The promise of data analytics technologies is that they will reveal hidden insights and value. And for the finance department, what could be more straightforward than the thousands of grids of transactions in their general ledgers? Bunker, a Singapore-based analytics startup, is announcing today the completion of a $5 million seed funding round in an effort to accelerate its development.
Shivom Sinha, co-founder, and CEO of Bunker, explains that the COVID-19 crisis was the impetus for the creation of the company. “I was working in finance for a logistics company when the pandemic struck, and we had to completely reconfigure our strategy,” he recalls. The process of delving into our financial data was so arduous that achieving this objective was extremely difficult.
That may seem surprising; if any department should be on top of the company’s statistics, it would be finance. However, Sinha observes that for contemporary businesses, thousands of entries on ledgers containing transactional data obscure the specifics of their financial performance and arrangements, necessitating time-consuming manual labor to truly delve into the data. “The process can be arduous, and it’s easy to lose sight of the story,” he says.
The Bunker solution is a cloud-based software program that integrates with clients’ current financial and enterprise resource planning systems. It was constructed with the assistance of co-founder Jibrilia Alamsjah, the chief executive officer of Proyek Beta, which Bunker obtained as it launched.
Once the application is operational, it queries the company’s financial data to generate dashboards and reports so that strategic executives can fully comprehend what’s happening at the transactional level. They can also make custom requests for analysis of a specific issue or pain point; for instance, one client used the software to identify approximately 50 vendors requiring payment within 30 days; it was then able to contact each client and negotiate extensions to 60 days to support cash flow.
Sinha adds, “Our objective is to extract every ounce of data from your system.” We wish to ensure that no stone goes unturned. Typically, he suggests, Bunker’s clients realize at least a 10% reduction in operating expenses after implementing the software.
This is a bold claim, but Bunker has been able to rapidly acquire clients. In the third quarter of last year, the company began marketing the software to medium-sized enterprises throughout the Asia-Pacific region and has since acquired approximately 40 customers.
Sinha states that Bunker’s allure is that it helps businesses close the skills divide. “Finance leaders don’t necessarily understand the fundamentals of accounting, while accountants often don’t understand how to use those numbers to tell the story of the business,” he says. In addition, you require quite technical data engineering skills to develop a useful software solution.
Sinha believes that a simple user experience is essential for consumer retention. According to Bunker, its systems can be implemented in a matter of days, and business executives can learn how to use them in a matter of minutes. Typically, the CEO and CFO are the primary users of the software when it is first implemented, he says.
Since its inception, investors have shown interest in the company, providing pre-seed funding to help it get off the ground. The investors in this most recent round of seed funding include Alpha JWC, January Capital, Northstar Group, GFC, Money Forward, and a number of entrepreneurs.
Eko Kurniadi, a partner at Alpha JWC, asserts that the platform will resonate especially with businesses attempting to contend with economic volatility and upheaval in light of ongoing macro uncertainties.
“Now is the time to focus on a bottom-up approach and for businesses to have complete visibility and control over their finances,” says Kurniadi. “Bunker would be an indispensable instrument for businesses to make better, more informed decisions. The platform provides comprehensive financial snapshots with minimal effort, allowing the finance team to invest their time where their expertise is required rather than on tedious and time-consuming tasks.”
The funding should enable Bunker to establish a fully-fledged go-to-market team, with Sinha initially targeting enterprises in Southeast Asia. “This is a borderless product,” he notes, adding that expansion into other international markets is a medium- to long-term objective.
Bunker is eager to add sophistication to its software in order to target very large enterprises in addition to the medium-sized businesses that presently make up the majority of its clientele.