How SaaS product TOPPEQ is helping VCs and startups break down financial information
In a world where data is a commodity, the time spent not analysing and taking action on the data is as good as money out of the bank. In the startup ecosystem, both companies and VCs need data to gauge the overall health and standing of a market – locally and internationally, draw up investment profiles, and break down their operations, among other things.
TOPPEQ, a Mumbai-based startup, helps VCs and other startups understand their data better by providing real-time, accurate, and helpful analysis that can significantly enhance their quality and speed of making potentially life-saving decisions. In short it a tech based equity management platform.
Founded by Nandini Sankar in 2019, TOPPEQ’s cloud-based platform plugs into an investor's workflow, and helps digitise and decode data generated by the fund’s portfolio companies into chunks that can speed-up the decision-making process, and consequently, the outcomes.
For startups, it helps calculate their cash burn-rate in real-time, and ensures their cap table is up to date.
TOPPEQ mostly targets the pre-IPO market, which means venture capitalists, startups, lawyers, auditors, and merchant bankers who assist in funding transactions can benefit from the platform.
Nandini’s expertise in technology and finance, which she has honed over the last two decades, helped her define the company’s mission and vision. She started her career working with Connecticut-based hedge fund, Long Term Capital Management, in 1997, and had a front-row seat to the unravelling of the $4 billion hedge fund – an experience she describes as baptism by fire, when it comes to managing liquidity.
In 2000, she joined New York-based hedge fund administrator, GlobeOp, as one of its founding employees.
"I moved to India in 2003 as the president and chief operating officer of GlobeOp's Indian operations, and went on to head its APAC operations after GlobeOp was acquired for $900 million by fintech major, SS&C, in 2012. I continued my startup journey with OKGita, a pension plan for domestic workers, in 2017. I continue to be involved with OKGita even as I set sail with TOPPEQ," she quips.
TOPPEQ digitises and decodes a company’s capitalisation table and cash flows, and throws up the real-time impact of decisions on future cash flows using conversational AI and shareholder agreements. The app provides VCs and entrepreneurs instant access to their investment metrics and cash runway since it stores most of the data on the cloud.
The startup's machine-learning algorithms and decision support systems provide investors with both granularity and the big picture, and helps startups to find out what they are spending their money on, and what it is doing for them.
TOPPEQ also provides services such as cash flow management, cap table management, and due diligence, all done by using technology.
The startup is currently strengthening its MVP (minimum viable product), but has on-boarded two clients already. It has also signed on 12 more companies, including major private equity players, as well as other startups.
The MVP will be offered free for the first six months,and at discounted rates thereafter. The beta is slated for launch in the second quarter of the year.
TOPPEQ is bootstrapped, with $1 million invested by the founder.
"For now we are adequately funded. We aim to raise an institutional round by the end of this year, coinciding with our global launch, for our expansion," says Nandini.
Market for data-tech in India
In India, there is still resistance to digitisation of data, which is not the case in the Westwhere platforms such as TOPPEQ have been readily accepted. That has been a recurring challenge for the startup, says Nandini, but adds that platforms such as TOPPEQ make a difference when new relationships are being forged.
“You earn a VC's trust if your data and processes are in order and can be shared digitally.”
TOPPEQ’s log-in and professional services, including legal and corporate secretarial support, are based on a subscription model.
”Online cap tables are extremely popular in the West, and India is waking up to the benefits it delivers. While the market in the western world is ripe for a product like ours, we’ve taken on the challenge to change the current mindset amongst the Indian stakeholders," says Nandini.
She aspires to capture at least 5 percent of the startup ecosystem in India, and be in the top consideration set in markets such asthe US and Europe.
The global private equity companies manage assets worth nearly $4 trillion, and that is the industry the startup wants to go after.
The founder expects TOPPEQ’s log-in to be purchased mostly by fund managers and VCs, but the same product can be used by portfolio companies, as well as legal firms and auditors, who service these startups. This network effect creates an exponential growth path for the company, which is currently in the pre-revenue stage.
Speaking about the coronavirus pandemic and the state of the economy now, Nandini says this is an inflection point for firms such as hers, which champion digitisation and transparency, and focus on real-time information to help make decisions.
Edited by Aparajita Saxena