Accounting automation startup Trullion lands $15M investment

Isaac Heller and Amir Boldo spent over ten years in finance across private equity-backed and pre-IPO companies. At these firms, they dealt with CFOs who wanted to save money by consolidating manual processes and reducing the cost of audits — in part by modernizing their sprawling software tooling.

It’s their experiences with CFOs that led Heller and Boldo to co-found Trullion, an accounting software platform that connects corporate controllers, CFOs and external auditors on a single platform, offering a unified source of truth for financial leaders — if the sales pitch is to be believed, at least.

“Trullion is and always has been an application layer software-as-a-service platform, leveraging open source AI libraries while building proprietary processing to unlock these accounting data sets and libraries,” Heller, Trullion’s CEO, told TechCrunch in an email interview. “CFOs can save significant money by consolidating manual processes and reducing cost of audit. Auditors, meanwhile, can modernize their toolset and reduce significant labor costs and error rate.”

There’s a strong desire to modernize in accounting, it seems. An IBM poll names accounts payable as one of the most automatable business processes, but a whopping 38% of those responding say that their teams spend more than 25% of their total time on manual tasks. In large finance teams — for example, those with more than 25 members — the number is even higher, at 44%. And for a sizable minority (11%), manual tasks take up more than half of their team’s time.

Trullion — which offers an array of lease accounting, “revenue recognition,” and audit automation tools — can extract data from lease contracts algorithmically, generating “audit-ready” reports for financial stakeholders. The platform also connects and manages customer relationship management software and billing and contract data, providing a dashboard with data sources in one place.

Beyond this, Trullion lets customers set product and pricing accounting strategies with automated workflows, which include preset revenue recognition rules. Managers can generate revenue forecasts or a full audit log and deliver ad hoc portal access to auditors.

“Trullion ingests structured and unstructured data and automates corporate accounting workflows based on generally accepted accounting principles and international financial reporting standards rules,” Heller went on to explain. “The current ecosystem is static enterprise resource platform databases (e.g., Oracle, SAP) and service-oriented auditors. Trullion is a pioneer in the early wave of AI-powered accounting platforms.”

Is Trullion truly a pioneer? That’s up for debate.

Rivals in the AI-powered accounting software space include Docyt, which has raised $1.5 million for its platform focused on collecting financial data, digitizing receipts, and performing categorization and reconciliation. — a startup that closed a $52 million tranche late last December — offers software to automate common accounting processes. There’s also Roger, a well-funded accounting automation module used to automate financial processes such as paying bills, doing approvals, scanning receipts, ensuring compliance and bookkeeping.

But to its credit, Trullion has substantial venture backing behind it, having raised $15 million from its initial Series A round led by Third Point. Today, the company secured an additional $15 million in a round led by StepStone Group with participation from Aleph, Third Point and Greycroft.

In a press release, aStepStone group partner said: “It’s a great company at a critical time in the accounting world. We believe this is the right time to get on board. The financial industry needs powerful, cost-effective technology that can automate critical processes and minimize risk. Companies are also discovering that AI and accounting automation [are] essential to keeping up with financial standards.”

There’s truth to that. According to a March survey by Intuit, 48% of accountants plan to invest in automation tools and AI over the next 12 months. Another, separate recent report found that 59% of small businesses — perhaps optimistically — don’t think that they’ll need an accountant in 10 years’ time thanks to automation.

Labor-saving potential aside, startups in the accounting automation space have done quite well in terms of attracting venture investment over the past several years. As per PitchBook (via the Wall Street Journal), AI-powered accounting software firms amassed $233.3 million in venture capital between January 2022 and the end of March 2022, surpassing the $210.2 million in funding for all of 2021.

Heller claims that Trullion has over 1,000 customers and 5,000 users.

“The pandemic has been positive for Trullion,” he continued. “This is a highly manual, service-oriented ecosystem that is eager for digital penetration.”

Trullion, based in New York and founded in 2020, has raised $33.5 million to date. Heller says that the plan is to grow the workforce from around 50 people to over 80 by the end of the year.

Accounting automation startup Trullion lands $15M investment by Kyle Wiggers originally published on TechCrunch

How to solve the financial close dilemma: 3 strategies that never fail

The great surge in entrepreneurship following the pandemic resulted in a significant disruption of most industries, which was mainly reflected in significant and widespread adoption of tech, both old and contemporary. Today, technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are being applied across multiple departments and are helping teams work in synergy at a faster pace.

