FreeAgent Central secures Angel round for growth

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FreeAgent Central, the money management and accounting tool aimed at small businesses, has secured an undisclosed amount of Angel funding for the service – though I understand it’s in the low six figures Sterling. The UK firm came out of beta in February last year and has users across the UK and US. The investors are Christoph Janz, Martin Armstrong and Sebastian Serfas.

Janz co-founded German Internet startup DealPilot back in 1997, one of the first comparison shopping services, funded by Bertelsmann and later acquired by In 2005 he co-founded Pageflakes the personalizable homepage backed by Balderton Capital and recently acquired by LiveUniverse.

FreeAgent says it is is onboarding customers at a good clip and signing strategic partnerships with professional accountants, both for co-marketing and deeper relationships.

Run out of Edinburgh, FreeAgent Central costs up to £25 per month but in theory you could buy an off the shelf accounting product for £100. Why spend three times as much for software that doesn’t update? It’s built to address ‘spreadsheet hell’ and double entry book-keeping and do all the grunt work in the background while giving your professional accountant the figures needed to prepare regulatory accounts.

It’s also attempting to get into the business of predicting cashflow, and giving a heads up on your tax position before your professional advisor. The UK account for the UK tax regime costs sole traders £15 per month, UK Partnerships/LLPs £20 and Ltd companies £25. The Universal Account can be used by anyone costs US $20 per month and uses all the sites features but without the tax functionality, although this is going to be rolled out.

Competitors in the ‘light-weight invoicing’ and small biz management arena – mainly in the US – include Freshbooks, BillMyClients and Blinksale, but FAC claims it has more features geared to smaller operations and allows freelancers to know their financial position in a more ongoing basis. In the UK there is also Bionicbooks, and ClearBooks – but these seem to be less ambitious in scope.

Founder and CEO Ed Molyneux says Freeagent is seeing more people come from Word and Excel than other competitors, though there is competition from, also UK-based, and in New Zealand. He says people are now leaving paid employment and expect more than being handed a spreadsheet by their accountant.

This makes an awful lot of sense to me and should have the likes of Sage and Microsoft on the back foot. Cloud apps like FreeAgent Central are the kind of thing that will lead to a death by a thousand cuts for the incumbents in this business.

  • FreeAgent raises angel round | AccMan

    […] TechCrunch UK got the story first. This is what they said: Founder and CEO Ed Molyneux says Freeagent is seeing more people come from Word and Excel than other competitors, though there is competition from, also UK-based, and in New Zealand. He says people are now leaving paid employment and expect more than being handed a spreadsheet by their accountant. […]

  • Ed Spencer

    We have been using FreeAgent for over a year now and I’ve got to say it’s absolutely fantastic.

    I cannot imagine trying to run our business without it now – not only does it actually save us money on accountancy fees each year, it gives us a detailed, clear and easy to understand snapshot of our finances at any time.

    The most useful features for us are the time tracking (and subsequent invoice generation), invoice tracking and immediate tax calculations. We know exactly what we owe the tax man straight away instead of waiting months for our accountant to work it out.

    I can’t recommend this highly enough – they’ll even give you 10% off with our tracking code ;)

  • Duane Jackson

    “Why spend three times as much for software that doesn’t update”

    Am I misreading this? The whole point of the monthly fee that FAC (and us at KashFlow) charge is because it DOES update.

    Microsoft and Sage will be trying to squeeze an upgrade or support fee out of you each year so that they can continue to exist.

    With the SaaS firms, you pay the ongoing monthly fee and then updates and (for us anyway) support is included for the whole time you’re a subscriber.

    Microsoft are in denial. They’ve come to the party but are wearing the wrong clothes with their “software + services” strategy,

    Sage attempted SaaS, but it’s just not in their DNA.

    If anyone ever tells you accounting and software is boring, tell them to take a look at ths SaaS accounting space in the UK. It’s anythign but boring at the moment!

  • Jim Wolff

    Nice job. Another score for Silicon Glen.

  • Clear Books

    “In the UK there is also Bionicbooks, and ClearBooks – but these seem to be less ambitious in scope.”

    Ouch! We’re ambitious. You’ll see :-)

  • Dougal Matthews

    Very cool. I’m glad to see this, I bumped into one of the developers at a conference in Edinburgh and spoke a bit about it.

    It’s a very nice project.

    Congrats to them.

  • richallum

    Been running two businesses through Freeagent for just under a year now and it is a great tool. So much bettre than Sage and the book keeper I used to employ. Good luck with the funding.

