May 25, 2022

Ank, a startup that is developing a new take on accounting software through an approach described as building a “live model” of a company’s financial operations, has raised its own funds to double its company’s growth. The company has raised $65 million, Series C which CEO and co-founder Wayne Chang confirmed to me is worth $565 million.

So far, points have been at the invite-only stage. Before stealth mode After startup and amass an impressive waiting list of 16,000 people (and $97.5 million in funding). but Today, to coincide with the funding news, it is launching what it describes as its first product: a reporting tool called the Issue Report. Reports allow users – usually accountants or other financial professionals – to hover over accounting rules to get in-depth analysis and visualization to better contextualize transactions. (“Hover over to search!” Chang almost sang to me as he described how it worked.)

Statistics will also open doors a little wider to add more users. Right now, the company is deliberately working with “only a few hundred” to study its algorithms and learn about the different use cases it can generate for customers, Chang said.

The funding is led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund, which also includes British investor Harry Stebbings’ 20VC Growth, GV and Benchmark. GV and Benchmark respectively led the previous round, which now stands at $97.5 million.

Numbers has taken a very collaborative approach to how it gathers supporters: it has 72 different angels on its main table. Part of Digit’s appeal (and success) was due to the track record of its founders: Chang and Jeff Seibert also founded Crashlytics, a crash reporting service previously acquired by Twitter, which then sold it to Google, which sold it to Google Integrated into Android. It is now used on billions of devices and in millions of applications.

You might be wondering what the line is between building tools that are very developer-centric and building an accounting platform, but as Cheng described it, the connection was clear to him and Siebert.

“There are direct parallels,” Seibert told me. “At Crashlytics, we focused on the product and on the developer side, where it all comes down to analyzing application performance. Processing large amounts of data allows teams to gain insights they didn’t have before. But we were surprised at how little attention was paid to companies. [overall] Company.” The numbers, he said, “took a very similar approach, but referred to the other half of the company.”

This spirit is evident in the products manufactured by the company.

Digit itself isn’t a data-writing tool: Chang notes that it essentially sits on top of Intuit’s Quickbooks (note: this choice was a conscious one, as Quickbooks now account for about 80% of the small business software market in the US) . , although over time the points will work with other sources as needed). It then uses that data, as well as API-based integration with everything else the business uses to manage money in their business, to essentially create a massive database of information.

The dots then begin to organize and read this data in order to create more intelligence around them. In the case of the new reporting product, it provides automatic answers to “how” or “why” questions that an accountant or other financial professional may have on a basic financial statement, such answers were previously provided only by the human resources department. It was possible. Be able to read and understand the stories behind question and document paths, as well as blocked data sources.

The scoring report will run in parallel and is based on a search function launched last year that helps users find transactions that fit the same idea: answers can be found not only by keywords, but also by keywords. get a feel for (hey) what a financial professional is trying to do. Really find out.

IYou used to have to search filing cabinets and even shoeboxes,” Chang insisted, adding that he wasn’t overly dramatic. “This whole industry is very old.”

Currently, the company’s products are focused on historical information retrieval: looking at financial transactions and other events that have already happened in order to understand them. But the clear progress on this lies in the application of Digit’s live model to real-time analytics and, more importantly, to financial reporting – future reporting. (DataRail, another startup developing next-generation financial tools for small businesses, rightly calls future reporting and modeling the “Holy Grail” for these financial professionals.)

The changes confirmed that this is definitely at stake for the company, but declined to say more.

However, when I shared his screen with me to demonstrate the Hover to Discover tool, I saw another product on Chang’s desktop, which he promptly deleted, saying it was still being worked on.

It’s been called a “burn” and I’m guessing it might be to allow the user – most likely dots from a small business – to focus on their services – to see what the company is doing. to determine its runway and burn rate during that time. This, in turn, can help a company understand whether it needs to spend less (or perhaps more) if it needs to move those numbers in the other direction, or vice versa. .

A really interesting feature of the Living Model is that it can be applied at a more general level than just accounting matters, as it gives a more complete picture of how a company is performing financially. Chang told me that Digits had already turned down three acquisition offers since its launch in 2019.

He declined to say who created the approach, but confirmed that it’s not just other, larger accounting platforms that are interested in it.

“We know we’re building some really amazing technology that no one else has,” he said, and the live model applies to other things as well. For example, if you are a bank and want to implement different loan models, our platform can automatically notify you about the company’s financial situation, we are only scratching the surface of what we can do.”

It’s getting enough attention from the accounting side for now, where users are increasingly moving to more digital tools and looking for more automation and insight into their experience. It also helped Digits sign up for their product.

“Businessmen gave little thought to such things, only when the question arises: why was it over budget? In this way, he characterized the traditional way of thinking that is developing.

And that’s why investors want to get involved.

“It’s rare that one of our portfolio companies is of value to others,” says Ayul Kayin, an investor in SoftBank’s Vision Fund. “Numbers are useful for all of them.”

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