Finance teams are no exception to this trend. The month-end closing process benefits greatly from automation, reducing manual errors, streamlining internal controls, executing recurring events and tasks, and providing real-time insights into the process for quicker decision-making.

However, adopting new platforms and technologies to speed up processes can be overwhelming and time-consuming, especially when you don’t know where to start. So, I’ve put together three main strategies to put you on the path to fully digitizing your business and noticeably improve the closing process.

Automate low-value tasks

The data gathered in these steps will allow you to identify your business’ root issues quickly, which will then let you assess what to do next.

There’s an increasing need to remove laborious and recurring tasks from your team’s plate so they can focus on what’s important. But when it comes to the financial closing process, what can and should be automated?

These are a few recurring tasks that, when automated, can help your team check their status or progress at a glance:

  • The preparation and review of balance sheet reconciliations.
  • Completion and management of closing checklists.
  • Balance sheet flux and/or P&L variance analysis.
  • Data analytics on the health and status of the month-end close.

The data gathered in these steps will allow you to identify your business’ root issues quickly, which will then let you assess what to do next.

Not only will the adoption of automation tools further optimize the closing process, but as technologies continue to evolve, teams that layer these together will substantially improve speed and accuracy. These investments result in financial and operational growth, offering greater analytics and aiding the decision-making process.

Streamline internal controls

How to solve the financial close dilemma: 3 strategies that never fail by Ram Iyer originally published on TechCrunch

Singapore-based corporate services super app Osome raises $25M Series B

Osome is a corporate “super app” that helps business owners with administrative tasks like payroll, accounting and tax reporting. The company announced today it has raised a $25 million Series B from Illuminate Financial, AFG Partners and Winter Capital. This brings Osome’s total raised since it was founded in 2017 to $51 million.

The company says revenues have doubled since its Series A announced in June 2021. It plans to become cash flow positive within the next 12 months, and recently announced a digital banking partnership with Singapore financial service corporation OCBC.

Osome currently serves more than 11,000 business in Singapore (where it is is headquartered), Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. It also offers business incorporation services in Singapore, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom, and integrates with e-commerce platforms like Amazon, eBay, Shopify, Lazada, Etsy and Shopee.

Part of Osome’s new funding will be used to expand its operations in Asia by targeting side hustles and micro-entrepreneurs, in addition to its current customer base of SMEs.

Over the last year, Osome has launched an accounting platform to provide tax and financial reports, expenses and invoice management. It also runs a hybrid accounting service, called the Accounting Factory, that combines machine learning with human accountants and is meant to replace accounting software like Xero and Quickbooks. Machine learning is used to collect, extract and categorize financial data and reconcile it with bank transactions. Then Osome’s accountants look at that information and advise customers. Osome currently has more than 100 accountants and bookkeepers, who are full-time employees.

Other startups that offer corporate services include Sleek, Lanturn and BlueMeg. Osome founder Victor Lysenko said its building a competitive moats by providing a “set-up to scale-up service for businesses.”

“What business owners tell us is that they didn’t startup to do their own bookkeeping,” he said. “We take care of the bookkeeping so they can focus on their business. And we grow with them—our pricing model is based around revenue, not transactions, unlike our competitors.”

Singapore-based corporate services super app Osome raises $25M Series B by Catherine Shu originally published on TechCrunch

Drivetrain is the “Google Maps for business growth”

Businesses usually plot their growth strategies on spreadsheets, but Drivetrain wants to provide a faster alternative for financial planning and decision making. The startup, which calls itself “Google Maps for business growth,” announced today that it has raised $15 million from Elevation Capital, Jungle Ventures and Venture Highway, plus 25 angel investors.

One of Drivetrain’s goals is to help companies identify performance issues before it affects their finances. It integrates with 200 business tools, including Salesforce, Netsuite, Quickbooks, Workday and Looker, and delivers a “system of metrics” in simple formulas, to help companies create financial models and visualizations.

Drivetrain currently focuses on finance teams at mid-market and enterprise B2B tech businesses. CEO Alok Goel, co-founded Drivetrain with CTO Tarkeshwar Thakur, was formerly a partner at Elevation Capital, which has $670 million assets under management. During his six years at the firm, Goel evaluated hundreds of SaaS companies and served on many of their boards.

