Data silos have become a major problem as cloud-based applications are becoming the standard for many business functions. It is especially true for the financial sector, where vendors often have to reconcile data coming from different sources.
In a survey conducted by InterSystems in 2022 — a company that, as a provider of data technology, is in a race to reconcile data — 62% said that they will prioritize improving the access to distributed, siloed data in the coming 12 months. 54 percent of respondents cited the silos in data as a major barrier to innovation.
Albert Gozzi claims his company Aleph has the solution – or rather, asolution. Aleph allows finance teams and operations to bring financial data directly from their disparate platforms such as enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, or ERP systems into spreadsheets, with versioning and permissioning.
In an email, Gozzi said: “After working for years as a consultant and startup CFO at Bain I became increasingly frustrated by the tools that were available to finance professionals.” Everything was old-school and cumbersome, or it tried to force you away from Excel by forcing you to learn an arbitrary new syntax. The data that I used for my models were scattered in different systems. “I saw a hole in the market, and I set out to close it.”
Gozzi himself built Aleph’s MVP in 2020. Santiago Perez De Rosso joined Gozzi in 2021. The duo were accepted to Y Combinator shortly after and soon signed up their first client.
Aleph is a software that allows financial analysis and planning. It comes as a web application, downloadable app, and Excel add-in. Aleph allows customers to consolidate information from various systems such as accounting, HRMS, and applicant tracking. They can schedule automatic data pullings, and save versions of financial model back in Aleph.
Aleph allows customers to track the changes made to the incoming data. They can choose how much data they wish to share, and then tap on the version history button to see any updates to the financial models. Gozzi states that the most common tasks performed by companies using this platform are month-end reports, investor communication and variance analysis.
Gozzi explained that “once you reach a certain level, you’ll need a tool with more power and flexibility to help you work your models more efficiently and quickly.” Aleph is of the opinion that finance professionals don’t require guidance or structure in their models, but rather flexibility and power. We keep users using Excel or Sheets but provide them with the power of a central data base that makes all their financial information instantly available.
Aleph says it has found success early with brands such as Turo, Envoy and Zapier, and about 40 other companies. Gozzi claims that it is currently growing by 10% to 15% per month, despite the economic downturn.
It’s important to note that Aleph does not have no competitors on the financial planning and analytics market. This market is estimated to be worth $3.7billion by 2022, according to Contrive Datum. Gozzi listed his main competitors, which include incumbents such as Anaplan, Adaptive, “out-of Excel” software like Mosaic and Pigment; OnPlan, Casual, and Casual-powered solutions; as well as “Excel powered” solutions, like Cube, DataRails, and DataRails.
There’s quite a few of them. Gozzi says that Aleph’s superiority in technical terms is attracting — and will continue attracting — new customers.
He said that Aleph could be configured with integrations within ten minutes and required very little, if no, training. It feels more modern and fluid from the perspective of usability, while also offering greater flexibility due to its data model.
Maybe that’s the case. Aleph will have to convince customers that multi-solution and multi-software configurations are not the best way forward. In a survey conducted by Advisor Software in 2021, nearly 80% (or more) of financial advisors use one, or possibly more, apps or services for financial planning. This is an increase of almost 14% over the prior year. Aleph will have a hard time convincing its users to use only the product if there is no consolidation.
Aleph announced today that they raised $16.7M in a round of funding led by Bain Capital Ventures. Khosla Ventures and Picus Capital also participated. Gozzi described Aleph’s runway as “very healthy” and the burn-rate as “low”. This is a great place for any startup.