How the idea for Railz accounting data-as-a-service platform came to life
Sohaib Zahid, our CEO, and Derek Manuge, our CTO, joined forces to launch Railz. Both of our co-founders thought up the idea for Railz independently.
With Derek’s past experience in quant, he realized the problem of accessing quality data to build better models. He found himself spending more than half of his time trying to access these data points.
Sohaib realized that while small-medium business (SMB) accounting data was accessible from cloud accounting packages, these datasets weren't available in a standardized format. Accounting software like Quickbooks, Xero, Intuit, Sage, FreshBooks, and others offer high levels of customizations to their SMB customers. From a ‘Big Data’ standpoint, it is virtually impossible to manually normalize these data sets into a standardized format. He also knew the challenges that SMBs have in getting access to business loans — the process is painstakingly long!
Our two co-founders realized that the slow approval processes were a result of limited access to quality SMB data to enable decision-making. Getting access to granular, high quality, and clean financial data on businesses has been a problem for all financial institutions — whether it’s lenders, banks, fintechs, governments, and others.
Early success for Railz
As Railz built its API from the ground up, the team explored impactful use cases in collaboration with great companies — both in the FinTech and Financial Services space. Financial Institutions (FIs) benefit in different ways from working with Railz to get real-time accounting data.
Railz Use Case and Case Study: SMB Cashflow Forecasting
With Buffalo-based M&T Bank, Railz was able to help the bank by providing their SMB customers with the right tools to forecast their cashflows. Forecasting cash flows have always been a key problem SMBs faced before the pandemic. This problem is even more prevalent due to uncertainties in the current economic climate. Railz single API and analytics engine makes it a unique solution to this problem.
Railz Use Case and Case Study: Auto-Filling Data for Fintech Solutions
In the Fintech space, Causal used Railz as a conduit between their SMB client’s accounting package and their data modelling platform. By leveraging the Railz API, Causal was able to access real-time data from alternate sources to power up their services and deliver greater value to their customers with more accurate and timely financial models.
From Seed and Series A: Railz gets investment to scale
After successfully validating the Railz platform with customers and remotely growing a high-performance team, Railz raised a $3.1 Million (USD) seed round in late 2020 and then $12 Million (USD) in Series A funding in May of 2021.
Our solution to solve the universal challenge of access to quality and standardized SMB data has been the driving force of our success.
Our rounds were led by Nyca Partners in participation with Susa Ventures, Vestigo Ventures, Entrée Capital, Global Founders Capital, and Plug and Play Ventures. The support of these incredible investors and advisors will enable us to continue to bring financial data-as-a-service capabilities to customers — at scale.
What’s next on the roadmap for Railz?
It’s been a little over a year since Railz set up shop and there are no plans to slow down! A recent expansion of Visa’s Fintech Partner Connect program included Railz. The Toronto startup was also accepted into the FIS 2021 Fintech Accelerator.
“Fintech Partner Connect can help Visa’s issuing partners create digital-first experiences without the cost and complexity of building the back-end technology in-house.”
— via Finextra
Railz has also partnered with Citadel, a leading payroll data API. Through this partnership, both Railz and Citadels users can get real-time accounting data and access payroll data through Citadel’s network of payroll and HRIS accounts. Similar partnerships that empower financial institutions and organizations to access a broader range of SMB financial data are in the works, too!
Railz is excited to scale its incredible data-driven and fast-moving team. The company is proud to be recently recognized as a Great Place to Work®! We share job postings regularly so if you’re looking to join a fast-scaling fintech team, please view our careers on LinkedIn — we’re remote!
To partner with us to normalize and analyze your SMB customers’ accounting data or to learn more about our Accounting Data-as-a-Service™ API, please contact our amazing Railz sales team!
Samantha Lloyd is the Director of Marketing at Railz. We're building the largest financial data network to support the future of finance. She has a decade of experience building organic growth, brand, and digital marketing for startups and technology companies. In her free time, you can find Sam SCUBA diving, snorkelling, paddle boarding, and jet skiing.