Profitably to Small Businesses: We’re Here to End Your Excel Nightmare

Profitably to Small Businesses: We’re Here to End Your Excel NightmareWhat was the spark for Profitably?

I spent the better part of the last decade advising Fortune 500 CFOs and their teams across a broad range of industries, and it struck me that the problems they were solving were so common and consistent. I wanted to find a way to create a scalable solution that smaller businesses could take advantage of.

Give us the elevator pitch.

Profitably is web-based planning and analysis software for startups and small businesses… because Excel can be a real nightmare. And frankly, you’ve got work to do.

Profitably is a web app that helps you plan for the customers you want, measure how you’re performing, and then helps you execute. Today, most startups and small businesses do this work in a spreadsheet. This is a broken, time-consuming process that saps energy and focus. Profitably is a refreshing answer, and you can get started for free in minutes.

In just a few sentences, what problem does your app solve for businesses?

CEOs and CFOs of startups and small businesses are planning their businesses using Excel, and it’s a very poor business management platform. The big guys are spend thousands every month for killer software to plan their business and analyze what’s working. We’re giving the little guy a slingshot to do the same.

What are the most important product features?

Business Planning, Cash Flow Planning, Customer Insights, Employee Insights, and Business Execution, the latter three of which are currently driven by a business’ QuickBooks data. The first two require no specific accounting software.

Who is your target customer?

I’d say that our target customer is businesses that don’t want to spend thousands every month on Financial Planning & Analysis software. That typically means any business with fewer than 100 people under it’s roof, but it varies. As I’ve mentioned, these startups and small businesses are currently using spreadsheet products to solve this problem, and we are giving them something better.

So why would a small business use your product?

Profitably to Small Businesses: We’re Here to End Your Excel NightmareBusiness owners need to be focused on their products and their customers. They don’t want to spend hour after hour in Excel planning out their business, and we can save them time. More importantly, with a strong model and powerful analytics to measure and execute better, they’re going to make more money. Finally, with a clear sense of where they’re coming from and where they’re headed, they can act with greater confidence. At the end of the day, it’s all about time, money, and confidence.

What is the pricing model?

Planning is free. And the more feedback we get on that, the better the product will be. We charge $49/month for Profitably Pro, which includes data connectivity to QuickBooks and a breadth of powerful analytical tools.

What does funding look like?

Profitably funding to date is $1.4M, which is $300k in July of 2010 and $1.1M in March of 2011. And we recently won the 2011 Intuit App Showcase, netting a $25,000 cash prize.

What does the team look like?

You can learn about everyone on our team here: http://profitably.com/about/team, but the general make up looks like this…

  • Francis Hwang is our CTO and co-founder
  • Chad Pugh is our Chief Aesthete and UX wizard
  • Graham Siener is our VP of Customer Development
  • Eric Richmond is our Senior Engineer
  • Ned Campion is our Senior Front-End Engineer
  • And I am our CEO who makes sure we’ve got the best team possible and that there’s enough money in the bank.

Where are your offices?

We work out of General Assembly, an amazing new co-working campus in New York City. We share space with handful of other startups, so you can imagine the collaborative atmosphere.

Have any links to a blog, Facebook page, LinkedIn page, Twitter, etc.?

Here are a few links…

What does the near future hold for Profitably?

We are not going to launch the planning suite formally until we know we’re killing it with the product. The near future is exclusively ferocious iteration between customer development and product development until we crack the code. Once we’ve got it, we’ll know.

What does the competitive landscape look like? What makes Profitably the best?

We have talked to over 4,000 small businesses, and even among those using QuickBooks, 93% plan their business using Excel. This means we’re competing with Excel almost exclusively. Upmarket, their are tons of great Planning & Analysis tools, and we do our best to learn great lessons from them, but in our space, Excel has the throne. For now.

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