Cristóbal Valenzuela, former president of physical VR experience franchise Sandbox VR, hasn’t always had a strong handle on finances. He doesn’t feel comfortable about it.
“I’ve always thought of it as a ‘real business guy’ thing where I could do what I love, which is product and engineering,” he told TechCrunch in an email interview. “That’s the state of the world for most founders today.”
After countless frustrating experiences with Excel spreadsheets, Valenzuela was inspired to create an alternative.Together with co-founders Alejandro Matamala and Anastasis Germanidis he founded trackdesigned to replace spreadsheets with “intuitive” financial modeling, planning and reporting workflows.
“Runway is the first strategic management platform for the modern high-growth technology company,” Valenzuela said. “[It provides]the team with a clear and pleasant God’s-eye view of the entire business (from finance to HR, sales, marketing, product and growth), enabling them to make better business decisions, faster.”
Runway connects to existing accounting tools, data warehouses, and human resources information systems, allowing customers to write formulas and create models that can be incorporated into business plans and scenarios such as raising salaries, hiring new employees, or increasing marketing spend. With the reporting component, users can build dashboards using real-time charts, tables, text, and even video and content from the web. Meanwhile, Runway’s AI “co-pilot” allows customers to create scenarios by typing in prompts, and lets the system generate business plans based on models and real-time data from connected business applications.
“With Runway, clients are able to have more confidence in their business because the platform helps them save time, gain a clearer understanding of the business and the impact of decisions, and give everyone better context so they can act faster. Execution,” Valenzuela said. “Making business more accessible to people outside of finance helps companies create an environment of control that gives them a huge competitive advantage.”
Now, does “Runway” really do all of this? Maybe. But there are indeed other platforms that do—or at least claim to do—roughly the same thing.
In the case of Dougs, which handles the company’s financial statements and generates certified tax returns, it connects bank accounts so the platform can automatically generate reports and invoices. Elsewhere, there’s Firmbase, which provides a financial planning and analytics platform for startups. Other competitors include Pigment and Mosaic.
Still, Runway doesn’t appear to be having trouble attracting business, with clients including Superhuman, Stability AI, and Valenzuela’s old base, Sandbox VR. Valenzuela touts its close partnership with Rippling — “qualified” Rippling customers get priority access so that employee data, payroll, employee expenses, and hiring plans are all automatically synced.
“What we can share is that we’re growing over 10x year-over-year and our pipeline is currently booked through the end of the year,” Valenzuela said. “Our burn rate today is well below $500,000.”
This impressed investors.
Runway announced today that it has raised $27.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Initialized Capital, with participation from angel investors including Elad Gil and Jason Tan. The company’s total raised comes to $33.5 million, following a previously undisclosed $5 million seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz.
“As a product that helps companies understand their financials and plan better, we’re fortunate to be a counter-cyclical product,” Valenzuela said. “Companies are only going to become more disciplined financially, and that will increase demand for products like Runway.”