Investing in the Intelligent App Stack

botkeeper will Bring Bookkeeping Out of the Dark Ages
by: Kellan Carter

The siren call of AI/ML is hard to resist: Within enterprise, artificial intelligence and machine learning promise to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

Businesses of all shapes and sizes will be transformed by these technologies. This will be evidenced in an “intelligent app stack” that “will gain rapid adoption in enterprises as IT departments shift from system-of-record to system-of-intelligence apps, platforms, and priorities,” as a study out of Cowen and Company states. Machine-learning algorithms will become an integral part of enterprise apps from this point forward, capable of providing “predictive insights across a broad base of scenarios encompassing a company’s entire value chain.”

But while many applications will be made intelligent, the entire organization won’t be transformed at once. What might come first? At Ignition, we believe that the first wave of transformation will include operational workflows that drive business functions but aren’t core to the business. It makes sense then, to look at business functions that are operationally required but not critical to the mission of the company, such as functions are already outsourced to third-party vendors or specialists.

That’s how we landed on bookkeeping. Picture a bookkeeper in your head. There, do you have it? Now doesn’t that job seem ripe for disruption? If the word “disruption” seems a little too “Silicon Valley” let’s instead say this: AI / ML will dramatically increase bookkeeper efficiency and productivity by automating the repetitive, manual tagging of transactions. botkeeper provides software PLUS dedicated accountants (humans!) to customers. The addition of AI/ML to the workflow enables a botkeeper accountant to deliver 4–6x the output of traditional bookkeeping firms. Increased output proves the power of the “people plus” approach that puts repetitive manual work on the software while freeing up humans to do work that requires critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity. botkeeper’s impressive “people plus” productivity gains are passed onto customers in the form of 30–50% cost savings.

These savings are particularly attractive to growing businesses because botkeeper scales with clients as they expand. botkeeper handles all the basics, from tracking expenses and invoicing, to paying bills and generating reports, and can handle increasing complexity as organizations evolve. It’s more accurate and affordable than hiring a traditional bookkeeper or accounting firm, and botkeeper’s real-time dashboards and analytics are available 24/7 — which tends to be how businesses work these days!

botkeeper’s business makes sense. So, it’s not surprising that business is booming. Last year, hundreds of companies entrusted their finances to botkeeper. And, the company reports an impressive churn rate of less than .5% indicating that customers are satisfied.

botkeeper founder Enrico Palmerino signs a term sheet with Ignition Partners.

The brains behind botkeeper? Serial founder Enrico Palmerino built and sold his first startup while waiting tables as an undergrad. botkeeper is Enrico’s third act and likely his most impactful company to date. I was so impressed with our first conversation that I immediately booked a flight to Boston to meet his team. We bonded over the Patriots and so it seemed only right that we should sign the term sheet at a Patriots game.

Ignition Partners’ Kellan Carter adds his signature to the botkeeper term sheet.

Ignition Partners is proud to invest in Enrico and the botkeeper team. This early investment will fuel botkeeper in its mission to build a company that transforms an industry and changes how business accounting is done. In signing a term sheet with botkeeper, we commit to investing not only our money but our time, our resources, and our network to help botkeeper achieve their goals.

The newest company to join the Ignition Partners’ portfolio, botkeeper joins AI-driven startups such as Amplero, Tractable, and Trifacta all of whom are members of the CB Insights AI100. The portfolio will grow as we continue to actively invest in early-stage enterprise-focused companies that transform the way we work. If you, or founders you know, are building companies that fit this mold we encourage you to reach out.

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Kellan Carter is a principal at Ignition Partners where he focuses on investments in horizontal and vertical application software. Among the companies with whom Kellan works closely Amplero, Azuqua, Chef, Icertis, KenSci @kellancarter9