About Us

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We help financial institutions upgrade small business banking

 

Our team has a successful history within financial technology making payments and banking easier to use and understand. Our home office is located in downtown Detroit, Michigan. Along with our home office, we have an office in Austin, Texas and a growing remote workforce.  

We are building Autobooks to help financial institutions maintain and grow small business relationships. 

Financial institutions want small business relationships.  The struggle is determining how to do so in a way that justifies the effort.

Relying upon consumer banking tools to serve small businesses.  

While on the surface that may seem more efficient and cost effective, it presents many problems.  Co-mingling small business and consumer accounts makes it difficult to effectively market to, service, support, and monetize small business relationships. 

For the small business, banking within a consumer account type is not a good experience when it comes to managing receivables (incoming customer payments).  Although it’s low cost, its simply too simple for their needs. 

What about leveraging commercial banking functionality?  

Traditional business banking offers more complex functionality but is really not the right fit either.  Trying to onboard and service small businesses alongside commercial clients requires expensive resources .  Rightfully justifying fees being charged back to the small business owner. 

The small business owner ends up underutilizing the product suite because it is too complex.  This leads them to becoming frustrated with the fees, leading to potential complaints or account closure. 

According to an Aite survey, they don’t mind paying for a product that offers them benefit.  So it's not just that they are fee adverse

The small business solution

Autobooks upgrades online banking to include the product suite that is “just the right fit” for the small business and the financial institution. 

Small businesses receive the benefits they need: 

  • Accept online payments from customers via card and ACH. Incoming payments are deposited directly into their existing checking account. 
  • Easily track incoming customer payments and outgoing bill payments in a single application.
  • Automated bookkeeping tasks and access to financial reports without having to use an expensive and complicated third-party accounting system.

Financial institutions receive the benefits they need:

  • Increased deposits and non-interest income from existing small businesses.
  • Becoming more attractive to new deposit relationships.
  • A small business focused product suite that stands up to the emergence of non-bank competition.
  • A fintech partner that offers best in class go to market services to ensure a successful product launch and product adoption.

Why partner with Autobooks

Our role as a fintech provider is to not only offer technology, it's also to provide knowledge and value to your financial institution.  

We know small businesses

We spend every day talking with small businesses, studying the market and applying our learnings for the benefit of our financial institution partners.  

We leverage product discovery frameworks to gain deep understanding of why small business adopt and use financial products.  When we leverage those insights to drive product adoption and utilization, your financial institution benefits.  

We help you deepen customer relationships.  Protecting deposits, growing non-interest fee income and embedding a small business Ecommerce platform directly into your banking channels.  

Experience

Our team has been delivering financial technology  solutions, supporting millions of users, processing billions in transactions, for over 20 years. We’ve worked with hundreds of financial institutions to deliver internet banking, treasury, payments and accounting services.

Our experience working with financial institutions allows us to successfully navigate complex security and regulatory requirements. We have a proven vendor risk management program that has been approved by financial organizations small and large, and we have active working relationships with all the major Core Providers.

Better together

We built a solution to partner with financial institutions, not compete with them.  Together, we can better serve small businesses.  

Executive Team

Steve Robert

CEO and Co-founder

Steve Robert is the co-founder and CEO of Autobooks, the first fully integrated payments and accounting platform for Small Business - delivered through financial institutions. Autobooks provides a receivables solution (invoicing & payments) to ‘re-bundle’ back-office services and provide straight-through-processing with their native accounting ledger.

Prior to Autobooks, Steve spent the past 15 years as the technical co-founder & CIO at Billhighway, an enterprise payments platform for large non-profit organizations. In 2009, Billhighway was awarded a $1.1 million-dollar mega-credit through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and was recognized as one of Michigan’s 50 Companies to Watch, which celebrates high-performing second-stage businesses. Billhighway went on to become recognized locally and nationally, as one of the best places to work and grew to serve millions of users, processing billions of dollars before being acquired in 2015.

Steve is an accredited investor, adviser and board member whom actively coaches, speaks and writes about startups, technology and entrepreneurship. In 2012, he was invited to the White House to be part of the historic signing of the Jumpstart Our Business Startup Act (JOBS) by President Obama through his community involvement with Startup America as a regional leader for Startup Michigan.

Corp! Magazine named Steve an entrepreneur of distinction and a Michigan top executive and presented his company the Business of Science and Technology Award for excellence in technology. Lawrence Tech University recognized Steve as a Leader & Innovator and Crains Business Detroit has recognized Steve as Metro Detroit’s Top CIO

Aaron Schmid

CIO and Co-founder

Aaron is a certified public accountant (CPA) and brings a unique balance of both finance and technology to the team. Prior to Autobooks, Aaron was also a cofounder of Billhighway, where he served as its Chief Product Officer – together, with Steve, lead the organization through several stages of growth, achieving a 30%+ annual growth rate for over 10 years.

