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Launch HN: Finmark (YC S20) – Financial planning software for startups
191 points by ramie on Jan 21, 2021 | hide | past | favorite | 73 comments
Hi HN!

I’m Rami, cofounder of Finmark (https://finmark.com/). We make it simple for companies to manage their runway, hiring, and cash.

Three years ago a bad financial model almost killed my last company. A miscalculation in our behemoth of a financial model led us to overestimate the amount of cash we had coming in, and in turn, to overspend. When we finally discovered the error after 5 months, we were forced to shift from aggressive hiring to aggressive cost cutting and had to lay off employees.

We were able to course-correct and sold the company successfully in 2019, but I kept coming back to how difficult and time-consuming financial modeling is for founders. So after taking some time off to recharge post acquisition, I pulled my old team together to start Finmark.

We built Finmark so all founders, not just finance pros, can easily create, update, and share custom financial models without having to spend weeks laboring over complex spreadsheets. While the flexibility spreadsheets afford is great, they are also susceptible to human error, challenging for collaboration and version control, and time-consuming to create and maintain.

Finmark takes complex financial concepts and calculations, distills them down into a simple dashboard, and makes it easy for startups to create and share their financial plans, manage burn rate and cash, forecast revenue and expenses, and plan for fundraising

Finmark is modular, so rather than using a template that might not be a great fit for your startup, you’re building a completely custom model based on your individual business needs. Finmark integrates with your entire stack to reconcile your actuals without manual data entry. It is also very easy to create, compare, and share as many different scenarios as you’d like, e.g. a base plan, upside plan, and downside plan.

Since launching in Fall 2020 we’ve had over 1,000 companies sign up for our waitlist, and have onboarded over 400 companies so far.

Subscriptions start at $25/month and increase based on a company’s monthly revenue. You can check out our pricing calculator here: https://finmark.com/pricing/

We are skipping the waitlist for anyone signing up from HN. Follow this link for a 30 day free trial: https://hubs.li/H0Fc7Ss0. We're looking forward to your comments and are eager to hear your feedback on Finmark and your experiences with financial modeling in general!

I'm very happy to see that someone is working on this problem!

At my last startup we had a lot of pain points around financial modeling, and it felt like 80% of the work we were doing in our models was the exact same thing that every other startup was doing, all so that we could model the last 20% that was truly unique to our business. It was also very hard to keep these models up to date, test out multiple scenarios, share models with investors without them immediately going stale, etc. I think there's also a great opportunity for you to look at the data from different startups in order to help give guidance re: best practices (e.g., "80% of startups in your category have a lower conversion rate than you - consider adjusting your expectations").

I've actually considered working on this problem myself, but TBH I have some concerns about the business model (e.g., I think it's going to be challenging to get startups to pay a significant amount of money for this on a recurring basis). I'm happy to see that someone is working on it though, and I'll be rooting for you guys!

You're reading our minds; that is exactly where we want to take Finmark. As far as the last 20%, we think we've built our app in a way that is modular enough to get about 95% of the customization that you would have in excel. Over time we hope to to eliminate that last 5% altogether.

This sounds like another tool like Carta that VCs will require their portfolio companies use, thus giving you free reign to charge whatever you want. I will resent you just like I resented Carta, but you will do great. Best of luck!

I think long term there could be some truth to that. If we capture enough marketshare then I can see a point in time where we have more flexibility to charge more. However, I have zero interest in making the bulk of our money off of early stage companies. We believe we will be very sticky and more and more valuable as a company scales, hopefully we can monetize more off of companies that make it big and stick with us.

I really like this idea. How are you different to Flightpath, Baremetrics etc?

I've recently spent time following an excellent Google Docs financial model from Baremetrics[1] put online for free. I'd be remiss not to share here as an alternative. I agree, it does take some time to set up, and monthly some work. I believe founders without a finance background would find it fairly daunting (but can follow along with the blog post).

I think you're offering the simplicity aspect and that's your main value prop being solved. Where do you see the products going in the future? The base modeling I don't think I'd pay for, but curious to see what network or flywheel effects you think might be there for users?

[1] https://baremetrics.com/blog/saas-financial-model#model-temp...

