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A look into data and how a unified platform can help businesses of all sizes with financial data
Look, if you haven't realized it by now, data is important. It is the lifeblood of modern business and knowing how to compile and understand data from customers and clients can be the difference in a failed operation or a blooming, successful one.
Data is important in all aspects of your business, but one that often goes overlooked is the data regarding your financials. Depending on your business, you may have data from a variety of Sales-as-a-Service platforms and other vendors. These things help in their own right, but then much of that financial information that is included in those services are siloed in its respective platform.
This means that the data then has to be pulled and compiled, which adds more programs, more time, and increases the risk of errors.
I had the chance to (virtually) sit down with Raymond Lau of Leapfin to learn about their platform which is meant to bring together all of this financial data under one roof in an effort to streamline the process, all while lowering costs and reducing the chance of errors.
You can check out the full interview below.
Care to introduce yourself and your role with Leapfin?
Hi, my name is Ray and I am one of the co-founders and CEO of Leapfin.
What inspired the creation of Leapfin?
My co-founder and I always joke that the inspiration behind Leapfin is over 30 years of cumulative frustrations across both of our careers.
Before Leapfin, I managed finance operations at Zynga. As you know, Zynga was one of the most data-driven businesses in the world. We pioneered many of the data analytics best practices that we take for granted today.
However, our finance and ops organization almost feel like outsiders looking in -- we did everything in Excel -- reporting, planning, analytics. At one point, I remember we had over 50 excel workbooks all reference each other because one workbook can’t handle the data volume that Zynga had, and each file took like 20 minutes to load because they are so massive. Not to mention, they are all super sensitive financial information and they are being shared over Email, it was absurd.
We thought -- gosh, if Zynga, one of the most data-driven companies in the valley is making critical business decisions using archaic Excel spreadsheets, how about the rest of the companies? Enough is enough.
In just a few sentences, what is Leapfin and what problems are you trying to solve?
Leapfin is a unified financial data platform. Our mission is to empower financial leaders with real-time visibility into their financial performance so they can make data-driven business decisions.
The core of the problem is data -- there are just too many systems and too much data. The day-to-day tasks to get to the financial reports that you can rely on is all done manually in Excel, which is crazy error-prone. Leapfin automates all of that.
Who is your target demographic? Enterprise-level businesses or smaller operations?
We work with mid-market and enterprise-level businesses. Some of our customers include Flexport, Canva, and Vimeo.
What kind of sources can you pull financial data from?
On average, we’d pull data from 20+ different systems for any given customer. The beauty of Leapfin is we can pull data from any source and unify them. Some examples are payment processors like Stripe and Adyen, billing systems like Recurly, CRMs like Salesforce, and ERP systems like NetSuite. We also often have to tap into our customers’ internal data warehouses.
When you were growing the business in the beginning, what was competition like? Are there many competitors?
Interestingly, no. Our biggest competitor, if you can call it that, is ironically Excel. Most of the time, it usually ends up being a build vs. buy decision.
It seems we can't go a day without news of data breaches, what are you doing to keep client data safe?
Data security is by far the number one priority amongst our product and engineering teams. In addition to being both SOC1 and SOC2 compliant, we also make sure we adopt the best security practices, leverage the best-in-class security technologies available, and just to continue to enforce the importance of security among our DNA.
Anything new coming to Leapfin in the coming months?
We have some exciting new features planned that I think our customers will be very excited about, one being providing them visibility into COGS and margin.
With the recent news on WeWork and Uber, I think we can all agree on just having top-line revenue growth isn’t enough. We are going to help our customers with more visibility into their margins and take control of their businesses.
Thanks for taking the time to answer some of my questions, anything you'd like to close with?
Thank you for having me. We are excited to disrupt a market that has been overlooked but yet incredibly important.
At the end of the day, money is the lifeblood of any business. I think the recent events with companies like WeWork have really shed light on how incredibly important it is to take control of your company’s financials. I hope we can do our part to prevent another WeWork from happening.
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