We caught up with Caroline Plumb OBE, serial entrepreneur and founder of Fluidly, to talk about her latest venture and how it’s helping start-ups manage their cashflow…
Tell us about Fluidly
I founded Fluidly back in October of 2016 with the aim of helping business owners sleep more soundly by providing certainty and peace of mind over finances.
Fluidly’s Intelligent Cashflow software produces cashflow forecasts in minutes, enabling businesses to plan ahead with confidence, find relevant funding products when they need it, and boost their bank account. It works with hundreds of accounting practices and tens of thousands of connected businesses.
We’re thrilled to have won multiple industry awards including Xero Practice App of the Year, as well as both Innovation of the Year and Forecasting, Planning & Analysis Software of the Year at the Accounting Excellence Awards. Alongside that the company has been recognised as a leading fintech and was listed in WIRED’s Top 100 Hottest European Startups.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
I started my first business, FreshMinds, back in 2000 when I was just 21. The company started out matching undergraduates and MBA students to short-term project work and quickly morphed into a recruitment firm and insight and innovation consultancy.
Whilst running FreshMinds, I learned what a headache it is to chase debtors for payments, manually forecast cashflow and constantly wonder what next month’s bank balance will be. By 2015, I was ready for my next challenge and set in motion the process of setting up Fluidly, in order to address these issues and create a solution to a problem I had first-hand experience of. After all, 80% of small business failure is due to cashflow issues.
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How has the need for Fluidly evolved during the pandemic?
Just before the pandemic hit, Fluidly published some worrying statistics which revealed that in January 2020, over one million SME businesses were on the brink of survival as close to one in five had fallen into their overdraft.
With the pandemic bringing further hardship to SMEs across the UK, Fluidly added end-to-end funding tools to its cashflow management solution, offering pre-qualified funding options to millions of businesses within minutes. We added a scenario planning feature, which helps businesses and their advisers plan for lost revenue or a change to their operating costs and offered a dedicated broker service to provide specialist advice in a compliant, low touch way.
During Covid-19, 65% of scenario plans created in Fluidly were about survival, but as the economy recovers businesses will look to invest in growth. This is where funding comes in and why we added the relevant tools that provide accountants with everything they need to help clients secure the finance they need to grow again.
In addition to this, I have also been providing regular ‘how to’ style updates, offering advice to business owners. I’ve advised on how to make the bounce back loan go further for a business, how to deal with tricky commercial landlords and regular commentary on where there are gaps in government support for businesses and their hard-hit owners.
What can we hope to see from Fluidly in the future?
At Fluidly, we’re just getting started! To date, we’ve helped over 30,000 businesses, worked with over 500 accounting partners and facilitated millions in funding solutions.
We’ve expanded our offering to include funding, which is the natural progression to cashflow and we will continue to show businesses that they can change their finances forever. Soon, businesses will look back and wonder how they ever managed with just a spreadsheet, as they can’t tell you what to do next, or give you the tools to do it. We will continue to answer the three fundamental questions business owners need to know when it comes to cashflow: What? So what? And now what?
To find out more visit: https://fluidly.com/