We write often about companies helping business operators gain better access to their company’s data. Some of the companies pursuing this space are focused on helping the business owner with AI applications that sit on top of that data. Others use dashboards to serve up the analysis.
So along comes another venture-funded operation called Zeni which just secured a $34 million Series B round. This comes on top of a $13.5 million combined seed and Series A round just five months earlier. Zeni was founded by twin brothers Swapnil and Snehal Shinde. They sold a travel concierge business to American Express back in 2018.
Their latest venture, Zeni is an AI-powered finance concierge platform offering bookkeeping, accounting, tax, and CFO services for a flat monthly fee of $299. To which we say, that’s a very appealing price point. Users of the platform have real-time access to financial insights via a dashboard. Cash in, cash out, operating expenses, yearly taxes, and financial projections.
All well and good. We just wonder if all of these high-powered platforms and elegant dashboards can also provide the intuition and experience to make important business decisions. So many start-ups are built on the premise that data and analytical horsepower will make the difference between good decisions and poor decisions.
All Things to All Startups?
The company’s current customers are in the pre-revenue phase as well as in the $100 million revenue phase. We’d think the needs and expectations at those two ends of the spectrum are quite different. So it must be would be difficult for one company to offer a solution that serves the needs of everyone along the continuum.
The company is, like so many these days, growing its revenue and customers, 550% and 375% year over year, respectively. In fact, the brothers weren’t even looking to raise money. But investors came knocking and they figured to strike while the interest was hot.
So the company will use the additional funding to build out additional accounting and bookkeeping functions, accelerate employee growth. Down the road, the company plans to leverage its platform into the true small business space. The founders realized that if they can build it for pre-money startups, then conventional small businesses could benefit from their platform as well.
One of the company’s investors believes there’s a least a $200 billion addressable market. That is certainly a large enough market to pursue aggressively. We just continue to wonder if all of these AI and dashboard plays will deliver better decision-making. At the end of the day, these solutions will have to have the ability to not just present the data, but to explain what the data means. And what to do about it. If they can do that, then the market opportunity seems really interesting.