Small businesses are the backbone of economies, and over the last four-plus years, UK-based startup Fluidly has built an industry-leading platform that helps small businesses and their accountants simplify their most critical accounting and cash flow work. Fluidly provides businesses intelligent cash flow management, which Hans Morris, a managing partner and early Fluidly investor at NYCA Partners called “…an area that is long overdue for the kind of innovation that Fluidly is providing.”
Founded in 2017 by entrepreneur Caroline Plumb, Fluidly entered the fintech industry with a new approach to “intelligent cash” that applies technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and data analytics to help small businesses plan with confidence, get cash in the bank, and sleep better at night. Within its first 12 months of operation, Fluidly was working with nine of the top 20 UK accounting firms and had picked up five million GBP in funding from investors like New York-based NYCA and Octopus Ventures.
The decision to re-platform onto Google Cloud
By 2018, the team at Fluidly had grown to around 20 staff, and its customer base had grown from 300 to more than 30,000 businesses, both in the UK and across Europe. Like many successful startups, Fluidly faced the challenge of scale, and needed infrastructure that would rapidly deliver its services to more businesses. “Our previous infrastructure was fine when our product was simpler, but it couldn’t support the more sophisticated AI and ML we wanted to use,” said Mike Hancock, CTO at Fluidly.
Fluidly’s team evaluated several cloud providers and ultimately decided to replatform its entire product onto Google Cloud, enabling the company to deploy and scale rapidly with Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), and to train thousands of ML models that inform its unique forecasting solution. You can read more about why Fluidly selected Google Cloud and their initial migration here.
As Fluidly migrated to Google Cloud and scaled up with AI/ML, its teams saw deployment times go from one hour to under five minutes, ensuring its services stay online, reliable and accurate.
How the cloud enabled Fluidly to launch into the next phase of its business
Since moving its platform onto Google Cloud, Fluidly has continued to scale – now reaching more than 1,400 accounting practices and 50,000 small businesses across multiple countries. In 2021, Fluidly announced new partnerships with companies like Azets, one of the UK’s largest accounting networks, and Virgin Money, a major British bank with over three million customers. The company also works with more than 45 traditional and alternative lenders to deliver tailored funding from across the entire market.
“The need to quickly scale is an exciting challenge for any startup,“ said Johnnie Ball, Co-Founder and Chief Data Officer at Fluidly. “By delivering our products on Google Cloud, we’ve been able to quickly spin up new solutions and services that have allowed us to meet our growing customer demand.”
Fluidly has also used Google Cloud’s AI and analytics to launch new features within its platform. In January 2020, it launched a new scenario planning tool, built with BigQuery, that allows Fluidly’s users to plan for big financial decisions. From hiring staff to investing in new machinery, Fluidly’s Plan feature helps businesses and their advisers figure out if they have enough cash for a range of different situations.
In March 2020, within days of the UK lockdown, Fluidly updated Plan to help businesses forecast lost revenue and reduced cost, in response to the number of businesses impacted by the pandemic. After launching the update, month-on-month engagement with this tool increased by 75%.
Fluidly’s data capabilities play a big part in its offerings to accountants, who use its cash flow tools to start conversations and uncover insights about their clients. “As accountants we don’t have a lot of time,” said Paul Miller, Managing Director at Cornish Accounting Solutions. “By giving me a ready-made list of clients to target, I don’t have to spend ages trawling through my records. Fluidly helps me get a few rungs higher up the ladder.”
For the folks at Fluidly, moving completely to Google Cloud has given their teams the ability to experiment more when it comes to new product or feature development. Immediately after migrating, production releases accelerated from four-a-week to 36-a-day, and have since increased to 60-90 times a day.
“With Google Cloud, we have more than a technology partner,” said Mike Hancock, CTO at Fluidly. “Google Cloud helps us deliver something faster, more reliable, and able to meet our evolving requirements.”
By: Adrian Poole (ACMA CGMA, Director of Financial Services, UKI, Google Cloud)
Source: Google Cloud Blog