How Cledara helped Carbon centralise their SaaS subscriptions

Learn how Carbon went from a spreadsheet and a shared company card to becoming SaaS management pros.

Adam Paxton, VP of Operations
Industry
Revenue Management
Headcount
20
HQ
London, UK
Funding
Undisclosed
Software count
32

The team at Carbon has been managing 30+ software subscriptions with Cledara for around a year and a half. Which means they signed up to Cledara in the midst of the pandemic lockdown.

Why does that matter?

Well, because even though they had to reduce headcount during Covid, Carbon kept their software stack running and even signed up for Cledara to manage it all. 

That says a lot about how important software is for a tech startup like Carbon. They are what we call software pros. They not only leverage software, they get the most out of it.

Beside saving thousands of dollars and 5+ hours a month, Carbon is the perfect example on how you can make the most out of your SaaS by managing it with a SaaS management platform. 

We spoke to their VP of Operations, Adam Paxton, to see how they’re doing it.

“I would have no hesitation in recommending Cledara to companies, certainly our size and definitely bigger. It does everything you need and it pays for itself. It’s awesome.”


Managing it all in one central place

“We've got front and back-end teams, product people, project managers… And everyone has their own ways to work and their own software”, Adam explains.

And like many other startups, Adam told us that they didn't have a process in place for what software people should use.

Sound familiar?

That’s pretty normal in agile tech startups like Carbon: getting things done is by far the main priority at an early stage. But that comes at a cost.

“We discovered that while it was easy for people to sign up and start paying for software, it was much harder for them to shut stuff off.  And we couldn't really just leave it to the teams to cancel them”, Adam says.

So Adam’s team didn’t really have the possibility to see and understand basic things like what software they had at the time, the respective owners and spend.

How Cledara helped

Adam is very honest about what he was looking for: “all I wanted was a solution to give me a centralised place where we could see all our software.”

He continues “when we first brought Cledara on, we suddenly started understanding our monthly spend, who was spending, what we needed to keep going, what we could cancel instantly... It was a big step forward.”

“With Cledara, all the maintenance and internal audits are done in a matter of minutes”, Adam says.

Doing software budgeting properly

SaaS subscriptions are among the top expenses in tech startups now, hence the importance of being able to forecast upcoming spend. 

The thing is, Adam’s team didn’t really have a way of doing so before Cledara. And they were fully aware of this.

In fact, it’s what he likes most about Cledara.

How Cledara helped

“I think the main thing that we got out of Cledara was the confidence to know what our software budget should be'', he said. “Today that’s rock solid for us. We know exactly where we are and we can control it to the penny.”

“Cledara didn’t just make it far easier. It made it possible”, he continues. “We simply couldn't have done it before. We now keep an eye on unnecessary spending and eliminate it right away. It's just a game changer.”

“We now see that we’re not spending on tolls that we don't need anymore and when vendors try charging us extra, Cledara immediately flags it. That has been extremely helpful for us”.

Setting up a better way to pay for software

Like many other startups before Cledara, Adam tells us they used to do things 100% ad hoc.

“A product manager might say, let's try this new piece of software. And it would depend on where they go and ask, but ultimately someone would sign that budget off without any accountability.”

“After that, they probably were given the company credit card (a big no-no). And probably the first time finance becomes aware of the new expense is when an invoice arrives, or an entry on the card statement signals it.” Not before.

The same lack of process affected software cancellations. Adam tells us that the “process” was to “intuitively look at subscriptions that we hadn’t heard from for a while, ask if anyone was using it and then try to wind it back”. Again, manual and not ideal.

How Cledara helped

Today, the team spins up Cledara’s virtual cards that are assigned to each individual subscription, and those are 100% visible on the Cledara platform.

“All the time to chase people down, finding out who signed up for what, and if they’re using it or not... Unless you personally chase these little things and get them done, you don't realise how much time it can take. Cledara has been superb at streamlining that. It just makes the whole process far better for us”.

Adam’s final piece of advice - start small and scale

“To be honest, when we saw Cledara for the first time, we didn’t look for anything else. It did everything we needed and it came at an amazing price point. In fact, with the rewards it pays for itself!”

“Now that we’ve been using it for some time, I can tell you that as soon as you've got a team, more than four or five people start signing up to different tools to bring their ideas to life, you'll be really thankful to count with a tool like Cledara."

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