Aaron is a seasoned management consultant and industry expert, specializing in various financial management suites – implementing numerous sophisticated financial systems and business process reengineering efforts for fortune 500 clients.

Aaron is a graduate of Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, with an MBA in finance and information systems.

Jeff Blackman

CFO and COO

In his role as CFO/COO, Jeff is to continue to build upon the existing foundation to support Autobooks' tremendous growth. He is a nationally recognized C-level executive with a proven track record of scaling rapidly growing SaaS businesses, leading successful exits, completing and integrating M&A transactions while driving corporate strategy and delivering financial results. Jeff is also the founder of Detroit’s CFO forum, a leadership council, serving to empower CFOs across many industries.

Jeff most recently was the CFO / COO at DaySmart Software, a SaaS based fintech company that has been on the Inc 5000 list of growth companies for 8 years running. DaySmart provides software and payment solutions to SMBs which provides an integrated means to run their entire front and back office operations.

Prior to DaySmart, Jeff was the CFO / COO of PrizeLogic, a firm that incentivizes consumer engagement across all brand platforms. Jeff was also CFO of ForeSee, a SaaS company, the leader in multi-channel customer experience. It was while he was at ForeSee that Jeff was the winning recipient of Crain’s 2009 CFO of the Year Award, at which time, he also negotiated a $5 million-dollar tax incentive with the State of Michigan.

Jeff has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting and his MBA in Finance from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at University of Michigan.

Kyle Bazzy

VP of Enterprise Growth

Kyle Bazzy is the VP of Enterprise Growth at Autobooks and is leading the strategy to partner with financial institutions nationally to help them become a digital destination for their small business owners.

Prior to Autobooks, Kyle built and led enterprise sales organizations at fintech companies such as Billhighway and Benzinga. Kyle is also the co-founder of a non-profit, Venture Catalysts, that’s mission is to build a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem in Detroit. Kyle has spear-headed some of the largest efforts in Michigan to support entrepreneurs including Detroit Startup Week (Techstars), Startup Boost, Detroit Founders Dinner and more. Kyle’s enterprise sales experience, networking ability and passion to help small businesses has been integral to his success helping entrepreneurs and organizations experience growth and profitability.

Kyle graduated from Central Michigan University with a B.A. in Law and Economics.

Chris Spiek

VP of Customer Acquisition

Chris Spiek is VP of Customer Acquisition at Autobooks and is responsible for designing and executing our strategy for bringing solutions to the market that delight small business owners.

Chris co-founded the Re-Wired Group in 2006 and worked for over a decade to formalize and popularized the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework, one of the most prevalent product development tools in use today. During that time helped teams at places like Basecamp, Facebook, Intercom, and Dropbox define their product strategy.

Chris has deep technical expertise, having started his career as a software developer. In addition to his work in software, he has worked on and helped launch hundreds of projects in industries including CPG, finance, education, energy, automotive, and health and fitness.

Chris’ work is featured in Clayton Christensen’s latest book: Competing Against Luck.

Before joining Autobooks Chris was Head of Product at Auth0, an Identity and Access Management company and Forbes 2018 Cloud 100 company. Chris holds a B.S. in Management Information Systems from Central Michigan University.

Derik Sutton

VP of Marketing

Derik Sutton joined Autobooks in 2018 as VP of Product and Experience, since moving on to now lead the team's marketing efforts.  

He brings more than 19 years of fintech experience. Before joining Autobooks, Derik founded Become Labs, a product and design company focused on helping fintech companies and financial institutions design and build better product experiences.

Prior to Become Labs, Derik worked for fintech companies in a variety of roles including sales, business development, and eventually product. Derik has spent the majority of his time in product focused on digital banking, bringing a variety of new products and services to market.

Derik has a B.A. in Business Management from West Texas A&M.  

Jay Valanju

VP of Corporate Development

Jay is responsible for developing and implementing both near-team and long-term business strategies to ensure the mutual success for both Autobooks and our clients. Jay leverages his skills, knowledge and foresight to accelerate these strategies through internal operations, strategic partnerships and various joint marketing, development and investment initiatives.

Jay has been on the forefront of fintech for over a decade. Prior to joining Autobooks, he founded Buzz Points. There he worked with numerous financial institutions, including Discover Financial Services, to grow Buzz Points into the leader in merchant funded loyalty with financial institution partners in over two dozen states. Jay was also a founder of FundsXpress, one of the first online banking providers. FundsXpress was acquired by First Data. Jay has also held leadership positions at Aliya, a marketplace lending platform deployed into PNC Bank, and at Pluck Corporation which was acquired by Demand Media.

Jay has a B.A. in Physics from The University of California at Berkeley and holds an MBA from The University of Texas at Austin where he focused on Entrepreneurship.