Investment bankers have turned to complicated algorithms and modeling systems to predict market activity to inform their money and investment decisions for decades. It’s mind boggling, then, that we haven’t had widespread ability to forecast finances on a personal level.
Many players, from financial technology startups to traditional banks, are finally starting to offer the tools for individual customers to input their own financial transaction histories and predict their own finances, allowing them to adjust spending or saving habits accordingly.
Caroline Plumb, though, wants her London-based startup Fluidly to be the go-to provider of this forecasting capability for small to medium sized businesses.
According to the company, the average small business owner spends an estimated 1,300 hours a year chasing late payment and managing cashflow. “Our primary competitor right now is Excel sheets,” Plumb told Fintech Unltd.
The year-old startup, which partnered with cloud accounting service Xero to formally launch this month, says it combines machine learning and financial modeling to help small and medium-sized companies predict and optimize their cashflow.
Serial entrepreneur Plumb formerly founded talent recruiting company FreshMinds and has also been appointed as a UKTI business ambassador. Keeping her past experiences in mind, Plumb knew there were three things she needed to be a part of her next endeavor.
With an Engineering, Economics and Management degree from Oxford University, Plumb said she wanted to return to her technical roots and wanted the business model of her next endeavor to be centered around technology. Secondly, rather than building up another project-based business like FreshMinds, Plumb wanted to create a product that would both scale and be made to last.
Designing solutions for companies at FreshMind required tailoring their product to the needs of each client. Fluidly as a product, though, doesn’t require customization. It can solve a customer’s problem immediately—without customization—meaning it can scale quickly and return a steady revenue for Fluidly.
Finally, like most entrepreneurs, Plumb wanted to work on the solution to a problem she was passionate about. As a business owner herself for 15 years, managing and tracking down payments was a pain point she’d experienced personally.
Fluidly’s technology works to help a business forecast their inflow and outflow of cash as well as highlight any aberrant variations in spending or income.
And it looks like, for Plumb, looking forward is more than just the business model.
“Entrepreneurs are really good at making decisions on the future and not focusing on the past,” Plumb said. “The Brexit decision happened. Now we are going to focus on the opportunities ahead.”
Cadence is a fintech reporter and writer at Fintech Unltd, where she covers the changing landscape of financial technologies. Previously, Cadence interned at Psychology Today, Business Insider and the Wisconsin State Journal. Cadence is interested in how science and technology intersect with power and culture and is curious about the world we are creating for tomorrow, consciously or not. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2017 with degrees in Journalism and Chinese. Send tips and story ideas to Cadence at [email protected] You can also follow her on Twitter @cadencebambenek.