Home Banking Stripe-backed fintech Pilot lands unicorn valuation thanks to Jeff Bezos

Stripe-backed fintech Pilot lands unicorn valuation thanks to Jeff Bezos

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Pilot, a back-office financial toolkit targeted at America’s small businesses, has landed a $1.2 billion valuation thanks to a bumper Series C investment from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ personal investment company, Bezos Expedition.

The start-up, which offers bookkeeping, tax, and chief financial officer (CFO) services, also had support from Boston-based investor Whale Rock Capital.

In 2020, Pilot processed more than $3 billion in bookkeeping transactions

Additional funding, which came to $40 million came from Sequoia Capital and Index Ventures.

The bolted-on round takes Pilot’s Series C to $100 million, doubling its valuation. To date, Pilot has raised $160 million and acquired some 1,000 customers.

Inspired by Amazon

Pilot says the latest funding will allow it to “expand its breadth of back-office services”. The fintech’s investors want it to do to back-office financial services what “AWS has [done] with the cloud”.

Pilot’s founder and CEO, Waseem Daher, completed an internship at Amazon back in 2005. An early Bezos fan, Daher says he’s been inspired by the e-commerce giant’s “customer-centric approach”.

“Over 80% of our [Pilot’s] business is driven by customer referrals and organic interest,” says Daher.

In 2020, Pilot claims it processed more than $3 billion in bookkeeping transactions for its customers, which range from pre-revenue start-ups to businesses turning over $30 million in revenue annually.

How it works

The fintech integrates tools from Intuit’s QuickBooks, Stripe, Square, Brex, Shopify, and Bill.com. It integrates directly with a company’s billing, banking, expense, and payroll systems.

As well as financial strategies around profitability and cashflow, and bookkeeping analysis, Pilot also gives small businesses access to federal and state tax credits.

This includes research and development (R&D) tax credit, which the fintech claims can exceed $250,000 in savings.

Launched in 2017, Pilot is the third venture for its three co-founders. Alongside Daher, these include chief operating officer Jeff Arnold, and chief technology officer Jessica McKellar.

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