David vs. Goliath

Coupa vs. Ariba (SAP)
DAV18 coupa

The challenge: Beating out an international powerhouse to sell spending software to big companies.

What they did: Gung ho about whipping their budgets into shape, many companies invest in complex software to track spending down to the last Bic pen. But their good intentions are often frustrated because employees find the programs daunting. The Oracle (ORCL, Fortune 500) veterans who founded Coupa in 2006 created cloud-based "spend optimization" software designed to be as accessible as Facebook. "We're by far the most usable tool out there," says CEO Rob Bernshteyn, 39. With big clients like the Container Store -- and more than 90% of customers renewing their annual contracts, according to the company -- the Silicon Valley firm says it pulled in $15 million in 2011. VCs are flocking: Bernshteyn has raised $41.5 million since 2009.

This story is from the March 18, 2013 issue of Fortune.
  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated February 28 2013 10:44 AM ET
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