French accounting startup Pennylane has just become Europe’s latest unicorn after securing €40mn — its sixth major fundraise since the company was founded just three years ago.
“We weren’t even looking for fundraising, but we welcome any opportunity to grow even faster,” Pennylane’s CEO and co-founder, Arthur Waller, boldly stated.
The fresh funds have doubled the company’s valuation to €1bn, making it the first French unicorn of 2024.
Pennylane — which has no relation to the famous Beatles song of the same name — has designed a SaaS tool to help accountants provide better and faster services to their clients.
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The company’s software centralises data, such as invoices, tax returns, or financial statements, all on one platform that’s shared by both enterprises and accountants, keeping everything in sync.
In the last two years, the company claims to have grown its platform 40-fold with more than 2,000 accounting firms on its books — meaning around 120,000 small businesses in France already rely on Pennylane’s accounting software.
Key to the company’s success, said Waller, is that it uses tech to enhance the role of chartered accountants rather than advocating for the total automation of accounting.
“It seems essential that chartered accountants be equipped with a comprehensive tool, so as to be ready to face up to the neobanks and online accounting solutions that claim to be purely and simply replacing an entire profession,” he said, in a statement translated from French.
Pennylane’s latest cash injection — which was led by existing investors Sequoia Capital and DST Global — will be used to accelerate its SaaS software and allow it to invest heavily in AI. This will include the set-up of a chatbot specifically aimed at accountants.
While it is scant on details so far, it wouldn’t be the first fintech to launch its own chatbot. Late last year, Dutch neobank bunq unveiled Finn — a language language model (LLM) designed to help users plan their finances, make better budgets, and easily find transactions.