Leading cloud accounting package, Rounded, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A investment to grow its business and gain a more significant market share of the rapidly increasing customer segment of sole traders and freelancers in Australia.
Rounded provides intuitive and straightforward accounting solutions, specifically for sole-traders. The SaaS company, established in 2015 hopes to aggressively pursue its growth strategy, targeting the lucrative and growing “gig economy”, which already boasts more than 4.1 million freelancers and sole traders, or one-third of the workforce, operating their businesses in Australia.
Rounded Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder Oliver Garside is heartened by the positive response: “We are delighted our capital raising has attracted such interest, especially from larger and well-respected investors such as SLM Corporate, who have recognised the significant shift, and resultant business opportunities, in the changing Australian work culture and gig economy.
“Like us, our investors have recognised the growth in subscription-based business solutions, especially among sole traders, who are attracted by the affordability and low overheads of SaaS software solutions, over large one-off expenses,” he says.
What exactly does Rounded do?
The Rounded platform already provides sole traders and freelancers with bespoke accounting products designed for their needs. The affordable SaaS package offers quoting and invoicing capability, expense recording, preparation and submission of BAS (via an integration with PwC Airtax), as well as project time-tracking, profit and loss reports and goal setting. The app features visually appealing, and “easy to understand” reporting and record keeping. Rounded is accessible via any browser and offers both Android and iOS apps.
The capital raising provides Rounded with a solid foundation to grow its business through enhanced product functionality and investment in online marketing, SEO, content marketing and referral programs.
“We are in the process of launching our accountant portal, enabling our customers to grant access to their accountants,” explains Garside. “The free accountant portal provides seamless sharing of data and information between users and their accountants, with the ability to grant either read-only or full editing rights.
“We are also launching a marketing platform for Rounded connected accountants to advertise their services to the gig-community,” he says.
The Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends Report for 2018 recently found that the rise of the gig economy is on the radar of most companies globally, with 28 percent of the 11,000 companies surveyed anticipating an increase in gig workers when asked to forecast the makeup of their workforce in 2020. Around 37 per cent of survey respondents expected a rise in contractors and 33 per cent foresaw an increase in freelancers.
The founders of Rounded recognised the shift in the workforce, and developed a product to address the specific needs of this growing group.
What is the story behind Rounded?
Like most industry disruptors, Rounded was born out of co-founder Grant McCall’s frustration with accounting packages that didn’t address the specific needs of sole traders and freelancers.
Says Oliver of the genesis of Rounded: “Before starting Rounded Grant was a career Freelancer and Digital Nomad. He travelled almost constantly in Europe, the US and different parts of Australia using his skills as a Photographer, videographer and designer to service a portfolio of clients all over the world.
“Throughout that time Grant tried numerous accounting solutions. None of them worked for him. They were either badly designed, hard to use and filled with features he didn’t need, not meant for use in Australia or just too expensive. Grant concluded that there had to be a better way and built his own tool which is what we now know as Rounded,” he continues.
Co-founder Nick Beames was a client of Grant’s at Astute Payroll and became the Rounded’s First Angel investor and CEO. He was instrumental in setting up the company while Grant focussed on building and launching the MVP (Minimum Viable Product). In January 2017 Nick exited Astute Payroll and joined Rounded full time. Grant is the product designer and responsible for the UI and the overall look and feel of the app.
Chief Engineer and co-founder, Igor Pantovic leads the in-house engineering team which has built the back end.
Oliver has worked in the SaaS technology space for the last decade. Before joining Rounded he was one of the first employees with LinkedIn Australia when it launched in 2010. After five years, he was ready for a different challenge. In 2016 when the Rounded MVP was ready for market, the company brought Oliver aboard as COO to manage the customers and take control of the operational aspects of the business.
“Joining Rounded was exactly the kind of challenge and opportunity I was looking for – to be part of building something from the ground up,” he says.
“In the last two years, we have focussed on the app, ensuring it is as functional as it can be,” continues Oliver. Since the initial MVP, we have added several new features such as bank feeds, Android and iOS apps, Time Tracker and a long list of smaller features.”
Growth has been steady as more freelancers hear about the app – mainly via word of mouth. Around Mid 2017 Oliver and Nick began the process of seeking funded for Rounded, which culminated in the successful investment round completed in May.
Says Oliver: “With the additional funds, we are excited about growing Rounded into the future, both in terms of increasing our user numbers and brand awareness and also in revenue growth.”