Being honest, I don't know enough about flightpath to give a good comparison.

Baremetrics however I know very well. They do a great job plugging into Stripe and helping you analyze your revenue, however their forecasting capabilities are extremely limited. They also only look at revenue, not expenses or hiring. With Finmark, you can just as easily connect your stripe account and get reporting on your historic revenues, however we also are much more robust in forecasting and allowing you to create a true financial model.

The spreadsheet template you linked is definitely one of the better templates out there. A couple months ago there was a great HN thread where Stéphane Nasser reviewed multiple different templates that exist. Our theory however is that spreadsheets, using a template or not, are too burdensome to maintain and easy to mess up. You could download all of your stripe data into a CSV, and create pivot tables to come up with all the same charts that baremetrics offers, but it's easier just to use software. Thats what we want to do for financial modeling In fact, we purposely priced our software lower than baremetrics despite having all the same core functionality plus so much more.

Good to know, thanks a lot! Looking forward to following along with your progress- best of luck!

There is definitely a need for better technology for start-ups in this space.

Having said this, I don't know what this product does from the website.

We pay ~$80 a month for 2 users to a financial planning application that integrates with our accounts (Xero) and it works well. Our revenue is 7 digits annually.

As a start-up founder, I appreciate what you're trying to do with your model but I kind of like, you know, just knowing the fixed costs regardless of our revenue.

I'm curious, which financial planning app do you use for $80 /month?

[Not OP] Depending on your needs, Fathom[1] might work if you are on a tight budget. Summit[2] has also been building quickly in this space but I haven't tried building a full model to see how the "event-based" pricing scales.

[1] https://www.fathomhq.com/ [2] https://usesummit.com/

https://floatapp.com/ (£39.99/month to start with)

I really want to like it but looking at the pricing it's just insane. As a startup founder no way I can confidently pay 500 USD / months for what seems like a very shiny excel-on-the-web application if in comparison our entire project tools and automation across all teams cost us 220USD pm (ClickUp).

Maybe I'm just missing something in the offering. Congrats on the launch and a very cool landing page nonetheless.

Really appreciate the kind words on the landing page. Our designer is having a terrific day it seems :)

As far as the pricing, our hope is that we go beyond what an excel sheet can offer. First, we timed an investment banker building a model in excel versus doing it in Finmark. Doing it in Finmark was more than 10x faster.

We also integrate into your other systems to pull actuals automatically every month which should save you time each month.

Later this year we plan on then aggregating benchmarks to help you get a better understanding of how your metrics and assumptions compare to similar companies.

I could go on and on on the differences between us and a spreadsheet. That said, it is still early and value the feedback. If enough people mention price as the key reason not to use Finmark then we will listen and adjust.

Thanks for the follow-up. I definitely think some screenshots of the tool directly on the homepage will work to convey that additional value.

We really appreciate that feedback especially since we are updating our website this month. Just in case you missed it above, reposting some screenshots here:




I have mixed feelings about pricing that scales with revenue. Most pricing ends up working this way, but at least when it's expressed as seats or usage it's a bit easier to justify the price tag. Revenue scaling pricing reads to me as "We'll give you the same thing, but you're making more, so pay us more." I simultaneously understand it, and it feels dirty to me, hence the mixed feelings.

I think scaling with revenue is appropriate (as you're aligning incentives), as long as it has a ceiling near the monthly fully loaded cost of a Controller role (which is right around ~$12,500 in the US). At that point (having a need for a Controller role), the customer should be doing between $40MM-$50MM in ARR/annual turnover. With that said, Finmark should expect to have to provide more value to a customer than a single Controller role would. This also might help with encouraging CFOs not to attempt to build finance fiefdoms (tools > headcount).

You nailed it. Our upper end of pricing is $5000 a month for companies doing up to $40M in revenue and caps out at $10,000 a month.

Thanks for clarifying this. I was worried about it too. Have you considered also providing a marketplace for bookkeepers, etc? That’s another pain in the butt with this process.

