Financial modeling for founders: Finmark
Any startup founder will tell you that money is always a big concern. Every idea and every plan is built on having the resources to make it a reality, any help in managing your money is a welcome relief for those without an accounting or financial background.
I recently had the chance to chat with Rami Essaid, the CEO and co-founder of Finmark, a financial modeling software for startups in the greater Raleigh area. What they provide is needed by many small businesses, and based on their model and early successes, it seems they’ve found an audience that shares that assessment.
Mary Juetten: When did you start?
Rami Essaid: We launched Finmark in May 2020 and have grown rapidly since. While there have been several lessons learned about starting and sustaining a business during a global pandemic, from prioritizing employee mental health to the constant reminder that every dollar spent counts towards the bottom line, we have been incredibly lucky to grow.
Juetten: What problem are you solving?
Tested: Finmark is financial modeling software for startups. Historically, most startup founders and entrepreneurs have used Excel models for financial modeling, but spreadsheets are poor for collaboration; prone to errors; and version control is a nightmare. Our software eliminates the need for complex spreadsheets with an easy-to-use platform, so founders can easily create, update, and share their financial metrics and plans.
We built Finmark so that anyone, not just CFOs or CFOs, can easily create and update a financial model without having to spend weeks updating complicated spreadsheets. Finmark takes complex financial concepts and calculations and distills them into a simple-to-use interface so founders can easily create and share their financial plans, manage utilization rate and cash flow, forecast income and expenses, and plan for business. Fund raising.
Juetten: Who are your customers and how do you find them?
Tested: Our main targets are startups, from pre-income to pre-IPO. We price our software based on your business income and grow with you as you grow.
As a startup ourselves, we had the chance to participate in Y Combinator’s Summer 2020 cohort, where we made connections with other startups and introduced them to Finmark. Several of our cohort counterparts became early adopters of Finmark. We also take advantage of several of our industrial partnerships to first educate the founders on the basics
modeling, and then share how Finmark can accelerate this process.
Juetten: How have past projects and / or experience helped this new project?
Tested: As a two-time startup founder, I have experienced the difficulties and complications of Excel-based financial models. Before creating Finmark, I founded a company called Distil Networks, which I sold to Imperva in 2019. While growing Distil, I was constantly frustrated with the way financial modeling was handled, the lack of collaboration with internal stakeholders to the difficulty of sharing with investors. While I tried to implement many short term solutions to fix this problem, when it was time to start a new business, I knew exactly where to start. Thus, Finmark was born.
Juetten: Who is on your team?
Tested: Greg Lissy, Chief Product Officer, Jeremy Neuberger, Chief Technology Officer, and I are the three co-founders of Finmark, and we are joined by over 30 full-time employees who support all aspects of the business.
Juetten: Did you collect any money?
Tested: Yes, we announced our oversubscribed $ 5 million fundraiser at the end of October 2020. More than 14 companies and 30 angel investors participated in the round, many of which are major players in venture capital and technology. The interest we have seen at all levels has underscored the need for a tool like Finmark within the industry and has shown us that Excel-based financial models should be a thing of the past.
Juetten: Startups are an adventure – what’s your favorite startup story?
Tested: One of my favorite startup stories is from Brian Daly, CEO of another Y Combinator Summer 2020 graduate, Grandpal. Grandpal helps young family members to be there for their older loved ones to fight loneliness. Growing up, Brian lived with his grandmother in Dublin. After moving to Berlin to work at Techstars, he struggled to stay in touch with his grandmother due to her busy schedule. After his death in 2017, Brian wanted to help others connect and interact more easily with older family members. While it initially started out as a way for volunteers to visit nursing homes to combat loneliness, Grandpal quickly pivoted during COVID 19 to become an easy-to-use app that helps family members stay in touch. with loved ones with reminders and recommended interactions.
Juetten: How do you measure success and what is your favorite success story?
Tested: Growth is, of course, a key indicator of success, and there are many financial metrics founders can and should measure to show growth. However, for many early stage founders who didn’t sign their first client, success may seem different. Hiring your first employee, tagging your first inbound lead, raising seed capital, getting accepted into an acceleration program – all of these can be a measure of success in the early days of a startup.
One achievement in particular that comes to mind is Carta.
We were one of their very first clients in my last business. Their product met a need for us and was easy to use, so we bought it.
The interesting thing about Carta is that they started with something very simple – cap tables – and they performed so well that they ended up dominating their market and they are now worth billions. Their product has changed a lot over the years. As an early stage customer, seeing their growth has been amazing and motivating.
Juetten: Do you have any tips to add for start-up founders or CEOs in growth mode?
Tested: Use your passion as a litmus test. For me, I was passionate about the startup and VC ecosystem and wanted to help other founders, which made me want to start and grow Finmark. Early stage founders need to be passionate about their business from day one. Passion can be the driving force for a founder to “sell” his idea to co-founders, investors and potential clients. Without this type of dedication, all efforts to grow the business will fail.
Juetten: What is the long-term vision for your business?
Tested: Our first and foremost goal is to build and perfect the platform. We plan to expand our capabilities in the coming year to become the true startup registration system. We see a world where Finmark is the central hub and point of access for all company data, from marketing and sales expenses to payroll, revenue, and more. From there, we can aggregate that data and help provide industry benchmarks and recommendations to ultimately help these startups grow.
I thank Rami for taking the time to share his experience. As we know, not all startups are successful, but it’s good to see more resources, especially financial tools, giving them more opportunities. #From.