Runway Puts High-Growth Finances in Motion With Rho
How an AI-powered video editing platform uses the Rho Card to automate their expense management and boost their working capital
Runway’s previous corporate card came with high-friction workflows and a credit limit that was tied to their bank account balance, hindering their ability to grow.
With the Rho Card, Runway enjoys more credit, more cashback, and flexible cards that can be assigned and automated for each major expense channel.
Runway was founded in 2018 by three graduate students in the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University, working at the intersections of art and technology. Their browser-based, AI-powered video editing software uses machine learning to automate the repetitive, time-consuming, and difficult workflows that typically make creating video hard and expensive, like removing background from videos. Now, with just a few clicks, anyone can create quality videos at a fraction of the cost—or even for free.
After Runway raised its Series B, their team knew they had to take stock of their finance solutions. “With all that cash coming in,” said Michelle Kwon, Runway’s head of operations and finance, “it made sense to reevaluate who we were as a company and what our financial needs were going to be moving forward.” That meant reconsidering a frustrating corporate card that was restricting their growth potential.
“Everything from the UI to raising our credit limit to paying down our card was really high-friction. We weren’t able to issue multiple cards, and our limit was tied to our account balance, so our diminishing venture capital negatively impacted our credit even as we continued to grow.”
For Kwon, the breaking point came when their card’s demanding workflows and low credit limit interfered with Runway’s operations. “I could only move $99,999 at a time, so I had to add a calendar reminder to do that twice a week. At one point, we reached our limit, and we weren’t able to process payments. It took our card provider days to resolve the issue. After that, it was an easy decision to switch to Rho.”
When it came time to choose a new card provider, Runway found an attentive partner in Rho. “Rho showed a lot of interest in us as a company, and their solution was much more specialized and white-glove,” said Kwon. “I needed to feel confident that the provider we chose would be there to support us should anything go wrong, and I felt that trust right away with Rho.” Better still, Rho’s accessible platform and holistic approach to underwriting meant Runway would finally get the financial boost they needed to thrive.
“I had done a lot of research into SMB and tech-forward finance. Two things that stood out about Rho were their sleek, user-friendly dashboard and, more importantly, their growth-oriented credit algorithms and scaling limits.”
With that, Runway moved the majority of their spend to the Rho Card—and saw immediate results.
For starters, Rho’s instant, card-by-card reporting has enabled Runway to gain greater visibility into company-wide spending patterns.
“Rho makes it effortless to issue cards, whether virtual or physical. The founders and I each have our own, and we assign a card to each major expense category like software subscriptions and marketing channels. So, it’s very easy for me to figure out what our spend looks like month over month and then have that data feed seamlessly into QuickBooks.”
That means Kwon can skip the financial busywork and spend her time on more impactful tasks. “Since I own both finance and operations, I’m always looking for ways to streamline core aspects of my job. Now that we’re handling most of our spend through the Rho Card, charges are automatically debited and reported, and it shaves at least five hours off my weekly to-do list.”
Another benefit Runway enjoys with Rho is the ability to earn major rewards on recurring expenses—like their significant AWS spend, which they previously handled via ACH. “When I first joined Runway, we weren’t spending a lot, and it was fine that we were doing most of our payments through ACH,” recalled Kwon. “But as our costs ramped up, we realized we were leaving a lot of money on the table. It’s also not the safest way to move your money, having people take funds directly from your account.”
Now, Runway automates AWS payments—their highest infrastructure cost—through a dedicated virtual Rho Card and earns 1.5% cash back on every purchase, optimizing their working capital.
“The ROI on Rho’s cash back feature has been incredible,” said Kwon. “That’s 1.5% savings per month we just weren’t getting before.”
For Kwon, the most fulfilling part of working with Rho is knowing that it squares with their vision and values as a company.
“I’m proud to say we’re an immigrant-led company and we travel a lot internationally. Therefore, a big priority is ensuring we have solutions like the Rho Card that allow our team to spend easily, whether they’re in New York or Chile or Greece.”
As a cutting-edge AI platform, that also means meeting Runway’s needs for a tech-forward solution that helps their business run smoothly. “With Rho, it feels like we’re using a card that’s in line with our expectations as a tech company,” said Kwon. “The best thing I can do for Runway’s founders is ensure they don’t experience any hiccups or have to know what’s going on behind the scenes. Our partnership with Rho makes that possible.”
As Runway grows, they’re excited to integrate even more of their finances through Rho’s platform and play an active role in shaping solutions to come.