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Conversation
Highlights

 

Welcome to another episode of Category Visionaries — the show that explores GTM stories from tech’s most innovative B2B founders. In today’s episode, we’re speaking with Swapnil Shinde, co-founder of Zeni, a finance operations platform that has raised over $47 million in funding.

  • Zeni solves the painful and fragmented process of managing finances, bookkeeping, accounting and taxes that Swapnil experienced as a founder in his previous two startups.
  • By using generative AI, Zeni has built a platform that automates bookkeeping and accounting, enabling daily virtual close of books and real-time financial insights for founders.
  • Zeni collaborates AI with a dedicated team of finance experts to deliver an experience that is 10x faster and more accurate than traditional solutions at a lower price point.
  • The company is working with nearly 400 startups, managing over $1 billion in finances per month. Many customers are switching from hourly billing finance firms.
  • Zeni’s unique differentiator is the ability to provide daily bookkeeping and real-time insights through their dashboard, replacing the need for manual work and back-and-forth.
  • The company considers “finance operations” as the category they are creating by disrupting the old, human-intensive business of accounting and bookkeeping with an AI-powered platform.

Actionable
Takeaways

Building a Differentiated Product

Focus on your unique differentiators and what truly delights customers rather than getting distracted by competitors. Build a product that creates an "aha" moment.

Hiring and Team Building

Hire leaders who can take your blueprints and execute 5x faster than you in areas outside your core skillset. Build your team both top-down and bottom-up simultaneously.

Leveraging Investor Relationships

Fundraising gets easier with each startup as existing investors have seen your journey. Aim for a board with strong chemistry, trust and excitement for your problem space.

Defining a New Category

Don't shy away from disrupting old, unsexy industries with highly manual processes. Collaborate humans with AI to create a new category and customer experience from the ground up.

Executing with Velocity

In startups, ideas alone aren't the winning formula - it's about executing rapidly to outpace the competition. Remove founder hats quickly and empower leaders to scale.

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