February 8, 2024

“We want to be predators, not prey”: French fintech Pennylane raises €40m for M&A

The accounting software sees its valuation double to €1bn with this latest round of funding

Paris-based accounting platform Pennylane has raised a €40m Series C that brings the company’s valuation to €1bn — the first French startup to join the unicorn club this year amid a shaky market for fintechs.

The all-equity round was led by UK investor DST Global with participation from US VC giant Sequoia Capital, both historical backers of the company.

The funds will largely be used to finance acquisitions as the company looks to expand its technology and services portfolio. 


This will support Pennylane’s efforts to develop new features within its platform, which helps accountants and enterprises keep track of financial transactions such as spending and sales. 

What does Pennylane do?

The startup has built a platform that’s designed to improve workflows between enterprises and accountants.

“Right now, if you are an enterprise, you carry out accounting management on your end with your own tools, and you send it to your accountant every month on Dropbox,” says Arthur Waller, Pennylane’s CEO. “Then, what they do with that data doesn’t show in your systems. The only way to communicate is by email — it’s a complete black box.”

The company’s software centralises data — such as invoices, tax returns or financial statements — in real time in one platform that’s shared by both enterprises and accountants.

To acquire customers, Pennylane strategically targets accountants, who pay for the software and often convince their own clients to also integrate the platform, generating additional revenue for the company. 

Over the past two years, Pennylane has seen customer numbers grow 40-fold to reach 135k SMBs and two thousand accountancy firms. Waller says that 95% of new enterprise customers have come from accountants.

“Predators, not prey”

The company doesn’t share its ARR but says that it has multiplied it by 25 in the last two years and that it’s planning to be profitable in the next 12-18 months.

“We’re in a must-have market and not a nice-to-have, unlike other fintechs,” says Waller. “In fintech, all markets are not equal… There are only two things that all companies need — accounting and banking.”

For Pennylane, the current challenges in the fintech market also mean that many opportunities to acquire competitors are likely to arise. 

“What was at stake [with this Series C] was to have cash to do M&A,” says Waller. “We have actors in front of us who have the money to acquire and we want to fight on equal terms.”


“We want to be predators, not prey.” 

Pennylane says that it’s exploring the potential to add new services to its software thanks to generative AI — looking at how the technology could power a chatbot tailored for accountants, enabling users to quickly retrieve financial data in the platform.   

Norwegian enterprise software company Visma, which offers similar services to Pennylane, recently announced that it had an M&A budget of over €1bn. Earlier this year, it bought French automated accounting business Chaintrust — its second acquisition in the country in two years.

A European player

Pennylane is only present in France and has no plans to expand to other countries in the immediate future.

In the longer term, Pennylane intends to provide its services in other countries in continental Europe. These are countries, says Waller, where the company’s biggest competitors, such as US finance platform Intuit, haven’t been able to become major players. 

“There is an entry barrier in continental Europe because our accounting is so complicated that UK and US companies haven’t been able to establish themselves,” says Waller. 

Silicon Valley-HQ’d Intuit, for example, pulled out of France at the end of last year.

“We think the market is huge and that there is a huge opportunity to be a player in continental Europe,” says Waller.

Daphné Leprince-Ringuet

Daphné Leprince-Ringuet is a reporter for Sifted based in Paris and covering French tech. You can find her on X and LinkedIn