Customer Stories / Superhuman

Superhuman's journey from spreadsheet chaos to strategic clarity

4 min read
Andrew Maher
Andrew Maher
Head of Finance at Superhuman

Back in 2017, Superhuman did something audacious. They launched an email client, but it wasn't just any product launch. To gain access, you needed an invite from a current member to join the lengthy waitlist, and only after payment could you access the concierge onboarding service with Superhuman’s team. From the outside looking in, this strategy seemed almost too daring.

However, Superhuman struck gold. Their waitlist grew to the hundreds of thousands and they rapidly became the email product of choice—especially among venture capitalists and startup founders. It wasn't just about being fast; it was about setting a new benchmark for efficiency. Superhuman transformed the everyday chore of inbox management into an experience that made you feel, well, Superhuman.

Yet amidst this rapid growth and acclaim, an ironic challenge lingered—their financial processes were stuck in the past, tangled in a web of spreadsheets and manual tasks.

Superhuman’s spreadsheet spaghetti

Meet Andrew Maher, Superhuman’s Head of Finance. In an environment defined by innovation, Andrew found himself grappling with financial tools that slowed him down. "Our financial processes should have been as cutting-edge as our product. But there I was, stuck with traditional tools that hadn’t seen innovation in years."

For Andrew, each day was a tedious dance with spreadsheets. He spent countless hours customizing multiple spreadsheets for different departments. “Imagine slicing and dicing our financial model to selectively share certain sections with various teams, all while safeguarding sensitive data like salaries.” Each team would fill out and return their respective pieces of the model to Andrew, who then faced the daunting task of reassembling the data to gain a complete picture of the business.

But it wasn't just about a few spreadsheets. Often, it involved wrestling with a labyrinth of sheets for just one financial model—be it headcount planning, budgeting, or growth forecasting. As Superhuman expanded, these tasks grew more cumbersome, and ate into the time that should have been devoted to strategic planning. “Keeping up with the company's rapid growth meant constantly reworking our financial data,” Andrew shared, underscoring the need for a change.

For most businesses, Andrew’s story sounds all too familiar. As a company grows, so does the mountain of complex tasks that need management. The easy answer? Just hire more folks. But in a world where efficiency and lean operations are prized, simply adding more team members can feel counter to generating sustainable growth. There certainly had to be a better way. Right?

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The turning point

When Andrew Maher reached out to Runway, it wasn't just about finding a quick fix for Superhuman’s financial management challenges. He was in pursuit of a solution that could keep pace with the company’s rapid growth. From his first interaction with Runway, Andrew knew he had found what Superhuman needed. After integrating their general ledger, HRIS, and various data sources into one single platform, Andrew and his team saw an immediate impact: “Runway made it incredibly easy to present customized financial insights to various teams, ensuring appropriate transparency and confidentiality."

The transition to Runway was easier than Andrew had anticipated. “We were up and running within a matter of days, not months, a stark contrast to other tools I've used. The Runway team was with us every step of the way, ensuring we were fully set up for success." With data management no longer a logistical nightmare, Andrew’s focus began to shift from spreadsheet management to strategic financial planning.

A leap in efficiency and strategic decision-making

With Runway, Andrew and his team found themselves effortlessly collaborating with other departments, navigating everything from intricate quarterly planning to critical headcount assessments.

Andrew was particularly impressed with how Runway transformed the team's engagement with financial data. "It's fascinating to see our marketing and sales leaders actively building scenarios in Runway. They’ve developed a sense of ownership over the numbers, something that was previously seen as the exclusive domain of finance.” This new dynamic fostered a hands-on approach to financial planning, where leaders could manipulate and create their own scenarios, yet align with the base case or forecast set by the finance team.

Gone were the days of grueling financial modeling. "We saw our efficiency skyrocket. We’re talking a 50X to 100X improvement. Hours-long tasks now wrapped up in seconds.” Complex financial models were distilled into clear, actionable insights, making it easier for the team to respond to inquiries from key executives, providing detailed answers and insights quickly. Additionally, Runway's AI capabilities were like adding a touch of magic to Superhuman's financial strategy, turning data into actionable intelligence. "Imagine having a co-pilot in finance, one that brings critical insights alongside number crunching."

This allowed Superhuman's finance team to shift from basic data handling to impactful strategic analysis, making each decision not just informed, but profoundly impactful.

More than a product

For Superhuman, partnering with Runway was more than just adopting a new tool; it represented a fundamental shift in their business planning, resonating deeply with their forward-thinking ethos. "Runway transformed our finance operations. It wasn't just a change; it was a revolution, echoing Superhuman's commitment to innovation and efficiency." Runway didn’t just fit into Superhuman’s ecosystem; it was the missing piece that completed it, paving the way for a future where finance is not just a routine task but a dynamic, integral component of their continued success story.

Disclaimer: This customer story is for informational purposes only. Runway makes no warranties, express or implied, in this document.

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