In a CB Insights survey of the top 20 reasons why startups fail, 29 percent of founders said running out of money led to their downfall. Being financially literate can save you from making expensive mistakes that could cost you your business. Financial literacy can help you budget properly, handle emergency expenses and take proactive steps towards long-term needs.
Intuit Circles is a personal ecosystem for startups that enables business growth and knowledge through product integration on the QuickBooks Online platform, mentorship and financial management training. Intuit Circles believes that financial literacy can improve the possibility of startup success and wants to be an ally to startups in time of their need. The programme brings together various stakeholders from the startup ecosystem across India, including investors, co-working spaces, incubators, accountants, to help startups and entrepreneurs get ahead.
One such startup is SecurelyShare, an intelligent platform for delivery of sensitive data, which is using Intuit's QuickBooks online to secure their invoice delivery process.
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Managing last-mile data security for customers
SecurelyShare was started in 2017 by Prakash Baskaran with a vision to be the global norm for communicating sensitive data in a secure, trusted and intelligent manner. An innovative technology platform, it persistently secures and encrypts files across the enterprise, on mobile devices and in the cloud. Prakash is a serial entrepreneur and his previous company Pawaa Software was acquired by Cisco in 2015.
Prakash saw potential white spaces in the industry where last-mile data security for customers was a concern. “As long as data is within the organisation's network, it is secure, but the moment data crosses that network and reaches consumers, it becomes unsecure,” he says. He realised that in today’s digital world, the way enterprises are communicating with their customers is neither safe nor convenient. “Globally there are about 15 billion statements/documents/notifications such as bank statements, health records, pay slips and invoices, among others, delivered to consumers and enterprises on a monthly basis. They are sent via email, SMS or web portals. At best, they are protected by a static password,” says Prakash.
He also understood that there was no one solution that could address security and convenience together. Apart from that, consumers did not have any control on their own data. This was an uncharted territory which motivated Prakash to address these gaps and start SecurelyShare.
The Bangalore-based company’s patented platform Vault.Direct addresses a number of these security and data sharing issues, including the problem of privacy and security around the end user data. While it is built on trust, security, privacy controls, convenience and intelligence, it is also designed to securely handle data delivery, data capture, data sharing and data analytics in a consent-driven manner. “With Vault.Direct, you can trust what you receive and control what you share,” he says. A challenge for them is that enterprises are starting to see data breaches as a threat but still consider security as something that’s “nice to have” rather than “must have”. “We hope as Chief Security Officer (CSO) roles are becoming important across organisations, the awareness levels would also spread and hence the need for Vault.Direct,” says Prakash.
A structured programme to manage invoice delivery securely
During his entrepreneurial journey, Prakash understood that financial management is an absolute must for any startup. “As a startup, we are accountable for every penny we spend. It is the most important factor in making decisions for the company and steering it in the right direction,” he says. Regulations also mandated that enterprises share data with consumers in a secure manner. SecurelyShare was looking for a structured programme which could help them validate, pilot and launch their platform, when they came across Intuit Circles on the web. They opted for integration with QuickBooks Online and are in the development phase for secure invoice delivery. “We hope to see good traction from Intuit customers once our integration is available in the QuickBooks marketplace,” says Prakash.
Intuit Circles’ offerings are two-fold; first is to help startups be financially successful through financial management training, and access to their QuickBooks Online and Accountant Online solutions. Second, to give startups an opportunity to partner with Intuit to collaboratively develop solutions for the latter’s customers by integrating their product on the QuickBooks Online platform. With over 4.2 million customers globally, this is one of the largest small business app ecosystem platforms. Today, there are more than 6,521 active apps on the QuickBooks Online platform and 634 apps are published in the QuickBooks Online Apps store.
The programme also offers the Accountant Connect offering in India, via which startups can connect with expert accountants with knowledge of the county’s startup space. These accountants will work with startups and act as their personal trusted financial advisor. In addition, participants also get an opportunity to network and be mentored by Intuit and industry leaders.
The road ahead for SecurelyShare with Intuit Circles
Going forward, SecurelyShare wants to provide a technology that is easy to use without any learning curve and remove all friction in the system. “We want to play a key role in enabling the GDPR vision: Give citizens back the control of their personal data.”
Specifically, with that large vision, they want to acquire 500,000 to 1,000,000 end users through partners. They have integrated with QuickBooks Online and aim to reach millions of their customers in the near future. Currently self-funded to the tune of $2.5 million, they are planning to raise series A funding in the near future.
Prakash recommends that startups join Intuit Circles as they provide a platform to engage with an accomplished team on mentorship, explore different areas of co-creation and develop a go-to-market opportunity. “We are happy to be part of Intuit Circles and their guidance will help us reach out to their customers to leverage the Vault.Direct and QuickBooks Online integration.” He adds, “We believe there are plenty of opportunities for Intuit and SecurelyShare to work together and co-create many new innovative solutions in the consumer finance, employee engagement, SME invoice processing space, among others.”
Watch how Intuit Circles helped SecurelyShare sync with QuickBooks Online to create a secure invoice delivery system.
Like SecurelyShare, you too can scale your business quickly with the help of Intuit Circles. If you are a startup looking to get financially successful or with a product solution that can integrate with QuickBooks Online, click here to apply for the programme.