French startup Indy has just lately closed a brand new funding spherical of $44 million (€40 million) with BlackFin Capital Companions main the spherical. Indy began as an automatic accounting platform for freelancers and different self-employed folks.
However the firm has been slowly iterating on its product to change into an all-in-one platform for freelancers, from accounting to firm creation, tax preparation, invoicing and (quickly) enterprise banking. It’s an attention-grabbing instance of the optimistic results of bundling in a software-as-a-service firm. And it might encourage different entrepreneurs addressing a extremely fragmented market of potential clients.
So long as you’re operating an organization with none worker, Indy needs to supply all the executive and finance instruments that you should run your online business. It’s designed for freelancers, self-employed folks, medical doctors, architects, legal professionals, and many others.
Different buyers within the latest funding spherical embody La Maison and iXO. Indy closed its funding spherical this summer time. Whereas the startup didn’t need to share its valuation, the corporate mentioned that it’s increased than the corporate’s valuation after its previous €35 million funding round ($38.3 million at at this time’s change charge).
Indy’s core function stays its automated accounting function. Once you create an account, you may mechanically begin synchronizing your checking account with Indy in order that previous and future transactions are mechanically fetched.
After that, Indy tries to categorize every transaction mechanically. In some instances, customers have to point the kind of transaction within the app. Prospects add a receipt to every transaction — VAT is mechanically detected and receipts are then mechanically archived and can be utilized within the occasion of a tax audit.
On the finish of the yr, Indy can pre-fill tax kinds and ship them to the company tax administration straight. Equally, Indy handles VAT returns.
Indy’s accounting instruments are free to make use of perpetually. As quickly as you need to generate tax kinds and submit them, it’s a must to pay a month-to-month subscription. Nevertheless it stays less expensive than hiring an accountant.
“As we’re on common 4 to 5 occasions cheaper than a chartered accountant for the tax preparation half, there are numerous people who find themselves utilizing our free companies and who may also subscribe to our paid companies. Nevertheless it’s as much as them, they’ll additionally resolve to rent an accountant,” Indy co-founder and CEO Côme Fouques instructed me.
Product bundling playbook
With this straightforward product positioning, Indy managed to persuade tens of hundreds of paid subscribers. However the firm hasn’t been standing nonetheless because it rolled out different merchandise to show Indy right into a product suite.
As an example, now you can create quotes and invoices from Indy and retailer them in your consumer account. In fact, you may at all times use Phrase or Excel for these paperwork, however there are some advantages in having these paperwork in Indy straight. As an example, when a consumer pays an bill with a financial institution switch, Indy can mechanically mark an bill as paid.
Equally, earlier than you need to use a product like Indy, you really want an organization to invoice clients. In France, even in case you’re a part-time freelancer in search of further revenue, there’s some paperwork concerned and there are a number of choices.
The startup helps you make the correct selections if you create your organization. Not like conventional firm creation companies, Indy gives this service without spending a dime so long as you begin a subscription — however you may cancel that subscription everytime you need.
These merchandise enhance the product stickiness and customers usually tend to advocate Indy to different self-employed folks. Equally, the gross sales funnel works notably properly as an excellent portion of people that need to change into freelancers should choose an organization creation service first.
The following step is obvious: Indy goes to change into a fintech startup. In only a few months, the startup will provide a free enterprise checking account with a cost card. As soon as once more, it is smart to bundle this service as present clients have to modify between their banking app and Indy to manage their enterprise funds.
Present firms engaged on enterprise banking, similar to Qonto and Shine in France, focus closely on small and medium firms. They don’t have a primary product providing with primary options that will work properly for freelancers. “Enterprise banking for a self-employed particular person is fairly primary — they need to ship cash by way of a switch, obtain cash by way of a switch, have a cost card, and that’s all there’s to it,” Fouques mentioned.
And Indy can then leverage this fintech angle for different companies. As an example, the corporate might provide new cost strategies for invoices, similar to on-line card funds, QR code-based funds or utilizing the smartphone as a contactless card reader.
“As we provide all these options in the identical service, we make large economies of scale and we get monetary savings on consumer acquisition prices,” Fouques mentioned. “This implies we will provide a complete vary of companies freed from cost — companies which might in any other case be paid companies some place else. On the similar time we now have a hyper-healthy, hyper-scalable mannequin.”
Some firms have recognized the identical downside within the U.S., similar to Found and Lili — they’ve each raised round $80 million in response to Crunchbase information. Indy isn’t going to compete head-to-head with these well-capitalized firms. As an alternative, the French startup is different European international locations to see if it could possibly replicate its service in different markets.
However Indy continues to be very a lot centered on its dwelling market as there are tens of millions of self-employed folks in France. The market alternative is already vital. And it feels like Indy has discovered the correct distribution technique.