February 24, 2024

The logo of the spreadsheet software Microsoft Excel is shown on the display of a smartphone.

Thomas Trutschel | Photothek | Getty Images

French business planning software startup Pigment has raised $88 million in a funding round led by ICONIQ, the private investment fund that manages the money of tech billionaires such as Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey.

Pigment is best known for its business planning and forecasting platform that’s designed to be more user-friendly than Microsoft’s spreadsheet software Excel.

The company, co-founded and helmed by dual CEOs Eleonore Crespo and Romain Niccoli, told CNBC it planned to use the funding to expand its reach in the U.S. and artificial intelligence.

Venture capital firms Felix Capital, Meritech, IVP, and FirstMark also participated in the funding round.

Pigment counts the likes of Klarna, Miro and Tommy Hilfiger owner PVH as its customers.

The company’s tools are mainly used by finance teams to plan and make financial and business decisions. As well as Microsoft, Pigment also views enterprise software tools from giants like Google, SAP and Oracle as rivals.

Crespo said that, in 2022, Pigment grew its revenues by 600% and its total user base increased tenfold — and insisted it was well positioned to compete with behemoth incumbent Microsoft.

“We not only have users in the finance team but outside of finance, and that’s super interesting for investors to hear that we are not a finance platform but a business database that can serve any business leader out there from HR to sales to marketing, to R&D [research and development],” she said.

“We are here to sell [to] any business leader. And not only that, but they have heard from their portfolio companies that we managed to serve the most forward-looking companies out there.”

Pigment also plans to use the latest influx of money to invest in the development of AI products.

It introduced a new service called Pigment AI last month, on the heels of heightened buzz surrounding AI and products like ChatGPT, which lets clients query data, identify patterns and automate analysis and reporting.

Crespo said there are no plans to increase headcount substantially and Pigment was instead looking to grow in a more sustainable way, given the pressure from investors on businesses to achieve profitability in favor of breakneck growth.

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