“One question that fascinated me was ‘what makes the execution of a company predictable’? How does a company consistently achieve targets quarter after quarter? Why do some companies grow faster while others get stuck?” he said.

He saw that top-performing companies used data in their decision making. “Fundamentally because complex businesses like SaaS have this jigsaw nature to them, where pieces need to fall in place at the right time for an outcome to occur later,” Goel added. “This requires a systems thinking and a data driven approach.”

Drivetrain’s software showing revenue and customer buildup report with line items for analysis and insights

Drivetrain’s software showing revenue and customer buildup report with line items for analysis and insights

By connecting to different software, Drivetrain is able to aggregate data and make it easier for teams to understand, aiding them as they create financial plans, do plan-versus-actual tracking, create what-if scenarios and perform root cause analysis. To do that, Drivetrain created a language called DTML (Drivetrain Modeling Language), or programs that capture how businesses are run in an easy-to-understand spreadsheet user interface.

One of its clients, Airmeet, used Drivetrain to cut down on the time it spent exporting and consolidating data across its Quickbooks accounts, Excel files and Chargebee data. By automating its financial reporting and monthly forecasting, Airtrain was able to make its financial data and business metrics accessible to everyone, increasing collaboration because teams no longer had to wait for monthly reports from the finance team.

Drivetrain's team

Drivetrain’s team

Another client, MindTickle, used Drivetrain to automate data gathering and consolidation for its sales, marketing and revenue operations teams. This makes accurate numbers accessible at all times, and means employees no longer have to go through reams of individual spreadsheets.

There are legacy tools like Anaplan and Adaptive for enterprise users, but Goel says they require heavy customization and consultants to implement over a 6 to 12 months period. Drivetrain improves on the process by integrating quickly with ERPs, CRMs, marketing software and HRIS. Goel says it is usually ready to use in two to four weeks, with customers expanding into new use cases, like sales performance management, headcount planning and what-if scenarios, after they get a handle on its planning and monitoring modules.

In a prepared statement, Venture Highway partner Priya Mohan said, “We have struggled to put together Excel sheets for portfolio companies to predict revenue growth, structure the go-to-market plan, and understand levers that would affect revenue and margin growth. Spreadsheets and existing tools fail to do this in real-time. Drivetrain’s scientific approach to scaling business predictably resonated with us.”

Drivetrain is the “Google Maps for business growth” by Catherine Shu originally published on TechCrunch

Tactic’s $11M raise shows even when cryptocurrencies are down, companies still need to count ’em up

No matter what mayhem is going on in the markets, every company needs to stay on top of its accounting practices — especially in crypto, where the decentralized nature of transactions and the relative newness of blockchain tech pose all sorts of complications for traditionally-trained finance teams.

Perhaps that’s part of the reason why less than five months after TechCrunch covered Tactic’s $2.6 million seed round, the crypto accounting software startup has managed to bag $11 million despite a painful market downturn for the sector in what it says was an oversubscribed raise.

FTX Ventures, the VC arm of one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world by volume, led the round as a new Tactic investor. The fundraise featured participation from other new backers including Lux Capital, Exponent Founders Capital, Definition Capital, Coinbase Ventures, as well as existing backers including Founders Fund, Ramp, Dylan Field, Elad Gil, and Sabrina Hahn, according to Tactic.

CEO and founder Ann Jaskiw launched Tactic in 2021 while she was working on a different crypto project and realized from her conversations with founders in the space that they were struggling to close their books each month and stay compliant with accounting principles.

“Pretty much when I asked how people were doing things, the answer was, if you figure it out, please tell me,” Jaskiw told TechCrunch in an interview about the latest funding round.

The company had signed up “dozens” of customers ahead of announcing its seed round in May, Jaskiw told TechCrunch at the time. While she declined to share an updated customer count in the latest conversation, she said the company is primarily focused on supporting large, U.S.-based C-corps rather than early-stage startups.

“We realized that you need to have a dedicated finance function or at least outsourced accounting firm in place in order to really make use of the product,” Jaskiw said.

