December 12, 2018 | 4-minute read (754 words)
In 2014, in response to the rise of the cryptocurrency environment, Jake Benson founded Libra, a leading technology and data services provider for middle and back office crypto asset processing. Libra’s premier solutions enable the transformation of distributed and decentralized data into auditable financial information within an enterprise-grade highly scalable and secure infrastructure.
Adapting with a New Asset Class
Libra’s first product to market in 2014 was an individual crypto accounting solution called LibraTax, built to track crypto activity and establish cost basis to calculate gains/losses and report taxable events.
EGFS Systems Manager and Consulting Controller/CFO Tina Gregory says, “As this new asset class evolves every day, we need to have auditable results.” For compliance, auditing, and accurate reporting, Libra’s Crypto Office is the leading platform, as evidenced by its impressive client list.
Libra provides a system of record that automates and optimizes accounting, audit and tax processes for funds and fund administrators, OTC and proprietary trading firms, exchange platforms and accounting firms.
Jake Benson says, “The core business issue Libra addresses is how to efficiently transform raw crypto transactional data into business information that can be used to improve performance, create financial statements and provide regulatory reporting and transparency.”
“As an accountant, CFO, and systems manager,” says Gregory, “I love that Libra’s platform is so comprehensive and customizable. At EGFS, we recommend Libra to all our clients in that space to ensure that they're not only compliant, but they also get the insights that they need to be competitive. The reporting that Libra offers is unmatched and uncovers a lot of opportunity,” says Gregory.
As the market continued to develop, Benson realized there was a larger problem Libra could help solve, so in 2016, he redirected resources to develop an enterprise product and relocated their headquarters from San Francisco to New York City.
Adapting the Company
Gregory continues, “What makes Libra so special is that it refocused so seamlessly when it needed to adjust.”
“We listen to our customers’ challenges and build our solutions to meet their most pressing needs. We’re extremely focused on continuing to expand our institutional product offerings to meet our customers’ requests,” says Benson.
Gregory reiterates the importance of being flexible with the business model. “Lots of startups fail because they refuse to be opportunistic and evolve to meet the demands of their market.” Inc.com attributes 17% of startup failures to inflexibility, citing a bad direction or a failure to redirect as causes of death.
Libra’s transformation to an enterprise solution has been a powerful transition. The product is growing, and so is the team. Libra’s executive team is comprised of traditional financial services professionals and technology experts experienced in designing and deploying trading, audit and risk services for some of the largest financial institutions in the world.
Libra’s leadership knew when to bring in external support as well. “An early investor of Libra recommended securing a foundational team of experts: a law firm, Perkins Coie; a bank, Silicon Valley Bank; and an accounting/payroll professional, Early Growth Financial Services,” says Jake Benson.
Working with Early Growth Financial Services
Tina Gregory, a systems integration specialist at EGFS helped Libra set up the chart of accounts and enter six months of information.
When Libra raised more capital, it expanded its corporate infrastructure, and Tina immediately integrated its accounting software (Quickbooks) with SVB, Bill.com, and TriNet. This enabled Libra to practice one of the first rules of 21st century operations: straight-through processing to ensure accuracy, increase productivity, and reduce the opportunity for fraud.
Benson says, “EGFS has added value far beyond that of an outside accounting firm. Their knowledge, maturity, best practices, vendor recommendations, and experience is proof of their competence and expertise.”
“Tina always goes the extra mile to make sure that Libra looks good. Whether it’s working all night or on holidays to make our monthly deadline or jumping on a call with short notice when situations arise, she is wildly dependable and counted on as part of the Libra team. She’s also helped spread the word about Libra's Crypto Office technology to top accounting firms and to crypto funds and fund administrators that EGFS also works with,” says Benson.
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