2014-05-23

Co.Labs

Can Predictive Analytics Prevent Mischief In Corporate Finance?

An analytics dashboard for corporate finance teams just received $8 million in financing. The goal? Predicting bad corporate reports before they happen.



If startup Aviso has their way, sprawling corporate enterprises will turn to analytics dashboards and application programming interfaces (APIs) to handle their financial metrics. The company, which just left exited stealth mode last month, is backed by $8 million in Series A funding from Shasta Ventures, Bloomberg BETA, and several other investors. Their goal? Creating a dashboard that lets large companies understand their finances in real time—before quarterly reports are issued.

K.V. Rao, the service’s cofounder and CEO, is best known for being the brains behind enterprise automation firm Zuora. During a phone conversation, he told me that Aviso’s mission statement is to "democratize quant science for the enterprise" and give corporations the same access to their financials that individuals have through services like Mint.

Once a company installs Aviso’s dashboard, they are able to input any real-time data feed for analytics. According to CMO Jeff Yoshimura, this means analytics for customer interactions, enterprise resource planning, revenue assets, custom data feeds, and what the company calls "real-time market signals" that include Bloomberg data. This information is then used to produce predictive analytics for the client’s corporate financial team, centered around a risk score that takes both their financials and larger market trends into account.

Rao added that Aviso’s customer market is what he calls "mid-size companies" with between $100 million and $1 billion in annual revenues. Over the past two years, Aviso has been in stealth mode and has picked up clients including security giant FireEye, SaaS vendor RingCentral, and enterprise software firm Saba. Although they aren’t household names, they’re examples of the financially well-situated companies with tech-forward internal infrastructure that Aviso presumably wants to target.

But Aviso isn’t alone. As the cost of analytics platforms and clouds for data crunching have drastically declined over the past few years, a variety of other companies have begun offering financial analytics dashboards. One of the best known of these is Addepar. The brainchild of Joe Lonsdale and Jason Mirra, best known for their work with big data platform Palantir, Addepar markets a real-time personal wealth management platform aimed at the super-rich.

Both Aviso and Addepar have staked out niches in the financial analytics ecosystem. While the technology for making decisions via real-time financial analytics dashboards is out there, both companies also face varying resistance to real-time analytics outside of the cloistered worlds of Wall Street quants and hedge funds.

When I asked Rao and Yoshimura about Aviso’s advantage versus traditional analytics and dashboard tools for corporate finance, Yoshimura emphasized that it was a single platform that made analysis much easier. "If you ask CFOs, they use legions of spreadsheets and accountants in CRM. Then there are big databases like Oracle. We bring full data from all these sources and append them with real-time market data, so companies are able to measure risk, analyze data, and do very similar things to what a trader chooses to do for a hedge fund."

And with the next wave of quarterly reports coming in July, Aviso will hopefully help some companies avoid unexpected bad news.




Add New Comment

2 Comments

  • What's good for big business is also good for small business. At GrowthForce www.growthforce.com we've developed a dashboard that sync's with QuickBooks called Insperity Reveal. The author is dead right. its all about getting data in real time so you can make timely decisions.

    Of course, garbage in gives you garbage out. (full disclosure: GrowthForce is an outsourced Controller and Bookkeeping service). The best dashboard in the world won't help you if you can't rely on the numbers. But have having management information at your fingertips, managers can quickly see if the numbers are wrong.

    If used the right way a dashboard will help you eliminate garbe numbers. By looking a KPIs in real time you'll get to the bottom of the variances and you'll find the mistakes. That will help you run your business and make your CPA happy as well!

  • What's good for big business is also good for small business. At GrowthForce www.growthforce.com we've developed a dashboard that sync's with QuickBooks called Insperity Reveal. The author is dead right. its all about getting data in real time so you can make timely decisions.

    Of course, garbage in gives you garbage out. (full disclosure: GrowthForce is an outsourced Controller and Bookkeeping service). The best dashboard in the world won't help you if you can't rely on the numbers. But have having management information at your fingertips, managers can quickly see if the numbers are wrong.

    If used the right way a dashboard will help you eliminate garbe numbers. By looking a KPIs in real time you'll get to the bottom of the variances and you'll find the mistakes. That will help you run your business and make your CPA happy as well!