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London-based Aurelia, a FinTech startup with Romanian co-founders, has announced a new investment round of €2.5M led by Blossom Capital, an early-stage English VC. This seed round follows the company’s launch five months ago, in April 2021.
“It’s been an intense period of time but thankfully together with our partners at Blossom Capital we haven’t had any difficulties other than making enough time to build a product and run the business between just two people,” shared Sebastian Trif, the Romanian co-founder.
Aurelia is working on democratizing access to FinTech solutions for small and medium companies, bringing new and easier-to-scale tools for them to test. Through the startup’s platform, companies can integrate and manage different bank accounts and financial tools to have a better grasp on their bills and taxes. This has been enabled by different European players that want to help SMEs save time, digitize their financial processes, while also saving funds in the long term.
“We approach this problem from the bottom up and aim to give businesses a place to connect any tools they have, offer live updating data between them, and a recipe book of plugins and example workflows to automate away the mundane, no matter what tools and bank accounts the business may be using,” Trif describes Aurelia’s solution.
What does history have to do with finance?
Aurelia was co-founded by Sebastian Trif, a Romanian engineer living in the UK, a former full-stack engineer at TransferWise, now known as Wise, and Jasper August Tootsi, an Estonian engineer living in the UK, with input from the Romanian developer Dragos Apostol. While Trif and Apostol discussed the idea of Aurelia two years ago over coffee, meeting Tootsi at a party got the FinTech startup rolling.
Trif shared that the name is a mix of liking history and being ambitious about what they want to do in the finance world. Aurelia was Julius Caesar’s mother, one of the most influential emperors in the Roman Empire. This inspired the founders to combine different data that a company uses to know its finances.
Aurelia’s co-founder said that some business owners’ challenges are “who owes me money?”, “who do I owe money to?”, and “do I have enough money in the right bank accounts?”. But he shares that while there are tools to accept payments, they don’t also create invoices acceptable by the fiscal rules in the specific country, so entrepreneurs have to re-invoice because the data is isolated.
“In a lot of tasks that have to do with accounting, we just moved from writing stuff by hand with pen and paper to typing it into a computer. But as long as that data is not standardized and connected, it can’t be much more useful than that. So, it’s no surprise that the market is growing in that direction and we’re aiming to be helping a lot of businesses bridge this gap with Aurelia,“ he explained.
What is the plan for next year?
In the next six months, the investment will be used to build the product and experience it with early customers to have access to feedback and keep improving. Next, the team wants to make the product available for different markets, develop specialized plugins for the Aurelia Marketplace, and onboard more businesses.
The financial automation platform is set to be officially released on the Estonian, Romanian, German, and English markets in December. For now, they are onboarding users from their waiting list.
“We have a beta version available with a small number of customers in Estonia where, thanks to the governmental APIs, we can do things like submitting the VAT and yearly reports to the government, making running a business’s finances literally as simple as checking your email and seeing: ‘Oh today my VAT report was submitted, I have a request to pay X Euros, cool’,” Trif explained.
Aurelia’s co-founder is excited to launch on the Romanian market next because their research shows that while companies adopt tools like Shopify and Stripe, they still struggle with out-of-date accounting. In Romania, many accountants still use the SAGA software.