Drivetrain will use funds to expand its strategic finance platform and accelerate its go-to-market operations
Financial planning, monitoring and decision-making start-up Drivetrain AI Inc has raised $15 million in funding from Elevation Capital, Jungle Ventures and Venture Highway. However, the start-up did not disclose the latter's stake in the company in lieu of their investment.
Over 25 angel investors, advisors, founders and technology professionals participated in this round. These included Notion's co-founder Akshay Kothari, Sitare Foundation's founder Amit Singhal, FarEye's founder Kushal Nahata, Amit Singhal, Whatfix's co-founders Khadim Batti and Amit Sharma, Chargebee's co-founder Krish Subramanian and its vice president-finance Karthik Srinivasan.
Former Helion Advisors' co-founder Ashish Gupta, Freshworks' director of financial planning and analysis Niranjan Sivan, Browserstack's financial head Niranjan Chavan and former Freshworks' financial professional Vaidhyanathan B were also part of the funding round.
Drivetrain plans to use the funds to accelerate product development. It has trained its sights on the US market during its growth phase before exploring other regions. It will also expand its go-to-market (GTM) team and augment its existing workforce of 35 employees.
Alok Goel, a former partner at the $670 million global venture capital (VC) fund Elevation Capital, founded Drivetrain in 2021 along with Tarkeshwar Thakur and Saurav Bhagat. During his six-year stint at Elevation Capital, Goel led the VC's investments into Meesho, ShareChat, Toppr, Unacademy, FarEye, Factors.ai and other start-ups.
He also set up the VC's software as a service (SaaS) investment practice, evaluated hundreds of SaaS companies and served on many boards of digital-first start-ups. He wondered what made a company's execution predictable, how it could consistently achieve quarterly targets, and why some companies grow faster while others get stuck.
That is when he noticed a recurring pattern—better-run companies, especially those in the SaaS domain, were often well-planned and were run with data-backed decisions. However, the available tools were often legacy systems that required tedious implementations, and the other alternative was to resort to spreadsheets with several limitations and flaws.
"Many leaders manage their business plans and multimillion-dollar budgets on spreadsheets that are cumbersome and error-prone," Goel, Drivetrain's co-founder and chief executive officer, pointed out. "Gauging your business health in real-time and applying course corrections is impossible on spreadsheets."
Priya Mohan, partner at Venture Highway, which invested in Drivetrain, claimed that her company has struggled to put together Excel sheets for portfolio companies to predict revenue growth, structure the GTM plan, and understand levers that would affect revenue and margin growth.
"Spreadsheets and existing tools fail to do this in real-time," she said. "Drivetrain's scientific approach to scaling business predictably, resonated with us."
Comparing Drivetrain to Google Maps for business growth, Goel claimed that it helps companies build plans while informing their finance teams whether they are on track to achieve their targets and predictably simplifies course correction within days rather than months. This gives them a strategic advantage in a dynamic business landscape.
The start-up helps finance teams build integrated plans, budgets and forecasts, track their progress against targets and identify bottlenecks to growth. According to Gartner, only 13 per cent of companies currently identify performance issues before they hit financials, which makes timely response critical.
"Today, finance teams spend up to four weeks every quarter tracking key business metrics and generating reports for their stakeholders. You can't make decisions on such stale data. Drivetrain enables these companies to consolidate their data and get insights in near real-time. This helps them focus more on forward-looking questions during board meetings," said Deepak Gaur, partner at Elevation Capital.
Thakur, co-founder and chief technology officer at Drivetrain, added, "We have designed Drivetrain to be flexible from the ground up. Behind the scenes, the system creates a program for the business that captures all nuances. This approach centralises metric and data definitions, making versioning, sandbox and assumption inspections straightforward."
Built as a 'system of metrics' defined using simple English formulas, the platform integrates over 200 common business tools, including Salesforce, Netsuite, Quickbooks, Workday and Looker.
it enables companies to build easy-to-understand financial models simplifying business performance measurement and visualisation. The platform offers features including tracking real-time budget versus actuals, modelling what-if scenarios, and root cause analysis.
"You need a 'metrics layer' where you can simulate and implement your growth strategies, answer strategic questions like what they can do to increase revenue or reduce costs, and guide them towards more predictable outcomes. Drivetrain is delivering that today," said Arpit Beri, principal at Jungle Ventures.