When Subu Rao first learned about Creative Destruction Lab, he had to ask himself one question before he applied to CDL-Montreal’s most recent cohort: Was joining CDL worth flying around the world every eight weeks? After some reflection, the Bangalore-based co-founder of Discover Dollar decided the opportunity was worth taking a chance on, and he submitted his company’s application. Discover Dollar, a software company that helps enterprises reduce revenue leakage, was accepted and Rao found himself booking that first 24-hour flight to Montreal.
The goal, of course, was to level up his young company. “Discover Dollar was set up with the vision to help companies harness the power of data science to discover real value,” Rao said. Specifically, he wanted to solve the problem of overpayments. He knew that procurement teams at large enterprises often negotiated price deals and discounts with their suppliers, but then the finance and accounting teams wouldn’t collect on those discounts because they weren’t aware of those deals. A lack of visibility into the financial details of the deals leads to unnecessary losses through overspending.
That’s where Discover Dollar comes into play. Using machine learning and natural language processing, Discover Dollar analyzes contracts and negotiation materials to identify when discounts and deals are mentioned. The program then applies that information to its analysis of the company’s finances, and it automatically detects overpayments. Once an overpayment is flagged, the system notifies internal audit teams.
The Discover Dollar platform yields result quickly. Rao said the company began working with a major global liquor brand and within four weeks, Discover Dollar identified more than $500,000 in revenue leakage. For the time being, Discover Dollar is focused primarily on retailers, but it hopes to work with CPG, healthcare, and manufacturing enterprises in the future.
Thanks to CDL, the company is getting that chance. Rao said that his very first visit to CDL validated his instinct to join the program. “There was no question of whether I should come back in two months,” he said. “The amount of value I was getting was fantastic.”
The calibre of mentorship and feedback Rao received during his initial CDL session convinced him that the program would prove transformative for Discover Dollar. Rao landed a major new client through CDL, and he said his CDL contacts helped him make the most of his time in Montreal. While his CTO oversaw day-to-day operations in Bangalore, Rao was able to schedule meetings with high-level contacts to whom he was introduced through CDL. He’s now in talks with a major North American electronics retailer about a potential business deal.
In addition to the connections he made through CDL, Rao attributes Discover Dollar’s newfound momentum to the focus he cultivated through the program as well. The mentors he worked with at CDL, including Patrick Pichette, Barney Pell, and Maor Amar, among others, helped him overcome the small business stumbling block of trying to respond to every customer’s feature request and getting bogged down in too many initiatives. By learning to drill down to the company’s core priorities, Rao became more adept at identifying the most important problem statements and devoting the company’s resources to those. “The result of CDL’s mentorship has been a pristine, clear focus on what we need to be focusing on, which is actually bringing in a lot of business to the company,” he said.
Applications for the Creative Destruction Lab 2019/20 Prime and Specialized streams are now open. The deadline to apply is August 12, 2019. To learn more about the CDL program, attend one of our Live Information Sessions.