Isaac Saft, Founder and CEO of VATBox, sat down for a Fireside Chat with Shmuel Chafets, General Partner at Target Global, at last month’s NOAH Conference, held for the first time in Tel Aviv. NOAH is an event where Internet CEOs, executives and investors gain deep insights into the latest proven concepts, network with senior executives and establish new business relationships.
Here are some of the highlights of their discussion:
Chafets asked the question on everyone’s mind: if Isaac’s background is not financial, how did he get started with VATBox? Saft explained that in a previous position with an Israeli company, he traveled quite often and of course, submitted expense reports throughout his travels. He knew his company could recover the VAT but when he tried to understand the mechanics of the process, he realized that it was quite complex. That got him thinking, what about other companies? Does anyone really know how to maximize VAT recovery from company T&E?
As an entrepreneur, Saft did extensive research and found that Fortune 500 companies can spend over a billion dollars in travel annually, potentially leaving millions of dollars of recoverable VAT on the table every year. While aware of the bottom line impact, many of these companies simply cannot take the risk of being in non-compliance, and therefore write off the full T&E amount as an expense. With his eye on this opportunity, Saft founded VATBox, currently the recognized leader in the foreign VAT recovery domain.
During the chat, Saft underscored that VATBox’ services are relevant across a wide range of industries. Whether a company is in the technology sector or the highly competitive pharmaceutical and life science industries, or even consulting firms and manufacturers, any company with travel expenses can benefit and increase their bottom line.
Despite challenges, VATBox is clearly heading in the right direction. When asked where VATBox will likely be in three years, Saft explained that capturing the precise data of each and every transaction and then developing the technology to validate every one of those transactions is the key to moving forward. The goal is for VATBox to dominate the European market, and then use the data and technology to expand into other regions as well.
Chafets asked some other good questions relevant to Israeli startups, such as how does being a commander in the army compare to being an entrepreneur? What are the specific challenges facing an Israeli company in Europe? To see the VATBox CEO’s insightful responses, click here to watch the Fireside Chat.
Founded in 2012, VATBox has been revolutionizing the automated VAT recovery marketplace with its cloud-based solution that can be deployed in 30 minutes without any additional budget or IT resources. VATBox’s out-of-the-box solution handles reports, data collection, aggregation, qualification, submissions and the complexities that accompany these processes using a fully automated approach. VATBox implements the highest level of data security and compliance with all international rules and regulations of the various jurisdictions, and offers companies 360⁰ visibility into their VAT spend and recovery. As a privately-held company, VATBox’s technological breakthrough has raised USD $50M in private equity funding and attracted a large portfolio of Fortune 500 clients, including Dell, PPG, Monsanto, Teva Pharmaceuticals, 3M, Eli Lilly, and many others.