Businesses typically chart their growth strategies in spreadsheets, but Drivetrain aims to provide a faster alternative for financial planning and decision making. The startup, which calls itself Google Maps for Business Growth, announced today that it has raised $15 million from Elevation Capital, Jungle Ventures and Venture Highway, as well as 25 angel investors.
One of Drivetrain’s goals is to help companies identify performance issues before they impact their finances. It integrates with 200 business tools, including Salesforce, Netsuite, Quickbooks, Workday and Looker, and provides a “system of metrics” in simple formulas to help companies create financial models and visualizations.
Drivetrain currently focuses on finance teams in medium and large B2B technology companies. CEO Alok Goel, who co-founded Drivetrain with CTO Tarkeshwar Thakur, was a former partner at Elevation Capital, which has $670 million in assets under management. During his six years with the firm, Goel has evaluated hundreds of SaaS companies and served on many of their boards.
“One question that intrigued me was ‘what makes the execution of a business predictable’? How does a company consistently achieve its goals quarter after quarter? Why do some companies grow faster while others get stuck?” he said.
He saw that high-performing companies were using data to make their decisions. “Basically because complex businesses like SaaS have this jigsaw puzzle nature where pieces have to fit together at the right time for a result to be achieved later,” Goel added. “This requires systems thinking and a data-driven approach.”
By connecting to disparate software, Drivetrain is able to aggregate data and make it easier for teams to understand, assisting them in creating financial plans, tracking plan vs. actual, creating what-if scenarios and the implementation of root cause analyses. To do this, Drivetrain has developed a language called DTML (Drivetrain Modeling Language) or programs that capture how businesses are run in an easy-to-understand spreadsheet interface.
One of their customers, Airmeet, used Drivetrain to reduce the time it takes to export and consolidate data from their Quickbooks accounts, Excel files and Chargebee data. By automating financial reporting and monthly forecasts, Airtrain was able to make its financials and business metrics accessible to everyone and improve collaboration as teams no longer had to wait for monthly reports from the finance team.
Another client, MindTickle, used Drivetrain to automate data collection and consolidation for their sales, marketing, and revenue operations teams. As a result, accurate figures are always available and employees no longer have to dig through countless separate spreadsheets.
There are legacy tools like Anaplan and Adaptive for enterprise users, but Goel says they require extensive customization and consultants to implement over a 6- to 12-month period. Drivetrain improves the process with rapid integration with ERPs, CRMs, marketing software and HRIS. According to Goel, it’s typically up and running in two to four weeks, with customers unlocking new use cases like sales performance management, workforce planning, and what-if scenarios after they get to grips with the planning and monitoring modules.
In a prepared statement, Priya Mohan, a partner at Venture Highway, said, “We struggled to put together Excel spreadsheets for portfolio companies to forecast revenue growth, structure the go-to-market plan and understand the levers that would impact revenue and margin growth . Spreadsheets and existing tools cannot do this in real time. Drivetrain’s scientific approach to scaling the business resonated with us, predictably.”