Sparen has always been part of Rob Bernshteyn’s life. When he was six years old, he emigrated to America with his parents from the former Soviet Union, and the family’s belongings were limited to two suitcases and some cash. The early days in a harsh neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York were tough. Bernshteyn struggled at school, spoke little English and was often beaten up; in the midst of the Cold War, he was an outsider because of his background. Gradually it got better, he learned the language and got good grades, especially in mathematics. But he still remembers how tight the money was today. When shopping, his family sometimes did not know whether they could afford toothpaste or not.
Looking back, Bernshteyn says in an interview with the FAZ that these difficult times have, in a way, laid the seeds for his task today. He runs Coupa Software, a provider of programs that help companies manage their expenses and save costs. He says the frugality that shaped him is often not anchored in companies. “I can still be amazed when people spend the money in the company coffers as if they weren’t their own.” With Coupa, he wants to change this mentality and provides software tools. He promises to cut his customers’ costs somewhere between one and ten percent. He estimates the total savings his company has delivered since its inception to be in the tens of billions. In the midst of the Corona crisis, he thinks Coupa is particularly relevant, because at the moment companies are paying close attention to their expenses. In better times, expanding sales was a priority, but now costs were playing a bigger role.