Thejo is the perfect candidate for this award as he is a genuine example of someone who has ridden the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur – more than once. Thejo realized he needed to move to the epicenter of the tech startup world after his first company’s software thrived in India but ultimately failed to break through globally. This was around the time of Twitter’s meteoric rise, and he couldn’t help comparing his company’s performance! So Thejo chose to pick himself up and go again and his decision to move to the United States, get a master’s degree from UC Berkeley, then start another company in 2011 proved to be the right one. Automatic, which he co-founded, was sold to SiriusXM for $110 million. Thejo’s experience at Automatic revealed that widespread inefficiencies of accounting and finance in small to midsize companies can actually curtail a company’s growth. The most inefficient area he saw was non-payroll spend – no one had designed a fully articulated, consolidated software solution to fix this broken process. So he did; he started Airbase. Airbase was founded in 2017, and so far has raised $30.8 million in venture funding from leading VC firms including Bain Capital Ventures, First Round Capital – and from others including the former CFO of Netsuite and co-founder of Okta, Airbase has gone on to become the world’s leading spend management platform. Thejo’s story is one of resilience, foresight and determination and he has instilled those characteristics into his team at Airbase. He is a true leader and someone that deserves to be recognized for this award.
Founder and CEO
Thejo Kote is the Founder and CEO of Airbase. Airbase is the leading spend management platform for small and midsize companies. It combines comprehensive accounts payable, an advanced corporate card program, and employee expense reimbursements into one system. Kote has 17 years in the IT and financial services industry. He began his career in 2004.
Before joining Airbase, Kote was a co-founder and CEO at Automatic and before that a co-founder and advisor at NextDrop. Earlier in his career he worked with Infosys Technologies Limited as a software engineer.
Kote graduated from UC Berkeley School of Information with a master’s degree and from Visvesvaraya Technological University with an undergraduate degree in electrical and electronics engineering.
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