Jeff Bezos investment fund backs Pilot in a $100 Mn round, a startup hoping to be the AWS for SMB accounting

Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos

Accounting start-up Pilot raised a new round of funding from Jeff Bezos and other Silicon Valley investors to assist micro businesses outsource their back-office tasks.

The San Francisco-based company closed a $100 million funding round this week, doubling its valuation to $1.2 billion. The round was led by Bezos’s venture capital firm Bezos Expeditions and hedge fund Whale Rock Capital, with participation from Sequoia and Index Ventures. Stripe and its founders, Patrick and John Collison, as well as former VMware Chief executive officer Diane Henry Graham Greene had antecedently invested in Pilot.

Pilot’s co-founder and chief executive officer Waseem Daher was an intern at Amazon sixteen years ago. Later he went on to start two new companies which were bought by Oracle and Dropbox in few years. He likened Pilot’s use case to a problem solved by Amazon internet Services: Let developers specialise in building a business rather than working out a way to host an internet site.

“There’s all of this annoying, tedious, alarming and vital back-office stuff that you simply ought to do as a small business owner. Owners should concentrate on running a corporation at huge scale. Leave the back office work for the Pilot,” Daher told CNBC.

Most of the workers working in the Pilot former accountant. They are assigned to work directly with small businesses. They take on administrative tasks like payroll, accounting, taxes and bills. The start-up has partnered with firms such as American Express, Bill.com, Gusto and Stripe. Daher describes it as “tech-enabled,” However Pilot itself isn’t a software company as users have to pay the subscription money and the corporation makes money out of it.

Pilot’s pitch is about much more than just software. The corporation uses pilot with the accountants to work on things such as provide “CFO Services” to SMBs without a full-stack finance team. It also provides monthly variance analysis for all its accounting customers, basically serving as a controller for those firms, so that they will issue better budgeting and spending decisions.

Pilot’s revenue roughly doubled up throughout the pandemic despite micro-businesses facing the trouble of Covid-related shutdowns. The company’s revenue has roughly tripled each year since it had been based in 2017. The recent growth is often attributed to the fact that more people are running their businesses from their home due to the pandemic. A lot of millennials are also starting small businesses and tend to be a lot receptive towards outsourcing through a tech platform.

Index Ventures partner Mark Goldberg is an early investor in Pilot who first met the group of founders at Dropbox nearly a decade ago. While the narrative in Silicon Valley right now is “focused on using software to optimize for everything,” Goldberg said Pilot is taking the “opposite approach” by adding people back in the mix.

“Nobody starts an organisation to deal with BS in the back office. You want someone to deal with the work nobody wants to do.” Goldberg said. “People don’t want software, they want peace of mind and when it comes to bookkeeping Pilot does exactly that.”

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  • Online Team Asia Tech is a team of Journalists, Entrepreneurs, and Enthusiast Writers who contribute to the platform by bringing everyday stories, updates, opinions and insights from the Asian Startup Ecosystem.

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