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Business planning startup Pigment raises $145M in rare funding from French tech giants

Paris-based startup Pigment has raised $145 million in funding just five years after its founding. The enterprise software company provides a business planning platform so large companies can visualize their past financial performance and forecast future quarters.

This funding round is a bit of a surprise, as large-scale funding rounds are rare in France. A recent study by Ernst & Young shows that the number of financing rounds in the French technology ecosystem will decrease by 38% in 2023 compared with 2022.

But if you take out hot AI startups like Mistral AI, and capital-intensive infrastructure companies like EV charging networks (Driveco) and EV battery factories (Verkor), these companies are not really tech startups, Then there will be fewer funding rounds. thoroughly down. Pure software startups have had a rough few years.

Pigment’s Series D round appears to be an exception. Existing investor Iconiq Growth is doubling down on its investment by leading a new round of funding. Sandberg Bernthal Venture Partners, IVP, Meritech, Greenoaks and Felix Capital also participated, many of which are also existing investors.

There’s a reason Pigment was able to raise so much money at a much higher valuation less than a year after its last round. In 2023, the startup tripled revenue and doubled its customer base, including high-profile clients such as Unilever, Datadog, Kayak, and Merck. Half of Pigment’s customers are located in the United States

“Our existing investors told us, ‘If you’re going to raise money in 18 months to scale with other companies, we might as well give you good terms on internal financing now.’ And it all happened very quickly. . . . Within a week, it was all done,” co-founder and co-CEO Éléonore Crespo told me.

Before founding Pigment, Crespo worked at venture capital firm Index Ventures and Google. She co-founded Pigment with Romain Niccoli, co-founder and CTO of Criteo, an early success in the French tech ecosystem.

“IVP – one of our backers – benchmarked the growth rates of all SaaS companies. Since we started selling our product, we have been in the top 5% of SaaS companies in terms of revenue growth. And have the best growth rate ever,” Crespo said.

Image Source: pigment

Pigment is a flexible business planning tool used by CFOs and finance teams to create reports and budgets. It’s a modern SaaS platform, which means you can integrate it with all your company’s data (ERP, HRIS, data lake, etc.) and use it as a collaboration tool.

In addition to the finance team, the sales team can use Pigment to create quotas and see how each person is performing against quarterly quotas. HR teams can learn how to expand or shrink the workforce based on strategic changes and financial goals.

“We did a lot of work to address issues for other teams, not just the finance team. We developed a lot of modules that allowed us to serve the HR team, the supply chain team, the sales team,” Crespo said.

In fact, as more and more teams start using Pigment, it becomes an important tool for cross-team collaboration. And it should run better than traditional tools from Oracle and SAP.

Like many software companies, Pigment has added AI capabilities. Because Pigment acts as a central repository of all important company metrics, customers can ask Pigment AI questions in natural language to get quick answers. Examples include “Can you give me a breakdown of revenue per country” or “Why did our actual revenue fall short of our forecast for this product last quarter?”

But more importantly, the company has optimized its core product to work even with large data sets and complex calculations. The best enterprise software products are must-have products, which means businesses typically don’t need to spend significant resources improving the product—customers need the tool to operate. Pigment remains a challenger in the industry, so it believes it needs to offer a better product to compete with other business planning products.

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