It is like you're looking at my pitch deck. We have zero interest in providing professional services but know that some of our customers will need CFO like help and so a natural partnership for us is outsourced accounting firms. Later this year we will open up reviews for bookkeepers so that our customers can interact to make those qualified recommendations to each other.

Solid model, product looks good. Wishing y'all much success.

I totally understand and can appreciate that sentiment. Here was our rationale for the current pricing model.

1) We don't want to charge an arm and a leg for pre-revenue/early stage companies to have access to our software. We wanted to find a scalable way to discount our pricing so that when you're early and cash strapped, you can still use us without price being a big factor.

2) As your revenue grows, then your company is going to be bigger, and you will have more people that will be collaborating in Finmark and more data that we will have to process. In essence, we think that revenue is linearly correlated with data and user usage across our app. Therefore, we don't think we are giving the same thing. Instead, the company is using us more and therefore we are charging more.

Curious if that resonates?

I don't mean this as a stink to Finmark but it's also a motivating factor to move on to something that better fits your needs as you get bigger instead of trying to squeeze everything out of a service designed for helping startups.

No offense taken at all. When I was running my last company, at $25M in revenue, we couldn't find any good options for a service like this. Anaplan and Adaptive Insights had 6 figure price tags and required a lot of professional services. At some point a company might choose to leave Finmark, but our hope is to cater to startups from pre-revenue to pre-IPO.

This sounds great. Could you explain to someone who might be incredibly naive about the whole process why I shouldn't just use quickbooks and its cashflow planner?

We definitely are not the only option out there and I would preach that any solution is better than none at all. We looked at the existing solutions before starting Finmark and we couldn't find any that were simple yet powerful enough to warrant using over excel. Liveplan, Quickbooks cashflow, and others, don't give you the granularity to accurately forecast a business. For example: you cannot build revenue drivers based on sales hires or marketing spend nor can you forecast itemized expenses. Its for that reason we wanted to reimagine what the software should look like. I draw a very similar parallel to Carta. Before Carta (or e-shares) there were a number of companies that tried to tackle cap table management. None of them really hit the mark and so everyone still used excel until Carta came along. Today, everyone still uses excel for their financial modeling and we're hoping to change that.

We at Type Studio (https://typestudio.co) have been using Finmark for a few weeks now and I have to say, I have never seen such a simple and clear financial plan tool.

The interface is super clean and the charts are in a nice design. It really helps us to stay ahead of all our important metrics and makes it so much easier to report them to our investors.

Great job! Keep on rocking.

Have you seen @canaree? https://www.canaree.co/

We totally didint pay Michael to say that. Thank you so much for the kind words!

I can even confirm that

Rami so happy for you to be building such an amazing product. Your track record speaks for itself and you have always had you finger on the pulse of what is needed for companies to thrive be that finance or security. Your entrepreneurial acumen is second to none and this is sure to be your next great thing.

I, too, find the price-scaling off-putting.

I'm currently working on a startup in a different space, but one where my competitors often have similar scaling pricing. Every customer I talk to hates it. Interestingly, the problem most often cited is not that the scaled price is too high, but that it's difficult to predict. Paying $100/mo now and $1k/mo later isn't the problem - it's paying $100/mo now and paying some unknown large amount later. The uncertainty it introduces is the real problem, not the cost. I suspect you'll hear something similar - especially for a product whose main focus is financial planning.

That aside, this looks like a cool product! I feel like every tiny startup I've worked at has had some flavor of this problem and solved it with ad-hoc spreadsheets. Seems like a solid niche. :)

I swear Im not trying to be a smart ass as I say this, but we actually make it really easy to forecast how much you will pay us as you build out your own model in Finmark.

With literally two clicks, you can drive any expense cost based on another variable in your business like new hires or revenue growth.

That's pretty cool, and I hope it works! I suspect it won't assuage customer fears because said fears appear before they use your product and the solution only appears once they've singed up and used it. That said, that's the sort of hypothesis I could well be wrong about you'd only prove or refute by talking to customers and/or testing it out so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Anyway, best of luck!

It is still early in the journey for us. You're absolutely right, only time will tell what customers best react to and we may end up having to adapt.

This is really cool! we've been using LivePlan for our startups but was really basic and incomplete. Signing up for your trial!!!