Jaskiw also shared that Royal, the a16z-backed Series A startup co-founded by musician Justin Blau (3LAU), is one of Tactic’s clients. Royal’s head of finance, Jerry Hsiang, wrote in a blog post on Tactic’s website that with its focus on automation, the accounting software had saved his team an average of 30 hours per month it was previously spending on manual calculations and updates.

“I knew we needed software that could pull transactions for several wallets, calculate the cost-basis, and track the value of our treasury at any given time,” Hsiang wrote.

Looking ahead, Jaskiw said Tactic hopes to become a one-stop-shop for companies to manage their crypto accounting processes. The startup recently added support for the Polygon layer-two blockchain because of its traction in the NFT market, according to Jaskiw. Tactic is also focused on building out “deeper analytics and smarter categorization workflows” as volumes continue to grow on the platform, she added.

“When it comes time for an audit, it’s just really difficult to answer the question, ‘where did the money go?’ We’ve been able to do that with a few of our clients. We give them a holistic view of what’s happening in their in their ecosystem over time and close their books every month to really deliver that regulatory-grade data experience,” Jaskiw said.

The company isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel, though. Its software simplifies and translates complex on-chain data directly onto platforms already used widely by finance teams outside of crypto, such as QuickBooks.

“Early on, people said, oh, you’re building QuickBooks for crypto, and I maintain that QuickBooks is the QuickBooks for crypto. We won’t need to retrain the thousands of accountants in the country when they have a software they’re comfortable with,” Jaskiw said.

With the new funding, Tactic plans to “cautiously” expand its 12-person team, particularly in engineering and product roles, Jaskiw said. The team is entirely based in-person in New York, which Jaskiw said was a positive selling point for some investors. She likened Tactic’s approach to that of FTX, which she said has been able to build a massive product with a lean team of engineers.

“From a team perspective, we really admire their velocity and their capacity to deliver is amazing,” Jaskiw said.

Jaskiw attributes Tactic’s success in closing the round this summer to a few different factors — investors who have a long-term belief in the crypto ecosystem as well as the company’s focus on catering to larger clients who are processing thousands of transactions each month.

“I think we’ve definitely seen the market cool in terms of retail investors maybe jumping in … [but] I have yet to meet someone who had a lot of traction and had funding and just decided to abandon their crypto project. So in some senses, the market hasn’t really cooled there,” Jaskiw said.

Tactic’s $11M raise shows even when cryptocurrencies are down, companies still need to count ’em up by Anita Ramaswamy originally published on TechCrunch

Regate modernizes accounting and financial tools

French startup Regate has raised a $20 million Series A funding round (€20 million) led by Valar Ventures. The company has built a modern software-as-a-service product that integrates directly with your existing accounting stack and connects with your corporate bank account.

This way, you can automate and simplify some of your financial and accounting tasks without having to switch to a brand new accounting tool. For instance, Regate has built integrations with Sage, Cegid and MyUnisoft.

In addition to Valar Ventures, 360 Capital is also participating in today’s funding round. 360 Capital previously invested in the startup’s seed round. The company previously raised a €7 million seed round ($7 million at today’s exchange rate).

Companies usually have to use several fintech and accounting tools for their day-to-day activities. They often have an accounting tool, an invoicing tool, a cashflow management tool, etc.

Essentially, Regate wants to act as the glue that makes this ecosystem stick together. There are two types of clients for Regate — companies that have their own accounting department, or accounting firms working with small and medium companies.

Given that building a new accounting platform is extremely complex if you want to comply with all accounting rules, Regate partners with software companies that have been working on accounting software for many years.

It also opens up some interesting opportunities on the distribution side. For instance, Sage recommends Regate to its own clients — accounting firms in particular.

Companies that use Regate benefits from a user experience upgrade when it comes to sorting through invoices and receipts, retrieving receipts, tracking incoming payments and paying suppliers.

For instance, when you receive an invoice from a supplier, you can get approval from the right people in your company and schedule a payment for later directly from Regate. The startup can issue virtual or physical cards thanks to a partnership with Treezor. It can also initiate bank transfers thanks to an integration with Fintecture.

Regate also helps you track unpaid invoices and follow up with your customers. Using EBICS or open banking APIs, Regate customers can see transactions from their bank account without having to log in to a bank portal.

For accounting firms, they can add Regate to their accounting stack and communicate with their clients directly from Regate. They don’t have to migrate to a new accounting platform and they can save time as customers can see missing receipts directly in Regate.

