Innovation not only happens in small startups, but also in big corporates. A great example for this is the EY Finance Navigator, a corporate startup within EY. The EY Finance Navigator is an online financial planning software specifically designed for startups and scale-ups. The software makes it easy for entrepreneurs to build a professional financial plan and detailed cash flow projections.
Over the past couple of years, the 3 Finance Navigator founders (Alex Matthiessen, Lars Vereijken and Wout Bobbink) supported dozens of startups and scale-ups with their financial planning and fundraising by means of workshops, personal guidance and a financial model Excel template. Because of the limitations of Excel and the struggles many entrepreneurs have with financial planning the idea for EY Finance Navigator was born: a scalable online software solution to support entrepreneurs on global scale.
In 2016 the founders joined EY’s first edition of the corporate innovation program in the Netherlands, called ‘Innovate EY’, with the idea for Finance Navigator. During the program they applied lean startup methodology to validate the problem, market, product and pricing. The EY Finance Navigator founders then joined the HighTechXL accelerator program in Eindhoven to commercialize the idea for building financial planning software. At the end of this program they had about 50 paying pilot users. Late 2017 Finance Navigator release 1 went live, with a main focus on Dutch (and several European) clients to gather the required client feedback for a more mature release 2, meant for global promotion. In November 2018 Finance Navigator release 2 went live, resulting in EY Finance Navigator ‘going international’ (global focus).
In short: the EY Finance Navigator team developed themselves from consultants into corporate entrepreneurs selling a SaaS product. A corporate startup helping out other startups!
Just 1 year after going live, EY Finance Navigator already has users in about 30 different countries globally. The ambitious team is supported by EY offices in over 40 countries, and currently is now looking into rolling out in all countries where EY has offices (150 countries).
EY Finance Navigator shows the future financial impact of business decisions and activities performed today. This helps entrepreneurs anticipate the future and make better business/strategic decisions. A financial plan shows a company’s future funding need and cash dips, helping entrepreneurs anticipate cash shortages and the funding required to achieve growth. Furthermore, having a proper financial plan in place is in almost all cases a requirement of investors when startups try to raise funding. Investors, banks, subsidy organizations, etc. usually all ask for a financial forecast when companies apply for funding. EY Finance Navigator helps the user build such a financial plan and prepare him/her for investor discussions. Try it out and request access!
Key benefits and features of EY Finance Navigator:
- EY Finance Navigator can be used by experienced finance professionals, as well as people that do not have a strong finance background. The tool provides guidance (in terms of an algorithm triggering benchmarking data, explanations and tips & tricks) and its step-by-step approach makes sure also the less experienced can build a proper financial model to prepare for investor meetings, by teaching the ins and outs of startup finance.
- EY Finance Navigator saves the user time, errors (and headaches) of having to build a financial model from scratch using spreadsheets.
- It automatically calculates important financial KPIs and the financial statements, which are the generally accepted way of communicating financial information with investors, banks, companies, etc. EY Finance Navigator’s export feature generates a well-structured Excel file, so the users can easily share their financial model.
- EY Finance Navigator automatically creates a monthly cash flow overview, which supports users with cash flow management. Cash is king!
- The software’s scenario builder helps users to easily create different scenarios of their financial projections, helping them anticipate cash shortages that can lead to bankruptcy and the funding needed to achieve growth, for different strategies.