Raleigh fintech Finmark raises $6.5M from AmEx Ventures

Rami Essaid, CEO of Raleigh-based startup Finmark.

Rami Essaid, CEO of Raleigh-based startup Finmark.


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Finmark, a Raleigh financial technology startup, has raised a $6.5 million seed round from a group of investors that includes the venture capital arm of American Express, Bessemer Venture Partners and Durham’s IDEA Fund.

Founded in 2020, Finmark makes financial modeling software that provides an alternative to Excel spreadsheets and other financial planning platforms. The latest funding round brings its total funding to $11 million.

Finmark is hoping to convince startups to use its software to manage their expenses, burn rate and runway. It has added hundreds of paying customers since it was founded, company CEO Rami Essaid said.

Tracking financial performance “was a pain point that I experienced so viscerally first hand that after selling my last company, it was top of mind for me to fix,” Essaid said in a phone interview.

Essaid has had previous success in the startup world. His last company, Distil Networks, a cybersecurity firm that blocked bot attacks, was acquired in 2019 by Imperva.

Just six months after that sale had been finalized, Essaid, a Raleigh native, said he was already beginning to build Finmark and enrolling it at the prestigious startup accelerator Y Combinator.

“We can give you a lot more intelligence than Excel can in an online platform,” Essaid said of his company’s pitch. “We make it super simple to analyze this versus that or to pivot the data in lots of interesting ways, or to simply share that information.”

Essaid said he selected Raleigh as Finmark’s headquarters because his co-founders were based here and he was already familiar with the pool of talent in the city.

While running Distil from outside of Washington, D.C., Essaid opened an engineering office in Raleigh. Many of those Distil workers have now moved over to Finmark, which now employs around 34 people.

The company, founded in the middle of the pandemic, is operating remotely most of the time, though it also uses office space at Raleigh Founded, Essaid said.

Essaid said he hopes to use the seed round money to expand Finmark’s customer base. Most of its customers are early-stage startups, which Finmark was able to find through its own network. But Essaid believes the company’s future growth will also depend on larger companies as well as the many mom-and-pop shops that are transitioning to an e-commerce model.

“In the next five years, every single storefront is probably going to have some aspect of e-commerce to it,” Essaid said. “As these companies become more digital, they’re going to get more sophisticated with their financials. I think this gives us an opportunity to work with all sorts of companies.”

That was one reason Finmark wanted to work with American Express, which already works with a range of businesses.

“They have so many customers that we’re hoping … we can have a funnel of customers directly from them,” he said.

Essaid said it shouldn’t be long until the company looks to raise more capital from investors. He said Finmark could raise a Series A round later this year, which it could use to hire dozens more employees.

This story was produced with financial support from a coalition of partners led by Innovate Raleigh as part of an independent journalism fellowship program. The N&O maintains full editorial control of the work. Learn more; go to bit.ly/newsinnovate

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Zachery Eanes is the Innovate Raleigh reporter for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He covers technology, startups and main street businesses, biotechnology, and education issues related to those areas.