Why We Invested: Gappify
A growing number of corporate accountants are seeking to modernize their tech stack to cut down on the time they spend on data entry and other mechanical tasks. This allows accountants more time to focus on driving strategy and growth.
Gappify, whose leadership team consists of CPAs and former Big 4 professionals, is building cloud-based automation solutions to help accountants consolidate and speed up their mission critical processes, such as accrual management and vendor management.
Gappify’s products help accounting teams close their books faster, mitigate their financial statement risk and strengthen their internal SOX compliance controls. We’re excited about their proprietary Robotic Process Automation (RPA) architecture, which models the actions of accountants doing repetitive, day-to-day manual work.
We’re proud to partner with the Gappify team as they modernize the accounting profession. Rally Ventures led Gappify’s oversubscribed Series A financing, and Rally Venture Partner Mike Jennings joined the Board of Directors.
Below is a short Q&A with Founder and CEO Jotham Ty.
1. Tell me more about your background. What led you to found Gappify?
I’m a long time accountant who started my professional career in public accounting. In 2004, at the age of 23, I left KPMG and started my own accounting practice. There was an opportunity at the time to provide a specific type of compliance service that was mandated by Congress as a result of the Enron corporate fraud scandal. I was one of the first accountants trained in Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, so I decided to start a practice focused on that particular area of accounting.
We eventually grew from offering compliance services to helping several multinational companies improve their technology stacks. These types of engagements were far more exciting than compliance, as it gave my team and I the opportunity to implement the first wave of accounting cloud and SaaS solutions in the accounting market.
However, despite the amazing SaaS solutions we had the pleasure of implementing, my firm was still being engaged frequently to support corporate accountants perform low-value tasks. I was just as frustrated as our clients about the many automation gaps, which prompted me to start Gappify.
2. Tell us more about your customers’ biggest pain point and how Gappify solves that problem?
Our solution is built for accounting teams with greater than 1,000 employees. These companies have teams of talented accounting professionals who spend most of their time collecting, entering and reviewing financial data. With automation solutions like Gappify, transactions can be processed autonomously, and, most importantly, the solution ensures that financial statements are prepared accurately for management and in compliance with the necessary statutory requirements.
Designing our original architecture to follow the RPA model rooted our approach in building automations that mimic the manual actions of accountants. This is fundamentally different from traditional SaaS platforms, where the design is anchored on the platform first rather than on the underlying executions.
Freeing an experienced accountant’s time from repetitive mechanical work is the motivation behind creating these products. We currently have three products available, and, thanks to our RPA foundation, we are in position to create one new product per quarter now.
3. What tools and tactics do you use to get unstuck when you’re struggling with a problem?
Accountants tend to be logical and rational, and I am certainly no exception. Regardless of the complexity of the problem I’m facing, I tend to break down problems into smaller pieces first. Once the problem is properly and rationally identified, then I like to think outside the box to find the best solution possible.
For example, in many marketing playbooks a common way to establish thought leadership or create lead magnets is to publish whitepapers. In my rational and outside-the-box thinking, my team chose to survey the accountants first rather than assuming whitepapers are effective. Sure enough, we learned that most people haven’t downloaded or had time to read lengthy whitepapers — which has now influenced where we make our marketing investments at Gappify.
4. What’s the hardest part of starting a company? And what advice would you give to founders at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey?
For me, the hardest part is always finding the right people. Whether it’s finding the right type of talent to bring your original ideas to life or finding the right investors to help you grow your business, articulating and inspiring others to rally around your vision is not an easy task for anyone.
With that in mind, one important piece of advice I have for new entrepreneurs is to embrace that challenge. As many superpowers as we founders think we have, finding and adding rock stars to your team will help accelerate your business.
I would also advise founders to find other founders to connect with. The founder journey is unique, and the more you can be around like-minded people who have lived through similar experiences, the better and more relevant feedback you’ll have on your journey. This type of connection is one that I really value from our board member, Mike Jennings, and from our advisor, Justin Kaufenberg.
5. What are you most excited about in 2022?
I’m excited to grow the team. Our amazing customers are eager for the new products we’ve shared in our roadmap, so having the resources to build a bigger team of rock stars and quickly release these new solutions is something Gappify is extremely excited about.