My Startup: Finstant, Manchester
Finstant promises a new way to see the future.
The young startup, founded by Sam Patchitt, offers an instant cashflow forecasting service to business owners, many of whom struggle to get their heads around the calculations and end up with nothing after just a few years.
As a former CFO and COO, Sam knew how important it was to get the forecasts right - so created Finstant for that very purpose. The service allows people to easily create and see their cash flow forecasts, regardless of their competency with numbers or business brain.
The startup is still yet to launch its full product offering, but already has two proprietary solutions that give a good idea of its future capabilities and potential for entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Founder: Sam Patchitt
We spoke to Sam to find out the background behind Finstant.
Why did you start Finstant?
I started Finstant on the back of a previous startup I co-founded. I was CFO, and while looking for funding and managing budgets I was finding my whole life was spent in Excel creating new financial forecasts.
And I'm one of the ‘lucky’ ones who both is happy dealing with finances and knows how to use Excel. Most businesses don’t have these skills, and it comes as no surprise that most businesses will cease trading after five years, mainly because they run out of money. While burrowed into another spreadsheet, I suddenly thought, "there should be a better way!"
Tell us more about the tech behind the product.
Finstant will be a website that allows the user to build a financial forecast in under 30 minutes.
Our unique approach allows the users with no previous financial experience to work through and create a very accurate forecast. We do this by turning numbers into words.
We ask you business questions and allow our reactive graph to do all the complicated bits. All you do is fill in the questions, and the graph will adapt in front of your very eyes. Our core product is being able to deliver you cashflow forecasts in a really easy-to-use way, and all the complicated stuff happening behind the scenes.
Where are you at right now?
Currently we've just launched our first two products. One is a Webform that allows the user to create a forecast in about 15 minutes. The other product is the first ever cashflow forecast to be built in Facebook Messenger! This is really exciting and is genuinely a world first.
The full software is under development and will be launched soon, so in the meantime we have these fully functional prototypes.
What are your aims for the next year?
The main aim of the next 12 months is to have the full software launched, and the user base will still grow month on month.
The software will be featured in several accountancy firms, and I will be in discussions with large financial institutions and investor groups in order to become part of their processes. My team will have grown to include more Co-founders and Advisors, and we'll still be launching more innovation projects around the full product offering.
What's been the hardest thing about getting Finstant off the ground?
The hardest thing was realising that my first venture was failing. While it provided the inspiration for this business, it was also a big personal hill to overcome.
I couldn’t even think about starting a new venture while I was working every hour of the day on that business. So admitting where it went wrong both provided me with closure, and gave me hours and drive in order to make this one work.
Why should more people be using Finstant?
Your cashflow forecast is the most important document you have in your business.
It tells you when you will run out of money, how much you can pay yourself, when you can hire a new employee, when you'll need financing, and so much more.
Every business decision you make should be grounded in financial knowledge. Finstant will allow you to do this through the easiest and fastest product currently on the market.
How much will it cost users - and why is it worth the investment?
Our current products are priced very reasonably at £10 and £15 for the Facebook Messenger Bot and Webform respectively.
These will give you a near carbon-copy of what a qualified accountant would create for you for over £500. The full software will be a little more expensive, but that will reflect the extra functionality it gives the user.
A cashflow forecast really is the most important document you can create in your company, and no one does it better than us.