Fintech startup Autobooks is off to a big start this year, announcing a $10 Million Series A1 round with plans to increase hiring in support of strong demand from banks and credit unions for its integrated receivables platform.
The company recently closed a $5.5M Series A in March of 2017 and has been deployed into a new bank or credit union every month since and is on pace for 25 more deployments in 2018. The company is experiencing strong demand for its integrated receivables and cash-management products to help financial institutions become a digital destination for small businesses. The investment comes from both institutional and strategic investors, including: Draper Triangle, Baird Capital, Detroit Venture Partners, Invest Michigan and CU Solutions Group.
Autobooks recently re-located its headquarters to downtown Detroit, into the iconic Madison building but is quickly running out of space. The company also has a growing presence in Austin, TX due to its strong financial technology community. The company has added a dozen employees in 2017 and will ramp up aggressively in response to business growth.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder recently stopped by the Autobooks office to recognize the work being done to attract talent in the region and help showcase Detroit as an attractive environment for fast-paced startups such as Autobooks. “Detroit is the comeback city and is helping to transform Michigan” says Snyder, “The team at Autobooks is a glowing example of what is possible when you combine experienced operators and venture capital, to push innovation into a legacy [banking] industry.”
Autobooks helps financial institutions provide comprehensive business services - including invoicing, payments, and accounting. Small businesses desire digital to be the primary medium in which they manage their business and trust their financial institution the most, however, historically they’ve been stuck using products designed for consumers and retail customers thus forcing them to go to multiple sites to manage their business using NON-BANK alternatives; such as PayPal, Square or QuickBooks, until now. Autobooks ‘bundles’ critical back office functionality into a single pane of glass and makes it available to a banks’ customers as part of their internet banking experience.
Similar to how CheckFree, Metavante and iPay pioneered electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) largely known today as “bill pay” - making it easy to move money OUT of the bank, Autobooks makes it easy to bring money IN, helping businesses get paid by their customers with electronic invoicing. As money moves into or out of their bank account, the bookkeeping is done automatically, in real time. A business (or the bank) can now run an up-to-the-minute income statement or balance sheet without the need for month-end reconciliation. Put another way, Autobooks helps a small business better manage its cash flow, automating the mundane, administratively burdensome bookkeeping tasks that nobody likes to do, while yielding all the benefits of an accounting system without having to learn, or hire an accountant.
“Autobooks is a game-changer for community banks.” says Adom Greenland, COO of Choice One Bank in Sparta, MI. “They help level the playing field, providing business products typically only available at MEGA banks. Now, with Autobooks, we can provide a comprehensive treasury and cash-management suite to even the smallest micro-business, delivering services cost-effectively while better serving customers as their needs grow over time.”
Despite small businesses making up more than 44 percent of the GDP, according to the Small Business Administration, robust financial products have been historically out of reach for most businesses due to either cost or complexity. Through partnerships with banks and credit unions, Autobooks is able to bring enterprise level tools to small businesses at a low cost and make them easy to use.
The Autobooks leadership team has extensive experience working with financial institutions, drawing from its time building internet banking platforms such as FundsXpress (exit: First Data) as well as payment facilitation with Billhighway (exit: BluePay/FirstData) and small business loyalty/reward programs at Buzz Points.
“We are extremely fortunate to have the support of such great investors and board members enabling us to assemble a world-class team and drawing from such deep banking expertise.” says Steve Robert, co-founder and CEO of Autobooks. “Many fintech companies get tripped up trying to work with banks, by not having a robust vendor risk management (VRM) process in place, or not understanding how to work with core providers such as Jack Henry, FIS, or Fiserv. One place Autobooks really shines is post-implementation support, we literally help financial institutions launch our product, acting on their behalf like a digital agency, providing best practices to drive subscriber growth - an area where banks have historically struggled. It’s not uncommon for Autobooks to obtain 3-5% adoption in its first 90 days - significantly outpacing prior bank product adoption curves such as business bill pay, mobile banking or RDC.”
Small businesses benefit from better cash flow, insightful reports, and the ability to accept online payments for the lowest processing fees in the industry - while automating routine bookkeeping tasks. Conversely, financial institutions have new tools to help grow deposits, increase non-interest income and proactively identify new lending opportunities - everybody wins.
Contributed | what does this mean?