Also, we'd love to promote your product on our marketplace and launch pad to help you get users!

Let us know if you'd like to chat, this is us: startupstarter.co

Yes, we would love to chat. I think my head of marketing already reached out online but feel free to email me directly. Rami at finmark.

Really nice looking site. Also, you seem be hitting is problem we builder-founders typically dislike (and push off until it becomes a problem). Even though it is incredibly important for a successful business, I much rather be building that financial modeling.

Can you provide screenshots or to try out the interface using a sample project before signing up? I think you are losing many people from converting because of that.

We are updating our website this month to give more detail about the solution and showcase more of the product.

In the meantime, happy to provide screenshots:




interestingly, Finnmark is a place in ... Norway

Also a cold place which matches their color scheme. Either they are aware or very lucky coincidence.

If someone makes 50K one month and 10K the next, does the pricing dynamically adjust to the lower price? Is it month to month?

Yes, our plans are month to month. A customer can cancel anytime. We also don't retroactively charge you more for the past month if your revenues increased. We instead reach out to you and confirm a plan change for the upcoming month. If you tell us it was a blip and you don't expect it to continue at that scale, then we will just keep you on the current plan.

Looks very interesting. As a fellow startup owner, this is very useful especially when pitching to investors on your runway.

We hopefully also make it really easy to update your investors too. You can give investors read only access to just your key metrics so that you never have to worry about them chasing you down for updates. Also, when you're pitching new investors, you can create a custom scenario for your fundraising plan and share only that with potential new investors.

If you take out the startup bit, something like Float app feels more useful since it connects with Xero and can do some of the scenario planning too: https://floatapp.com/

Congrats on the launch! Mind if I ask how you did the UI design of your website and product - did you hire a designer, do it yourself or hire a contractor etc? As an engineer, I always struggle with the aesthetics of my product

We were lucky. Our first hire was a designer to both design our marketing site and our app. This designer worked for us in our last startup too and I cannot say how valuable I think a good UI/UX designer is.

Excellent! Agreed. Preaching to the choir here :)

I can relate to this pain point, nice product. Congrats on the launch!

Thank you!

Sorry, meta question. What exactly is a Launch HN Post? I found the first one (9mo ago, dang, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22767151 ) but it didn’t really describe the purpose.

The purpose seems to be obvious; a YC backed site is launching. The interesting consideration is whether these are actually fresh launches or just awareness campaigns.

Btw, cool biz. Makes sense. I’ve spent way too much time doing by hand what you’re providing an out-of-box solution for. Good luck!

The idea behind a Launch HN post is to come out to community and show what you've been working on when it's ready for public consumption and look for feedback. It is supposed to be for pretty fresh launches. In our case for example, we started taking early adopters off the wait list a couple months ago so this is kind of our fresh launch after iterating on early adopter feedback.

Is Finmark able to handle e-commerce companies with both retail / online units, labor attribution, four-wall analysis, etc?

The “Current Monthly Revenue” slider on your pricing page is pretty laggy on iOS Safari; is it possible to make it more responsive?

Thanks for flagging that; we'll take a look

I really like the idea but the website provide almost no details about your solution. No idea also if you provide a free trial.

Really appreciate the feedback. We are working on updating our website this month to be more detailed regarding our solution, including a video walkthrough.

Regarding the free trial, complete miss on our part. We just went in and updated our site to make it clear that yes, we offer a 30 day free trial.

Can't wait to see the demo - signed up!


Congrats on the launch . Amazing work ,


What are you using for your landing page?

We made the site ourselves and put it up in wordpress.

It looks pretty clean/lightweight for a WordPress site, nice to see a step away from bloated WordPress themes.

PS: I noticed that you use Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics which are blocked by ad-blockers and are bad for user privacy. If you want better analytics you should have a look over the tool I'm working on ( https://usertrack.net ), your landing page is the perfect use-case for the tool. It has a WordPress plugin version so installation will take a few minutes.

We'll check it out!

Nice animations, pretty clean :)


Congrats on the launch . Amazing work

really a handy tool for startups. gonna use it definitely for my upcoming start-up

Best of luck!


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