Hi Luke, please introduce yourself and your role.
“I’m Luke Tuttle and am an entrepreneur who enjoys throwing myself into product challenges to solve business problems. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family and seeing my kids grow up in this technology driven world so different from my experience. My other passion outside of work is endurance sports, in particular ultramarathons and Ironmans, that give me an opportunity to explore nature all over the world and stay fit while doing so.
“I’m currently the General Manager of North America and also of Trade Management Services at MODIFI. In my role as General Manager of North America, I lead all commercial activities, including marketing, and am focused on how we can support exporters in Mexico, USA, and Canada to expand their businesses through faster access to working capital. I also lead a new division of MODIFI, Trade Management Services, where we are developing services that help importers and exporters grow through trade.”
Who have you looked up to as a career role model?
“I have been very fortunate to have great role models throughout my career, going all the way back to my first experiences at Accenture. Several partners were instrumental in my learning how to lead large projects, show business value at all times, and focus on the customer at the core of everything being done.
“Before that, I learned my work ethic from my parents, who have each only worked in areas that they were passionate about. They also showed me how to be passionate outside of work, by volunteering, getting deep into hobbies, and focusing on health and fitness before it became so mainstream.”
Tell us about your role as COO at READY Robotics.
“As COO at READY Robotics, I helped them raise their Series B financing round and set in motion a plan to rapidly scale the business in 2020. While immediately setting forth on a hiring plan to scale the business, I identified some key process bottlenecks that needed to be resolved. I also was the first addition to the C-suite, joining the two co-founders, Ben Gibbs and Kel Guerin, so brought in an outside perspective to the business. As the COO, I was responsible for Sales, Marketing, Production, Customer Success, Finance, and Internal IT.
“The year kicked off great, but when COVID-19 hit, we had to make very rapid decisions to ensure the business could weather a downturn in investments being made into products such as ours. I led a significant restructure of the business that also required a shift in strategy to focus 100% on software. As part of that shift, I took on the Chief Product Role and worked with the team to develop the architecture for the next major release of the software platform, Forge/OS 5.0.”
What is MODIFI?
“We are a startup founded by an experienced FinTech team who sold their prior company to Klarna. We’ve been in business about five years and have established ourselves in 15 seller markets around the world. The business set out to be technology enabled, as well as global, as part of its DNA, and both aims have been accomplished, giving us an excellent platform for continued growth.
“MODIFI is a provider of business payments for global commerce, as well as trade management services. Our payments product enables sellers to get paid instantly, while their buyers have the option to pay later.”
Tell us about your work with robotics and CRM.
“I was very fortunate to have worked for Siebel, who was the innovator in the CRM space back in the late 90s. Through my work at Siebel, I got to see the power of leveraging customer data to improve business outcomes. I worked for Siebel for 3 years, and then started my own consulting company where I led the BMW Financial Services CRM implementation, which is still in use today, nearly 20 years later.”
You've spent 15 years in commercial leadership. What makes a successful leader?
“Being accountable, having the courage to speak up, communicating well, and being empathetic are some things I think about frequently. It’s also critical to develop trust and respect with your team, and to be able to work together well when things are going well, but also in more difficult times.”
What has been MODIFI's greatest challenge and how did you solve it?
“MODIFI is rapidly growing, so remaining aligned across the business is extremely important for success. Alignment is increasingly challenging, especially as the company breaks past the 100 employee level, which we are doing right now. To ensure more alignment and create more agility in decision making, we’ve recently created a leadership team. This team of senior leaders from across the company adds another dimension to leadership beyond the C-suite team. Collaborating at this level is enabling us to be more agile, but also enables us to align in a more distributed fashion.”
Where do you see the robotics market heading?
“Industrial robotics have had very little innovation in their controlling software since robots were widely deployed in the 1980s. Their interfaces are still, for the most part, proprietary by brand, but also not very easy to use. I’ve written about the training challenges in this space since every brand of robot needs its own training class.
“Industrial robot arm prices have also been decreasing slowly over time, but I believe more competition will drive down prices more, and then the simplicity of the software will become a more important factor. READY Robotics is solving the software problem, so that robots can be deployed more easily, and when robot prices come down, there won’t be an excuse for why any manufacturer isn’t automating. AI will also help to augment the programming environments to make tasks easier to set up and deploy.”
What do the next 12 months hold for you and the company?
“At MODIFI we are focused on delivering a very high value to our customers with a payments product that helps them grow, as well as be resilient to supply chain disruptions and macro economic impacts such as inflation. We believe that our solutions, delivered digitally, will help to address the gap in trade financing between what businesses need and what is available.”