Growth has been Retool’s focus since the company was founded in 2017. Early on, it devoted engineering resources to platform development and building a foundation for future scale.
“Our biggest priority was growing our self-service business,” said David Hsu, founder and CEO at Retool. “We wanted to maximize the usage of Retool and then worry about monetization.”
As that growth strategy paid off, Retool shifted its focus to reducing payment friction, offering flexible monetization options to support new products and services, and enabling easy expansion into global markets. The company also had to better manage tax compliance and international currencies without burdening its team with slow, frustrating manual work or the tedium of manually error-checking data as it flowed between different platforms.
“Our focus moved to collecting cash as quickly as possible, and a big part of that is making customers feel confident in their ability to pay us easily and securely,” said Luke Franklin, controller at Retool. “But we also wanted flexibility with payments as we launched new products and services and the ability to manage those payments accurately and efficiently.”
Retool needed a comprehensive billing and invoicing solution that would enable fast and easy payments while supporting the company as it expanded quickly. Retool started with Stripe Billing for simple monthly subscriptions.
“We looked into a few other products, but the fastest way to get payments up and running was with Stripe,” said Hsu. “Stripe was a clear winner as a developer-first solution, and the onboarding process was dead simple—even we were surprised that we could start accepting payments the same day.”
As Retool added more solutions and subscription plans, it upgraded to Stripe Billing Scale to automate its revenue operations with a complete billing and reporting solution. It then set out to automate its tax collection and compliance processes, but after working to implement a separate tax compliance software for nearly nine months, Retool abandoned the project. Instead, Retool selected Stripe Tax, which automatically collects the right amount of tax and creates the reports needed to file returns. Having everything on the Stripe platform also ensures Retool can continue to scale without unnecessary friction from manual processes.
“Stripe gives us efficiency because everything is in one place—subscriptions, invoices, payments data, outstanding balances, tax automation—and we don’t have to cobble data together or worry about incomplete data flowing between systems,” Franklin said. “Stripe gives me the comfort that we’ve got a complete picture of the customer and we’re getting standardization, robust reporting, and clean data.”
Additionally, Retool offers its customers Stripe Checkout for a prebuilt, hosted payment page optimized for conversion and that can be implemented quickly, and Stripe Payment Element for a suite of rich UI building blocks to design a customized yet secure payments experience.
By relying on Stripe’s complete platform, Retool can focus on growing its business while saving its own internal team’s time, resources, and engineering bandwidth. Retool has used Stripe since the earliest days of the company, and Stripe’s flexibility and scalability has ensured its lean team can continue using Stripe even as it adds more products and services and continues to expand internationally.
One month to deploy Stripe Tax to ease tax compliance
Retool was onboarded and managing sales tax compliance on Stripe in about one month, and gained the flexibility to collect and remit sales tax in the US and manage local taxes in other regions.
Franklin said, “We were pretty far behind on the sales tax implementation project. Stripe Tax was up and running quickly and let us be proactive about invoicing into all US states and ensuring compliance with local sales tax rules.”
Over $630,000 recovered with Smart Retries
Retool has relied on Stripe’s Smart Retries tool since 2018 to recover more failed payments. It also uses Stripe to automatically send emails to customers encouraging them to update failed payment methods without burdening the finance and accounting teams.
Franklin said, “If Smart Retries fails to collect payment, we can downgrade a customer and restrict access. That’s been pretty successful in making sure we collect cash or, for failures, automatically make customers aware of their payment status.”
3X more payments volume going through bank transfers compared to traditional card payments
Since implementing Stripe Payment Element and Checkout, Retool has been able to introduce a variety of payment methods for its customers with no additional work, including USD Bank Transfers, and SEPA Direct Debits. In fact, bank transfers now account for three times more of Retool's payments volume compared to traditional card payments.
One platform for billing, invoices, tax compliance, and more
Stripe gives Retool efficiency and scalability by providing a complete and connected view of customers across its payments processes, and without having to rely on complex integrations or slow, manual data consolidations.
Franklin said, “We can set up a customer in Stripe, and everything from subscription and invoice payments to payments data and outstanding balances is all in one place. With billing, tax, reporting, and more on the same platform, Stripe automation helps eliminate inefficient processes as we scale the business, and that’s essential as we continue supporting Retool’s growth with a relatively small team.”
We’ve been on Stripe since day one. We processed our first payment on Stripe and we processed our most recent payment on Stripe.