By Robert Ulrich
Keeping up with back-office activities like bookkeeping and tax management is one of the most difficult challenges for startups and small enterprises.
Waseem Daher, Jeff Arnold, and Jessica McKellar co-founded Pilot with the goal of delivering affordable back-office services to startups and SMBs. It has developed significant popularity over the years, with over 1,000 customers. It has now obtained approval from a number of well-known investors. The company announced a $100 million Series C round on Friday, doubling its valuation to $1.2 billion.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ personal investment fund, Bezos Expeditions, and Whale Rock Capital (a $10 billion hedge fund) co-led the round, which also included Sequoia Capital, Index Ventures, Authentic Ventures, and others. Pilot’s $40 million Series B was co-led by Stripe and Index Ventures in April 2019. The latest round of fundraising increases the company’s overall funding to more than $158 million since its founding in 2017. The founding team has a proven track record, having started and sold two previous businesses: Ksplice (to Oracle) and Zulip (to Dropbox).
Amazon Web Services is a collection of multiple cloud computing products and services. Amazon’s extremely profitable sector offers servers, storage, networking, remote computing, email, mobile development, and security. AWS’s major offerings include EC2, Amazon’s virtual machine service, Glacier, a low-cost cloud storage service, and S3, Amazon’s storage system. The platform, known as Amazon Digital Suite, will offer a variety of business software from seven domestic AWS partners in areas like accounting, customer support, and human resources.
The pitch of Pilot is about more than just software. The company integrates its software with accountants to give “CFO Services” to SMBs that do not have a comprehensive finance team. It also offers monthly variance analysis to all of its bookkeeping customers, basically acting as a controller for those businesses to help them make better budgeting and spending decisions. This has now been validated by some big-name investors. The company announced a $100 million investment on Friday.
It also enables businesses to take advantage of small business tax benefits that they might not have heard about otherwise. Pilot processed more than $3 billion in bookkeeping transactions for its customers last year, which ranged from pre-revenue startups to larger businesses with more than $30 million in annual revenue. Among the clients are Bolt, r2c, and Pathrise. The pilot will handle all of the back-office work so that businesses can focus on growth and winning new customers. More than 80% of the company’s sales are driven by customer recommendations and organic interest.
Because AWS charges depending on consumption, start-ups and small enterprises can see the apparent benefits of using Amazon for their computing needs. In fact, AWS is ideal for starting a business from the ground up because it gives all of the tools required for businesses to get started with the cloud. Amazon offers low-cost migration services for established businesses, allowing your existing infrastructure to be smoothly transferred to AWS. AWS provides tools to help a firm expand as it grows. Customers will never have to think about whether or not they need to reassess their computing utilization because the business model allows for flexible usage. Aside from budgetary considerations, businesses could realistically “set and forget” all of their computing requirements.
Hiring an AWS Consultant is arguably far more secure than a corporation hosting its own website or storage. AWS today operates hundreds of data centres throughout the world, all of which are constantly monitored and properly maintained. The variety of data centres ensures that a disaster in one place does not result in irreversible data loss throughout the world. Consider what would happen if Netflix had all of its personnel files, content, and backed-up data concentrated on-site on the eve of a hurricane. The result would be chaos.
Amazon Web Services is a major source of revenue for the company. The services are reshaping the computing world in the same way that Amazon is reshaping the retail industry in America. Amazon can deliver affordable and scalable services to everyone from the newest start-up to a Fortune 500 firm by pricing its cloud products incredibly low.
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