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Ex-Meta AI team’s Materia lands $6.3M to launch gen AI platform for accounting

Materia founders
Picture credits: Materia

New York-headquartered Materia, a comprehensive generative AI platform built for public accounting firms, has launched with over $6.3 million in funding. The investment round was led by Spark Capital with participation from Haystack Ventures (invested in Canvas Medical), Thomson Reuters Ventures, Exponential Founders Capital, and the Allen Institute for AI.

What challenge does it tackle?

The US is amid an accountant shortage affecting both companies large and small as well as the accounting firms themselves with 75% of CPAs retiring in the next 15 years and new CPAs joining the workforce down 33%, the impacts are beginning to appear in financial statements. The profession has historically been underserved from a technology perspective, which has held back productivity gains for those remaining workers. 

Recent advances in AI have now made it possible to improve workflows that were previously impossible to automate due to reliance on unstructured data, subjective/qualitative judgments, or long-tail task variability.

Materia was designed for low-friction implementation, so firms can get up and running in days without complex onboarding

Who is behind Materia?

Materia’s founders Kevin Merlini and Lucas Adams met while working at Facebook where they built AI systems to understand journalism content. Kevin’s motivation to start Materia was driven by the painful and tedious tasks that he experienced while working in the Audit practice at the Big Four accounting firm KPMG earlier in his career. This ultimately led Lucas and Kevin to incubate the idea at the Allen Institute for AI during the Fall of 2022 before the launch of ChatGPT. 

What does the company do?

Materia’s AI platform consolidates firms’ internal knowledge into a secure Knowledge Hub, creating an organised enterprise search layer that bridges engagement data silos. Its AI Assistant and Document Analysis Workspace leverage this Hub to deliver reliable answers based on proprietary knowledge and authoritative accounting standards. 

Together, these components accelerate tedious test work and support complex decision-making with specialised AI agents. The company works with top national firms and is now exiting stealth. 

Matt Sutorius, Partner at Clark Nuber, weighed in on why Materia has been a success for the firm: “Materia has been an easy adoption for the audit practice. It’s AI that actually works, and that our staff understands how to use intuitively”

“We believe that Materia’s AI solution will transform the accounting industry, speeding up accounting professionals’ routine tasks and empowering them to provide higher quality services, more efficiently to their clients,” said Natalie Sandman, a General Partner at Spark Capital. “All of us at Spark are thrilled to partner with Kevin, Lucas, and the entire Materia team, who bring deep expertise in accounting and AI. The feedback from customers has been overwhelmingly positive and we can’t wait to watch Materia become the de facto AI solution for public accounting firms.”

“Accounting firms across the US are struggling with teams wasting valuable hours on low-value, tedious tasks that can be shifted to AI-powered workflows, freeing up accounting and auditing teams to focus on the highest-risk elements of an audit,” said Kevin Merlini, CEO and co-founder at Materia. “We founded Materia to address this critical need, saving time and helping pick up the heavy lifting and tedious tasks in day-to-day workflows while keeping security and accuracy central to our product design.”

What do we think about Materia?

Founded by ex-Meta AI team members, the company addresses the US accountant shortage and technology gap in accounting. With $6.3M in funding, it leverages AI to automate tedious tasks, enhancing productivity and decision-making. Materia’s tools offer easy adoption and significant efficiency gains, transforming the accounting industry by freeing professionals to focus on higher-value work.

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