Pennylane: Bringing Europe’s Small Businesses and Accountants into the 21st Century
For far too long, small businesses in Europe have been underserved when it comes to software tools to manage their finances. European SMEs are still living in a world where they save paper receipts in a box and diligently send them to their trusted advisor — the accountant — at the end of each month. They live in a world where they run their business without visibility into what comes in and what goes out, and where accountants spend too much of their valuable time calling and emailing to track down that one piece of information. Invoices are still largely managed in Excel and these SMEs have no real time visibility into their financial status.
Seeing the huge need for better financial management solutions for small businesses in continental Europe, our search began for the team who could bring these businesses into the 21st century. The first time we met Arthur Waller and the team at Pennylane (over Zoom, of course!), everything just clicked. The team was young, hungry, and stacked with strong engineering and product talent. Arthur and his co-founders met at PriceMatch (which was acquired by Booking.com), and they impressed us with their deeply thoughtful, humble and realistic approach to solving this problem. Also importantly, they understood that for SMEs in Europe, accountants are their key business advisors.
Whereas other companies were building tools, they were building a platform — one that gives SMEs real time visibility into accounts payable, receivable, and their cash flow. Pennylane’s platform also improves the work experience for accountants, as it allows them to run their books through automatic data collection and collaborate with their clients. This helps SMEs make better and more informed decisions: they can see real time cash and P&L information they understand, not an accounting view that is indecipherable to the untrained eye. It also helps accountants focus on important strategic work, as opposed to repetitive tasks.
Although the team’s vision, passion and superior product resonated strongly with us, there was one small problem. Pennylane had just fundraised and they were not looking for additional capital. Fortunately, our interest sparked a courtship that allowed Pennylane and Sequoia to dream together and conclude that another round of funding would help the company expand the platform and team even faster. Following many Zoom calls, introductions, and a trip to Paris, Arthur and the team decided to partner with us on their journey to become the platform for SMEs and accountants in France today and continental Europe tomorrow.
We are thrilled to be leading this round and partnering with this exceptional team as they pull European SMEs into the 21st century.