“Iron Man suit” for the modern CFO. A “strategic finance” platform. A rebuild of the CFO software stack. Mosaic, a new software platform from the company of the same name, has earned some impressive labels.
What’s clear is that it is one of the more interesting pieces of software to come along for finance chiefs in a while. It has a lot to live up to, but it’s also arriving at the right time. A report released by Panorama Consulting this week found that of 112 executives surveyed in the middle of 2020, 21% were dissatisfied with their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system implementations, and 34% were just neutral about them.
Mosaic’s solution comes just as ERP systems, in the eyes of some, are “unbundling.” The rise of cloud-based tools like Salesforce, HubSpot, and Rippling has made life easier for sales and marketing, human resources, even legal departments and “made them more powerful at their job,” says Bijan Moallemi, the CEO of Mosaic.
Those products have usurped the ERP from its position at the “center of the constellation for folks in the finance organization.” Now, at many organizations, the ERP is just another tool in the tech stack.
It also might be becoming outdated. In Moallemi’s view, ERP systems are too siloed to allow finance to connect with other parts of the organization and CFOs to fulfill their strategic remit.
To be a strategic CFO, “it’s not good enough to just have kind of domain expertise over the data coming into your ERP system,” Moallemi says. “You need to have mastery over all the different business systems that the organization is using.”
Other applications, like financial planning and analysis tools, are highly niche, and though they require full-time people to maintain, “only a small portion of your finance team is using them.” In addition, nonfinance personnel “are not spending time inside these platforms.”
So, finance, which is responsible for all the data these systems produce, “is still stuck in Excel,” Moallemi says.
Finance teams are often pulling down different datasets from systems, scrubbing that data, mapping that data across systems, and presenting it to the business via notepads, Slack messages, emails, PDFs, and so forth.
Enter Mosaic. CEO Moallemi and his two co-founders — Brian Campbell and Joe Garafalo — met at Palantir Technologies in 2012 while scaling the finance function at a company that grew from 150 employees to one with 3,000-plus worldwide.
The three experienced all the trials that finance departments of growing companies tend to experience: too much manual work in Excel, long implementation cycles for more complex software, and too many disconnected, cloud-based tools. They founded Mosaic in April 2019.
The Mosaic platform aims to provide finance with a “connective, collaborative” environment. It is designed to grab data automatically from all sorts of systems in the enterprise — ERPs, HRISs, CRMs, billing and payments systems, and others.
Pushing real-time data back out to business leaders is performed within the same tool. Mosaic presents information in a way that is digestible to nonfinance people. Instead of a statement of cash flows or a balance sheet, they get easy-to-use dashboards, data visualizations, and automated insights. The platform also incorporates artificial intelligence and machine learning to assist in forecasting versions of the future.
The result? A shared set of truths for decision-making. And no more arguments at the start of planning meetings over the integrity of the data. “Strategic finance goes from being a single-player game with maybe the finance and the C-suite to something that involves the entire business,” says Moallemi.
Mosaic can get customers stood up on its solution in two to three days, says Moallemi, unlike legacy systems where the professional services piece and time to value is on the order of months.
In mid-January, the company landed an $18.5 million Series A funding round led by General Catalyst with participation from Felicis Ventures, Village Global, and XYZ Ventures.
To help steer product development, the company has assembled an impressive list of CFOs to be on its board of advisers, including Ron Gill, the former CFO of Netsuite; Russ Jones, the former CFO of Shopify; Ken Goldman; and Ajay Vashee, the former CFO of Dropbox.
Sums up Moallemi: “We really feel like there’s an opportunity to build a really important company inside of this space that changes the way that strategic finance happens inside organizations, whether they’re a 10-person startup or a public company.”