Consolidata is a cloud-based web application empowering financial professionals to build collaborative, sophisticated and reusable financial forecasts and valuation models outside of spreadsheets. They believe that human-readability is the key to making financial modeling more accessible, more collaborative and less time-consuming.
Prior to meeting at Welcome Weekend for Wharton’s MBA program in January 2019, co-founders Craig Thompson and Austin Kipp both worked in the investment banking and private equity industries. The two shared similar frustrations with the financial modeling work that is part and parcel to junior and mid-level roles within these sectors. Specifically, once a private equity firm buys a controlling stake in a company, they invest significant resources to augment the company’s budgeting, forecasting and financial reporting processes. These activities can sometimes consume up to 50% of an investment professional’s work day depending on the complexity of the business and amount of data captured. Further, the portfolio companies do not have the time and resources to create robust financial materials that investment firms need to satisfy their reporting requirements. As such, there are three main pain points associated with today’s financial modeling processes: (1) spreadsheet work requires a single person to “own” the model process, (2) it is virtually impossible for anyone other than the model owner to fully understand the model, and (3) it’s difficult for multiple users to collaborate on model inputs or understand the logic behind forecasts.
“Every part of portfolio company budgeting is a pain point. Setting up monthly reporting packages is very time-consuming and keeping data clean and reliable is a real challenge.” - FP&A Operating Partner, Philadelphia PE firm
Consolidata solves these issues with one goal in mind: to eliminate the pain of corporate financial planning and modeling.
To create or maintain a financial model using Consolidata, users simply login to the company’s online portal and begin by either importing a model template or starting their own with a simple model architecture, denoting the various inputs that drive company revenues and operations. For example, a medical device company may enter fields such as number of sales representatives, hospital visits per salesperson, percentage of visits leading to a signed contract, as well as order frequency and order quantity per hospital. The company can then specify the assumptions behind each of these inputs and the software will generate a fully-functioning financial model - including a balance sheet, income statement and statement of cash flows - as well as reports displaying key performance indicators. Users have the ability to insert information at a granular level, including details on customer names, employee names, and other specific information that helps add descriptions to the outputs. Additionally, the software allows for users to download the completed model to Excel for further review and analysis.
Consolidata’s library of budget templates grows as more users create new models for different businesses. By separating model architecture from the actual numbers, Consolidata can serve as a customizable model template repository without sharing confidential financial information. The company differentiates itself from competitors by expediting the creation of financial models, improving human readability, and simplifying reporting and forecasting for both portfolio companies and investors. In addition to building out customized operating models for clients, Consolidata offers other value-added features such as unit economics guides, acquisition/divestiture modeling and its repository of model templates.
The company has tapped into the entrepreneurial ecosystem at Penn, receiving grant prizes from both the Venture Lab’s Innovation Fund and WeissFund Tech House as well as participating in the VIP-X accelerator, a 3-month program providing a variety of resources and support to Penn entrepreneurs. Additionally, Consolidata sparked the interest of blue chip investors during 2020 and secured Angel funding from Dorm Room Fund and strategic investors spanning private equity, FP&A, and tech.
Following a successful product launch in August 2021, Consolidata has a group of paying customers and a robust pipeline of interested users. The team is initially focused on targeting “middle market”, private equity-backed companies with a high financial modeling demand but little to no resources. There are over 50,000 investor-backed companies in the U.S. and 500,000 small and medium-size businesses that fall into this broader category, the vast majority of which still rely on tedious Microsoft Excel practices despite the importance and complexity associated with the annual - and sometimes quarterly - budgeting process.
In addition to Craig and Austin, the team is comprised of two software engineers and a group of strategic advisors that includes Mark Zod (Co-Founder & CTO of WAM and Wharton lecturer) and Paul Soulos (Microsoft, Google, Fitbit).
“A tool built by finance people makes a huge difference.” - CFO, $180M Services Business
Last week, Consolidata released a series of product features that allows users to share specific templates in a secure, confidential manner. For example, the CFO of a portfolio company may have used Consolidata to create a probability weighting template for a new business pipeline that a private equity investor finds useful. The CFO could share the formulas and drivers (but not the specific numbers) with all other companies in the private equity firm’s portfolio to help implement better financial management practices. Consolidata also recently released a number of new enterprise features including change log tracking, user access management and an ability for investors with multiple portfolio companies to seamlessly flip between company models and versions.
Consolidata will be launching a fundraising process in the near-term to accelerate growth and invest in key resources across engineering and sales & marketing. The company is open to VC inquiries and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.