When it comes to early-stage companies chosen for our Startup Accelerator program, we’re a little like proud parents. “They grow so fast,” we say.
The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants and CPA.com created the program in 2017 to promote innovation in the accounting profession and provide more visibility into disruptive trends from emerging technologies. Finalists get a nominal funding investment and guidance from our senior leaders, as well as access to a panel of experts who can advise on marketplace needs and opportunities within the profession.
Our 2020 cohort faced special challenges this year because of the pandemic. However, the progress they’ve made is a testament to the power of their ideas and solutions. Attendees at ENGAGE 2020 this summer were able to hear their remarkable stories firsthand. Below is an update on their activities that draws on remarks from that virtual gathering.
What it does: The North Carolina company has developed a cloud-based solution to help companies measure, manage and disclose climate-related financial risks. Four Nobel prize winners sit on its advisory board.
What the profession should know about its area of focus: “There are reporting guidelines now on climate exposure, but these will become mandatory eventually,” said Joey Lake, the company’s chief operating officer. “Regulation is one of the big drivers for our services. The other is investor pressure.” The Climate Service’s platform looks out 80 years and identifies assets with the greatest climate-related financial risk, either due to physical threats such as flooding or deforestation or the financial implications of transitioning to less carbon-intensive operations. The commercial real estate sector, for one, has shown early interest in its risk modeling and mapping.
Noteworthy developments: The Climate Service closed on Series A financing of $3.825 million in April. Given this was in the early onset of the pandemic, it’s a huge vote of confidence for the company.
What it does: The New Orleans company offers seamless invoicing, payments, and accounting for global businesses, powered by blockchain.
What the profession should know about its area of focus: “The current process for digital payment is slow, clunky and requires extensive knowledge,” said Joey Ryan, CPA, the company’s co-founder and CFO, adding that most traditional accounting systems don’t really support it. Gilded has solved this problem by integrating its blockchain-powered digital payment and invoicing into existing back office systems. Gilded reduces a process that can take days or hours into minutes, and can cut international payment fees by 75 percent, he said.
Noteworthy developments: Deployed a digital payment solution for CoinMarketCap, a price-tracking website for crypto assets. Ryan said the company is also benefiting from the growing validation of digital payments – the federal government initially considered paying out some stimulus checks through this method, so widespread adoption is closer than you think.
What it does: The European company uses intelligent algorithms to automate document processing, accounting and finance management for small to medium-sized enterprises.
What the profession should know about its area of focus: “Many accounting applications are far from being accounting-centric,” said Tadeusz Chrusciel, the company’s founder and CEO. Scanye is targeted to small and medium-sized businesses and champions “stress-less” accounting. “With Scanye, we save the world from paperwork,” Chrusciel said. “With our platform, every document in is one place.”
Noteworthy developments: The company is weighing a timeline for introduction of an English-language version of its service. Chrusciel said he’s targeting the first quarter of 2021, or less than a year.
What it does: The Boston-based startup created a “virtual analyst” to help businesses boost cash flow by using accounting data to find opportunities and anticipate problems before they happen.
What the profession should know about its area of focus: Many smaller businesses don’t have insight into critical metrics, such as cash flow, net revenue retention and customer retention – yet much of that relevant information is hidden in their accounting data. “We started Tally Street in the belief that small and medium-sized businesses can do better,” said Brian Suthoff, the company’s CEO, adding that Tally Street’s service can immediately reveal KPIs from existing data. “Customers begin to see accounting data as a value-add rather than an expense.”
Noteworthy developments: The company is integrating with major accounting software providers including QuickBooks Online, Xero and Sage Intacct.
CPA.com and the Association are already searching for early-stage companies for our 2021 cohort. Interested companies can get information about the accelerator program and application details at cpa.com/accelerator.