The Story Behind Haystack’s Investment in Finley
In college, I used to get coffee with a local investor named Tom Rutledge. Tom has a rich background in capital markets and credit origination, and he taught me a lot. Back then, he used to tell me about a thesis that was circulating in his head — as software ate the world and entered more capital intensive or asset heavy industries, tech companies of all sorts would need a debt and capital markets strategy to remain competitive. They would need better tools, integrated workflows, and domain expertise to blend the worlds of structured and equity finance.
Tom and I stayed in touch and reconnected on the subject in early 2021. During those years In between, I saw his thesis play out in real time. Companies like Brex and Ramp were scaling, providing a bevy of financial services (including corporate card programs, invoice factoring, etc.). Vertical software providers like Square and Toast used their unique relationship with their SMB customers to layer on financial services, including banking and lending. Tom mentioned to me that he had met a scrappy startup called Finley in that current YC batch, with backgrounds from Goldman Sachs, Ironclad (another Haystack portfolio company), and Nova Credit tackling the very structured finance problems he was interested in.
My colleague Semil and I connected with Jeremy, Josiah, and Kevin, hitting it off on a few topics. How previous marketplace models between borrowers and lenders had run into issues. Josiah’s experiences digitizing back-office workflow at Ironclad and what he was hoping to take with him at Finley. The parallels their model had with a company like Carta, and if they could bring similar tooling and infrastructure to the world of debt. But most importantly, how the three of them worked as a team and had a vision in mind for the company they wanted to build together. Haystack participated in Finley’s seed round led by Bain Capital Ventures in the spring of 2021.
Today, Finley announces their $17M Series A led by James Green at CRV and their exciting plans for the future ahead. Finance leaders at fintech startups use Finley to automate key workflows around credit & debt facility management, centralize all their capital markets data, and understand performance of their assets. If we rewind back to the seed pitch, the team has accomplished exactly what they said they would do (if you spend time in early stage startups, you know this doesn’t happen every time). They’ve brought on great customer partners like TripActions and Parafin. They’ve built a great team (they’re hiring btw!), and I even have other friends who work there now.
Semil and I didn’t fully understand how inefficient and how broken some of these financial management processes were before we met Jeremy, Josiah, and Kevin. The best part of our job is we get to meet people like them, and they guide us forward with products and software. It’s fun to collaborate with the Finley team, and Haystack is excited for their bright future.