    • Christoph Janz

      @Mike: Thanks for covering FreeAgent Central, very nice article!

      @Ed and others: Thanks!

      @Duane: I stumbled on this too (“Why spend three times as much for software that doesn’t update?”) and think it was only unfortunate wording. I think Mike compared the license fees of a desktop-based app with the monthly fee of FAC and concluded that the desktop-based app doesn’t include free updates (going on to mention further advantages of FAC). You probably thought that Mike was comparing the license fee of the desktop app with a 1-2 year costs of FAC to ask whether FAC is expensive but I think that’s not what he meant to say. Anyway, let’s see if Mike will chime in and clarify!

  • Chon Nguyen

    Also check out Cashboard at

  • Rod Drury

    Congratulations to Ed and the team at FreeAgent.

    Great for the industry.

  • Phil Richards

    Congratulations Ed and the team at FreeAgent. We are very happy to be using FreeAgent with our clients. IMHO it is the best application for Professional Contractors and Freelancers that I have seen in 16 years. It does mean lower average fees and less work for us accountants but we have adapted our business model to allow for that and my personal belief is that FAC provides the ideal framework for a client to take responsibility and manage their own business. This is important within the current HMRC compliance regime, it means Professional Contractors and Freelancers can plan their taxes in a compliant manner, keep good records and file on time. Peace of mind for sure ! Painless accounting indeed :-)

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  • George

    Anyone know if this is better than quickbooks?

  • Mike Wilson

    @George, Yes it’s better than Quickbooks. Put the kettle on, get a cup of tea and sign up for a trial. You’ll love it.

    I have recently set up another business (yes, in a recession!) and have gotten started with FreeAgent Central right from the start. But even if you’re moving to FreeAgent Central for the first time or mid-year, you can simple input your trial balance and carry on from where you left off in your current accounts package or accountant.

    FreeAgent Central is one of the best things to happen to my business(es) and I couldn’t be happier with the service I’ve received from Ed and the team at FreeAgent. (Well, they could make me happier – they know what I need :P).

    Support via GetSatisfaction, regular updates, putting things right quickly and professionally wherever there are problems (not many of these nowadays) make FAC a service I highly recommend to all freelancers and small businesses alike.


  • Mike Wilson

    “while giving your professional accountant the figures needed to prepare regulatory accounts.”

    ^ And let’s be honest here for a second – FAC could prepare the regulatory accounts without the need for an accountant. Accountants should do what they do best; tax and business planning. Leave the “accounts” to FreeAgent Central. The big USP here, compared to other packages is that you utilise your accountant for advice (and can even give them a specialised login for this purpose) and perhaps preparing the accounts, but preparing things like VAT return, simple payroll, corporation tax returns, and generally staying in control, get FreeAgent Central for your business!

  • Kian Ryan

    Freeagent really does absolutely rock. I pay for very few online services, most either aren’t up to scratch or don’t provide *enough* functionality to warrant handing over the cash.

    Yes, I could acquire a product such as MS Money for £100, and then £100 the next year and £100 the year after, where as FreeAgent’s subscription model means upgrades are continually pushed. New change in regulation? No problem – already handled. Bug in the UI? We’ll have it resolved on the next release.

    All the user has to care about it putting some numbers in. Having worked in finance in a previous incarnation this is one aspect of freelancing I was *dreading*, having had the “experience” of Sage Line 50 and 100. But really, Freeagent couldn’t be any more straightforward.

  • James

    Why wasn’t Cashboard mentioned in this roundup? I’ve tried both services, and ended up with Cashboard because of their feature set and commitment to growth without external funding.

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    […] reports that FreeAgent Central, an online accounting service for freelancers and small businesses, has secured an undisclosed amount of angel funding.  Apparently it doesn’t only work for users in the UK (where they company was founded) since […]

  • Nigel Eccles

    Congrats to Ed for the funding. Great to see good things coming out of Edinburgh.

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  • Chris Beckett

    FreeAgent is nothing short of amazing. I evaluated tons of tools to try to help me keep track of my time, finances, projects and do invoicing and FreeAgent solved all those problems in one go. Definitely worth paying for – I think they have a bright future.

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  • http://www, MarketDojo

    We use Clearbooks as our accounting software at Market Dojo. We offer software as well, albeit for business-to-business online auctions and I would be very happy if our software was ever as easy-to-use and intuitive as the Clearbooks offering.

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