⦿ INSIGHTS

We invested in Francis: the efficient spreadsheet giving business leaders their time back

Too often, we see small business owners hurting from the stress of financial uncertainty. We see them learning the hard way (and often too late) that they should’ve invested in tools that bring visibility to their finances, and they should’ve asked for support to help make the right strategic financial decisions in a timely manner.
We invested in Francis: the efficient spreadsheet giving business leaders their time back
WRITTEN BY
Camille Zivré
Principal
WRITTEN BY

Consider the job of a CFO and let us apply the 80/20 rule to their work day: 80% of their time is typically spent on mundane manual work, like pulling data from disparate systems, creating ad-hoc formulas in Excel, and repeating one-off analyses. That leaves only 20% for important, strategic, and decision-oriented work. 

I truly feel for them, banging their head against broken models that simply do not work. And I feel for their CEO, who is losing 80% of the value that their brilliant CFO could otherwise deliver.   

By bringing you Francis (https://www.francis.app/), I really hope that we can help business leaders manage forecasts, key metrics, performance, management reports, and ‘control’ jobs, all on one platform. 

Why is William, August, and Sune the team to deliver you more insight and no stress, with their super-powered spreadsheet?

The reasons were clear to us from the very first meeting. Francis was created out of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), born from frustrating experiences managing business finances in traditional spreadsheets at the likes of McKinsey and Good Monday. This stellar team has been in the trenches with you and know what you need. 

So, why did they decide to keep it as a spreadsheet? 

Let me start with my favorite quote from The Leopard by Visconti: “everything needs to change so that nothing changes.” The contrapositive of which, if you remember, thereby means that for something to change, not everything needs to change. 

It is in this contrapositive that Francis exceeds: an understanding of what does not - and a focus on what does - need to change.  

Think of it as three possible scenarios:

  1. The nice-looking but limited/standardized web apps, i.e. a tool for dummies.
  2. The Excel extension, i.e. the quick add-on.
  3. The connected and finance-oriented spreadsheet.

We bid on the last one. 

Francis is not here to fight your love for an ancestral tool - the spreadsheet. The battle they chose to fight - and by all accounts hopefully win - is against inefficiency and frustration, and they’re doing so by empowering your love (the spreadsheet) with modern-era capabilities. 

In other words: Francis is like your favorite Excel, only better. It’s a super-powered spreadsheet that allows CFOs to automate all of their data collection thanks to the numerous integrations with ERP and accounting systems and other data-collective tools. It does this while still sticking to the intuitive Excel-like interface, making it a simple tool to learn, use, and collaborate with other businesses in. 

It might sound complex but I have been so impressed by the simplicity with which Francis’ team has been able to address a multi-faceted problem, by producing an extremely lean, business-oriented CFO tool, ready to serve the next generation of modern finance-adopting companies.

Another person who saw the ambition in Francis and its team is byFounders Collective member, Frida Siwe (CFO at ABC Labs, previously CFO at Lifesum, Gimi, and Norrsken Foundation). Frida played an important role in the due diligence process and came back with five stars! 

“In my mind, Francis is not only filling a space in the market with a tool that makes the current processes more efficient, but by solving a problem for the modern finance department and CFO. The market is definitely there for a tool built by people with true insight into the issues as well as being great entrepreneurs. I'm very excited by what has been done so far and the fast progress of Francis and I believe it truly has the potential to become a fundamental part of the finance tech stack in any modern company. “

We at byFounders totally buy into the vision of a modeling tool that is intuitive, easy to use and implement, and that focuses on the ability to model scenarios and collectively analyze outputs constantly. 

If you’re a CFO that’s been disappointed with dummy tools, or you’ve found yourself lost in translation with the data team, then we urge you to give Francis a go - you won’t be disappointed!

More about the author(s)
Camille Zivré
Principal

Camille is always looking for founders who have the grit to build something life-changing and is particularly interested in Web3, DeFi, DevTools, payments, and sustainability. A curious soul and avid explorer, she has lived, studied, and worked in Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.

More about the author(s)
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