Accountants play an important role in commerce, and a strong and efficient relationship between companies and their accountants is a key component of effective business management. They need access to a comprehensive tool to compete with neo-banks and online accounting solutions, some of whom claim they will replace the entire profession.
Pennylane, a French financial management and accounting platform designed for startups/SMEs, enhances the role of accountants with electronic invoicing and AI.
Joins unicorn club
Now, the French fintech secured €40 million in a Series C funding round. With this round, Pennylane has attained the unicorn status. Notably, the investment came from US-based Sequoia Capital, which invested in Statsig and CarbonX and UK-based DST Global. Sequoia Capital also participated in the $57 million Series B round the fintech raised back in 2022.
The new funding will enable Pennylane to speed up the development of new features on its platform and adopt an external growth strategy with companies that have complementary expertise.
Financial management for SMEs
Pennylane was founded by Arthur Waller, Alexandre Roquoplo, Felix Blossier, and Edouard Mascré in 2020. They were the founders of PriceMatch, which was acquired by Booking.com in 2015. Combining production software for accountants with a financial management tool for clients, the app centralises financial flows, streamlines collaboration, and automates tasks, supporting over 2,000 accountancy firms and 120,000 businesses.
This shared tool lets accountants spend relatively lesser time processing data and more time analysing the same. With this tool, their executive clients can spend lesser time on administrative management and have the tools they need to manage their business. Pennylane lets accountants and managers make the best decisions for their businesses.
AI in accountancy
Pennylane enables accountancy professionals to generate significant productivity gains, while ensuring the reliability of data collected in real time. As per the company, accounting firms can save an average of 15% of time per case by using automated processes, from data recovery to tax returns and automated lettering.
As AI is the buzzword, the company wants to give accountants an even smarter way of working by leveraging AI. It will include chatbot developed specifically for the accountancy field, enabling customers’ management data to be retrieved quickly and efficiently. It will also provide an automated assistant to proactively identify the specific advisory needs of each client, thereby facilitating more targeted and relevant accounting action. Pennylane also intends to develop AI solutions for data entry and reporting tasks.
“At Pennylane we want to support accounts to shift the focus of their mission towards consulting, updating employees’ skills, and attracting younger talent. We also plan to broaden the capabilities of our platform by adopting an external growth strategy over the next 5 years,” said Arthur Waller, CEO and co-founder of Pennylane.
Luciana Lixandru, a partner at Sequoia, said: “Pennylane solves a meaningful problem for more than 120,000 SMBs and over 2000 accountancy firms, giving businesses their financial information in real-time and their trusted accountants a smarter, more productive way of working. We continue to be impressed by this world-class technical team, their drive to innovate, and their relentless focus on their customers. We expect to see many more SMBs and accountancy firms across Europe benefit from this financial OS as Pennylane expands this year.”
Tom Stafford, Co-founder and managing partner of DST Global added, “Already today, Pennylane’s software makes accountants often 20%+ more efficient and empowers companies with real-time access to and control over their financial information. We are excited to continue to partner with the Pennylane team as they develop their products, including embedding powerful AI features”.