It’s a different go-to-market strategy and product philosophy compared to Pennylane, a startup that wants to replace legacy accounting software entirely. Regate is currently working with 10,000 clients — many accounting firms as well as many companies directly, such as Le Slip Français, Jimmy Fairly, Cityscoot and Skello.

With today’s funding round, Regate plans to become a certified platform for digitized receipts. This move will foster customer adoption as companies will be looking at solutions to help them comply with French regulation.

Regate modernizes accounting and financial tools by Romain Dillet originally published on TechCrunch

It’s time to get technical with your cash flow

In the world of venture capital, we’re always talking about cash. You hear phrases like “cash burn,” “cash runway” and “cash on hand” every day from investors and founders alike.

Despite all this talk about cash, early-stage companies rarely scrutinize their inflows and outflows at a level that can unlock peak efficiency. Why are they missing the boat? Because the concept of working capital is not as widely understood as it should be.

We believe that building a rolling 13-week cash flow forecast (or a longer timeline once you get going) can help you dig deeper into your finances and find hidden cash reserves. We encourage our portfolio companies to do this exercise in good times and in bad and to always practice forecasting in times of uncertainty.

Building a rolling cash flow forecast is the single best tool you can have to understand where your cash is going, identify savings opportunities, capture more cash and defer outflows as much as possible.

Regardless of how far you’ve come with organic acquisition, now is the time to scrutinize your paid acquisition and all marketing expenses.

It’s like counting calories when you’re on a diet — once you start to pay close attention to empty calories, the little cheats here and there, you can see how they add up. Your company’s cash flow is no different.

Commit to this exercise with your entire management team, and you will all understand just how powerful detailed cash flow is. It can help you understand the fundamental drivers of your business. For the non-finance folks on your team, you can find templates online and YouTube videos to help explain the concept of cash flow.

That said, there are no shortcuts. You must build a forecast first.

Building and leveraging a cash-flow forecast

First, document weekly projected revenue (inflows) and all projected disbursements (outflows). This is a cash-basis forecast, so you need to project cash receipts, which will be based on the terms you have now with your customers.

Remember to adjust for timing. Make sure you account for the customer who is notably slow to pay so your forecast is both realistic and conservative. You can include in these inflows any capital raises that you anticipate in this time period. Again, be realistic.

Be sure to itemize all of your fixed costs (outflows), such as payroll, principal or interest due, rent and insurance. Then, detail your variable payments to suppliers, vendors, IT subscriptions, marketing costs, etc.

Tesorio’s tools aim to help businesses automate payments collection

Although finance teams ultimately control budgets within their companies, investment in technology under the chief financial officer’s purview had been limited — at least until recently. That’s the assertion of Tesorio CEO Carlos Vega, who observed that, prior to the pandemic, most cash management processes had been run in spreadsheets and Word documents.

“Cash is becoming the number one priority for all organizations. The industry’s main competitor is the inertia of doing it the old way, despite it being manual, error-prone, and highly inefficient … All of a sudden, [tools like automation] have gone from vitamin to painkiller,” Vega told TechCrunch via email. “At current inflation rates, companies are losing over 2% in real terms every 90 days they sit on their receivables. That may not seem like much, but for a mid-market business with a $10 million outstanding receivables balance, that’s costing them $210 per quarter or the equivalent of two employees for a year.”

Of course, Vega has a product to promote — Tesorio sells automation solutions designed to help customers manage their accounts receivables. But at least one source supports his claim that automation can transform accounts receivable workflows for the better. In April 2022, American Express and published a survey that found that about two-thirds of firms that have automated accounts receivable processes report benefiting from improved days sales outstanding (a measure of the average number of days that it takes for a company to collect payment after a sale has been made), while about half said that they achieved lower delinquency rates.

“Historically, the account receivable process has been driven by tribal knowledge within the accounting team,” Vega said. “They ‘know’ based on personal experience that a certain customer always pays ‘X’ days late and another customer breaks their promise-to-pay dates, while another set of customers can be relied upon to pay early when asked to do so. If someone leaves the company or is out on vacation, this data is lost.”

