The new 40 million fundraise catapults Pennylane to unicorn status

Backed by Sequoia Capital and DST Global, Pennylane raises €40 million. In two years, the startup has transformed the bookkeeping of more than 120,000 SMEs in Europe thanks to a platform that combines accounting software and a financial management tool. This new collection brings the amount of 148 million that the unicorn has raised since its inception. It thus joins Blablacar, Alan, Back Market, Doctolib, Deezer… and above all a very select group of French unicorns, as it crosses the billion euro mark. Real performance in times of financial crisis. In 2023, start-ups in the financial technology sector will receive 939 million euros, according to the professional association France FinTech. A decrease of 70% in one year.

The goal of this fundraising is twofold: to accelerate the development of the platform by focusing on artificial intelligence and to support accountants in improving their productivity. “It seems essential that accountants are equipped with a complete toolkit to arm themselves against neo-banks and online accounting solutions that claim to replace the entire profession pure and simple,” says Arthur Waller, CEO and co-founder of Pennylane. “One year after the last round of funding, this fundraiser will allow us to further support accounting firms in their transition to automation and the introduction of new technologies. This includes refocusing their mission on consulting, updating the skills of their employees and attracting young talent. »

40 million more so that artificial intelligence can serve accountants

From its launch in 2020 and its first test client in January 2021, Pennylane offers a complete tool offering significant time savings in managing financial flows, from automating letter writing to preparing financial statements, while empowering advice from accountants to business managers.

The software also provides better insight into the finances of client companies. Accounting firms using this solution estimate that they save 15% of their file processing time, allowing them to focus more on higher value-added missions as a trusted third party.

“Pennylane solves an important problem for more than 120,000 SMEs and more than 2,000 accounting firms, giving businesses their real-time financial information and their trusted third party, their accountants, a smarter and more productive way to work.” says Luciana Lixandru, partner at Sequoia. “We continue to be impressed by Pennylane’s excellent technical team, their willingness to innovate and their constant customer focus. We expect many accounting firms and SMEs across Europe to benefit from this financial operational system as Pennylane expands this year. »

The startup charges accounting firms a fee for its software, allowing it to generate additional revenue when the firms provide their clients with an all-in-one professional account management tool. With this new fundraising, Pennylane plans to invest in the development of its modules and artificial intelligence to strengthen its offer and respond to the challenges posed by neo-banks and the existence of numerous online accounting solutions.

Target: 80% of the market

Clients will be able to benefit from an accounting-specific chatbot to provide quick and efficient feedback on client management data. The Opportunity Center will help uncover customer needs for consulting. Finally, employees will be supported in data entry, and thanks to artificial intelligence, they will be able to better navigate support missions and reporting. It also wants to increase its acquisitions to buy startups with complementary solutions to its own to fuel its external growth.

“This fundraising comes at a time when Pennylane is experiencing exceptional growth and will increase its customer base 40-fold in two years,” recalls Arthur Waller, CEO and co-founder of Pennylane. “We weren’t looking for funding, but we wanted to take the opportunity again and go even faster. In the next 5 years, we also plan to expand the capabilities of our platform by adopting an external growth strategy. »

The goal of the startup remains to expand to 80% of the market. “We’re in what we call a winner-takes-all market. The more businesses you have, the more clients you have, and the more clients you have, the more new businesses you get.”commented Pennylane CEO for Maddyness in March 2023. In the end, if your product is better, you can make a very large presence in the market. Sequoia came to us with a thesis, confirms Arthur Waller. According to them, a European player is missing in what they call the Financial OS (financial operating system) of VSE/SMEs. »

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