys work with. As you think back on, on Bottom Line and the deal, um, you know, is there anything that jumped out at you and that surprised you, um, as you look at the progress so far and where we're going?


Yeah. I, I think, you know, for us, the thing that's been maybe most surprising has just been the amount of opportunity that's just sitting inside of the company that really wasn't fully unlocked. And, you know, we did all that work and diligence to really try to understand the business in a, in a deeper way. The markets, uh, the opportunity, and one of the things as part of that process that we were trying to figure out is, you know, any time you take a company private that's been public for 20 plus years, that, that's just a, that's a big paradigm shift in how the business operates and it's identity and its, and its culture. Um, and so you, you never know exactly how the organization is going to react to that. And not to mention all the change that, that comes with it in terms of the restructuring that we went with. The new leaders that you brought into the company. Uh, the way that we change the organizational design, again, with, with your leadership.

And so, what's been so surprising to us is that... And again, a lot of this was, was, uh, was hard work by you and the team but, but how the company really hasn't skipped a beat. In fact, it feels like the employees and the business were, were yearning for this type of change. For some, somebody to come in, uh, and, and really set a new direction and path for the company and to unlock all of this just latent opportunity that, that was sitting there and now watching that all unfold over the last, you know, 18 months or so has been amazing. And I feel like we're just getting started.

There's all these different initiatives that we have underway to drive organic growth. You know, we were able to do a highly successful acquisition pretty quickly out of the gates in the Nexus business that, that we acquired. That's been going well and creates a lot of opportunity and so as we sit here today, I think that's what we're probably most surprised about was how the organization reacted so resiliently to, you know, what is a, uh, really big change for the company and then just how much upside opportunity there is, uh, that we're really just getting started on.

So, it's super exciting to, to see that all unfold. Um, and it gives us a lot of conviction in our business as we look at, uh, you know, other opportunities to take companies private and, and really, uh, try to replicate what we've done with Bottom Line.


It's been, uh, an absolute pleasure working with you guys. We wouldn't have had the pro-, made the progress we've made so far if you guys didn't ask those really hard questions, you know? So, thank you so much. Great pleasure to be here.


The executives were not compensated in connection with their participation, although they generally received compensation in connection with their roles and in certain cases are also owners of Thoma Bravo portfolio company securities and or investors in Thoma Bravo funds, such compensation and investments subject participants to potential conflicts of interest.

Certain statements about Thoma Bravo made by portfolio company executives are intended to illustrate Thoma Bravo's business relationship with such persons rather than Thoma Bravo's capabilities or expertise with respect to investment advisory services. Portfolio company executives were not compensated in connection with their podcast participation, although they generally receive compensation and investment opportunities in connection with their portfolio company roles, and in certain cases are also owners of portfolio company securities and/or investors in Thoma Bravo funds. Such compensation and investments subject podcast participants to potential conflicts of interest.