Tesorio attempts to capture this knowledge using AI models that look across a customer’s payment history and predict when, exactly, they’ll pay. Vega co-launched the company in 2015 with Fabio Fleitas, who he met while studying business at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

Tesorio was originally focused on supply chain financing, helping businesses save by paying their small- and medium-sized business vendors early. But a year later, the startup pivoted to “directly serving the companies getting paid,” in Vega’s words.

Investors seemingly favor the move. Today, Tesorio closed a $17 million Series B round led by BAMCAP Ventures with participation from Madrona Venture Group, First Round Capital, and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and her sister, 23andMe co-founder and CEO Anne Wojcicki. Floodgate, FundersClub, Hillsven, Mango Capital, Carao Ventures and Xplorer Capital also contributed, bringing Tesorio’s total raised to $37.6 million.


Businesses can use Tesorio’s platform to automate parts of their accounts receivables workflow. Image Credits: Tesorio

“I spent about a decade working in finance, most recently at Lazard investment banking in Latin America. I co-founded a factoring company as a side business to finance small- and medium-sized business receivables. However, it felt like payday lending for business and wanted to find a better way to help companies with their cash flow,” Vega said. “In March 2017, [the modern] Tesorio was reborn with Couchbase and Veeva Systems among our first three customers.”

Tesorio customers can connect their enterprise resource management and customer relationship management systems to the platform to train the aforementioned payment prediction AI models. Training takes about 30 days, with setup averaging around 5 days, Vega says.

“The models are … able to train themselves by looking across our entire dataset of anonymized invoice history, covering billions in transactional volume, to further refine and improve its forecasting accuracy,” Vega added. “If companies can get paid when they expect it, their cash flow becomes more predictable so they can plan their growth better, they become more resilient, and they can fulfill their own mission without relying as much on external sources of capital.”

Tesorio also lets customers create email reminder templates and self-service payment portals. And on the back end, the platform hosts digital workspaces that allow teams to share notes and aggregate accounts receivable data in one place. From the workspaces, teams can also track metrics and monitor cash flow performance, either using out-of-the-box reports or building their own from scratch.

Plenty of vendors compete for business in the accounts receivables management space. There’s Upflow, Tipalti, and Quadient-owned YayPay, which offer software-as-a-service products focused on collecting money from outstanding invoices. Yaydoo aims to simplify collections more broadly. Another startup, Churpy, recently raised $1 million to help enterprises reconcile and manage payments across Africa.

An outstanding challenge for Tesorio and its competitors is convincing companies that they need the software. It’s a hurdle in any industry, but particularly finance, where teams are likely to perceive their processes as sufficiently modern. According to a study by Billtrust, while 86% of accounts receivable teams rate their department as “very” or “somewhat” modernized, 40% don’t offer self-service capabilities while over 60% haven’t digitized a majority of their invoices.

Economic headwinds might help Tesorio’s case, Vega believes. While the startup isn’t yet cash-flow positive, Vega claims that it has over 130 customers, including Slack, Box, Twilio, GitLab and Bank of America.

“The funding follows a third consecutive year of triple-digit revenue growth. We expect to continue the strong growth trend over the next two years, especially with the market’s renewed focus on cash flow,” Vega said. “Although the current economic climate with inflation and higher interest rates has given pause to decision makers with regards to spending, it actually puts a major, positive, spotlight on the value of Tesorio. In a world where cash is king and the cost of capital is no longer nominal, having a product like Tesorio that enables an organization to more effectively free up and manage its cash is more critical than ever.”

Vega says that the proceeds from Tesorio’s latest financing will be put toward expanding the company’s go-to-market efforts and product development, and growing its team from “just north of 50” employees to around 90 within the next year.

Pennylane wants to overhaul the accounting tech stack in France

French startup Pennylane has raised a $57 million Series B round (€50 million) from existing investors, such as Sequoia Capital, Global Founders Capital and Partech. The startup wants to replace legacy accounting solutions in France — and in Europe.

If you’re an accountant, you might be familiar with tools like Cegid and Sage. Essentially, Pennylane wants to overhaul these tools and modernize the tech stack of accounting firms.

Pennylane connects directly with third-party services that hold valuable information. For instance, you can get banking statements in the Pennylane interface, import receipts from Dropbox and get billing information from Stripe.

And because it’s an online platform, accounting firms can use Pennylane collaboratively. Clients can also access the platform to centralize receipts, create invoices and automate some tasks. Instead of sending information back and forth with spreadsheets and photo attachments, both clients and accounting firms can interact directly on the platform.

