Meet Pennylane, a new French startup that is a building a full-stack service to deal with your financial data. With Pennylane, you get a real-time view of your financial data and you don’t have to work with an accounting company — the startup hires accountants for you.
The startup just raised a $4.3 million (€4 million) seed round with Global Founders Capital, Partech and Kima Ventures. Pennylane’s founders previously worked on PriceMatch, a startup that was acquired by Booking.com in 2015.
“We invested in 25 to 30 startups — we went to see them and asked them what was missing,” Pennylane co-founder Arthur Waller told me. The team realized that there was a big discrepancy between accountants and CEOs.
Many companies work with third-party accounting companies but don’t see the direct benefits of that relationship beyond complying with the law. And yet, accountants have access to all the financial data of the company.
Usually, accountants receive data once a month in a very unstructured way. They waste a ton of time entering data in accounting software. As for companies, a CEO doesn’t know how to use accounting software and can’t take advantage of the accountant’s work to see if there’s any outstanding invoice, if clients haven’t been billed or how your company is doing financially.
That’s why many companies end up using Excel for financial projections and visibility. It’s a big waste of time as you need to connect to multiple services to download invoices, receipts, pay slips and more.
Pennylane aggregates all your financial information using APIs. You set it once and your data is automatically fetched in Pennylane. For instance, you can connect your Pennylane account with your bank account, Stripe, GoCardless, Revolut, PayFit, etc. And if you store your invoices on Google Drive, you can also connect Pennylane with your Google Drive account.
The service then tries to go through this data set on its own as much as much as possible. The company uses optical character recognition and pre-fills accounting information. The result is that companies get a clear overview of their financial data.
“Software alone isn’t going to solve that problem,” Waller said. So Pennylane has hired eight accountants who can check data, correct information if there’s anything wrong and make sure you comply with the law.
By saving time on data entry, accountants can focus on other tasks that they couldn’t handle in the past. “We want to provide a service at the same price as a traditional accounting service but that is ten times better,” Waller said.
The company started accepting customers in March and now has 117 customers, such as Luko, Liberkeys and Pricemoov. Pennylane targets medium companies, those that need to outsource their accounting because it is too complicated but don’t have an in-house accountant.