Cash flow can make or break a small business; in fact, problems in this area account for 82% of small business bankruptcies, according to US Bank data.
Brightflow AI is injecting technology into this problem with its forecasting and analytics tools so small businesses can assess their cash flow and make decisions based on real-time data. Brightflow also has a capital loan program to help in times of volatility or periods of high interest rates for traditional capital.
The San Francisco-based company’s cash flow calculator pulls financial data from platforms like Shopify, Amazon, QuickBooks, Facebook, and Google Ads, then provides a real-time view of cash flow.
If this sounds familiar, you’re right that Brightflow isn’t the only one helping businesses sell more online. For example, Bainbridge Growth, which announced $4 million in seed funding this week, also provides targeted data and analytics for e-commerce companies.
However, Brightflow founder and CEO Robbie Bhathal told TechCrunch that the company differentiates itself by focusing on automating financial services and disseminating that information in a way that the business owner can understand.
Before starting Brightflow in 2019, Bhathal co-founded the hotel booking site Suiteness. He says that being involved in the growth of that company was what led him to start Brightflow with Jeffrey Priebe.
“Personal pain points were related to how quickly your business is growing and how difficult it is to manage, particularly when it comes to accounting and finances and the future state,” Bhathal said. “And also general access information. I don’t come from a lot of money, so to access capital, you’re trying to find the best places, whether it’s through Y Combinator or accelerated equity capital markets.”
The product seems to resonate with users. Last year, Bhathal said the company grew 10-fold, finding clients with more than $60 million in growth capital. During that time, there were 1,200 customer connections on their platform and more than 49,000 transactions synchronized daily, sending billions of dollars in revenue through the system.
To continue that momentum, the company recently closed on $15 million in Series A, led by Haymaker Ventures, which also included $100 million in debt financing from i80 Group. The new investment provides Brightflow with nearly $20 million in total funding to date.
Plans for the capital injection include hiring more employees to join the 40 already there and working on product development to provide additional growth opportunities for clients, Bhathal said.
Mark Mullen, co-founder of Bonfire Ventures, the company that led Brightflow’s early days, said the company’s initial customers were e-commerce, which made it easy to understand the pain points.
“The potential that Robbie and his partner, Jeffrey, were able to articulate is a much grander vision that they are starting to execute now,” Mullen told TechCrunch. “We felt that what they were trying to start was the democratization of finance. Clients have been able to take advantage of fintech opportunities through those loans and generating different streams of income.”
Next, the company focuses on further automating its foundations and scaling so that there is more access to forecasts, but also with a human role in the loop that provides expertise in addition to infrastructure, Bhathal said.