Right now, there are 300 accounting firms that are using Pennylane. Some of them have started using the product with a few clients, others have completely switched to the new tool. Interestingly, Pennylane clients want to use the platform more and more, which means that they bring new clients to the platform.

“Nine months ago, 90% of our clients reached out to us directly and 10% of them became clients through accounting firms. Nine months later, that trend has changed. 81% of our clients come from accounting firms,” co-founder and CEO Arthur Waller told me.

While the startup didn’t want to share revenue numbers, Waller told me that the startup has been growing by 20% month over month since this summer. Since 2020, Pennylane has raised $96 million.

If you take a step back, Pennylane has a significant market opportunity ahead. In the U.K., the U.S. and other more mature markets, companies have been using QuickBooks, Xero and other software-as-a-service solutions. But accounting is a fragmented industry with each country using their own software solution. In some countries, such as France, there’s no definitive SaaS solution for accounting.

“In France, there are roughly 12,000 accounting firms. Today we work with 300,” Waller said. “Our goal is that in 4 or 5 years we work with 1.5 million small and medium companies,” he added.

There are some geographic expansion opportunities ahead, but also some product opportunities. Pennylane could become the central hub for everything related to financial management.

For instance, the company has started beta-testing corporate cards with Swan to facilitate payments. You could imagine a sort of revenue-sharing deal with accounting firms for the interchange fees generated by those corporate cards. With today’s fundraising, the company thinks it can iterate on its product as there are still a lot of things to do just for the French market.

The company plans to reach 500 employees by the end of the year. As Pennylane thinks tech and product remain the most important areas for the startup, most hires will be in these categories. Essentially, Pennylanes wants to create a product that is a no-brainer for new accountants getting started.

Klarity lands $18M to read scores of documents so you don’t have to

Reviewing repetitive documents is, well, repetitive, but Klarity believes people don’t have to do all of that and is building an artificial intelligence tool, targeting finance and accounting departments, that turns documents into structured data.

Document automation is not a new concept. There was an original wave of companies working on partial document automation, which still needs a human review, but Ondrej Antos, Klarity’s co-founder and CEO, explained that the full document automation market is still very nascent.

“Partial document automation companies did not achieve much scale due to the limited value of their product,” he said via email. “Full automation has the ability to replace human review for a vast majority of documents — over 85% in Klarity’s case — and with a higher accuracy. This generates a lot of value, not only for large enterprises, but also mid-market companies that have a few hundred documents every month and the market is therefore much larger.”

Antos founded Klarity in 2017 with Nischal Nadhamuni whom he met at MIT. They bonded over Antos’ experience of having to review large amounts of data when he was a corporate lawyer. Nadhamuni was studying Natural Language Processing and thought it could be applied to  understand documents better than humans. In August 2020, the product was launched.

Klarity replaces humans for tasks that require large-scale document review, including accounting order forms, purchase orders and agreements. Instead of having many accountants reading thousands of almost identical documents every month to find non-standard language, Klarity does that, helping the accountants save time and avoid mistakes.


An example of Klarity’s document automation. Image Credits: Klarity

Over the last nine months, the company saw its annual recurring revenue grow nine times and over 24 times year over year, prompting Klarity to raise new capital to invest in sales and marketing to scale and continue investing in R&D. It is also currently working with more than 40 enterprise and mid-market customers, including Coupa, Optimizely and 8×8.

Today, the company announced $18 million in a Series A funding round led by Tola Capital. As part of the investment, Sheila Gulati, founder and managing director of Tola Capital, joins Klarity’s board of directors. To date, Klarity has raised just over $20 million.

New investors also participating in the round are Invus Opportunities and a group of individual investors, including executives from its customers 8×8 and Coupa. Existing investors following on include Elad Gil, Daniel Gross, Nat Friedman and Picus Capital.

The company is focused on hiring sales, marketing and engineering. It has 34 employees, up from 14 a year ago. It is also poised to launch new document review automation use cases for deal desk, renewals and procurement teams in late 2022.

“Today, the vast majority of enterprises don’t even realize there is a technological solution to this omnipresent problem,” Antos said. “We will help to educate the market that there is a technical solution to the age-old problem of document review by accounting teams and to continue building a market-leading product.”