YC posted a list of top alumni companies by valuation, as of October 2018. You can see the full list at https://ycombinator.com/topcompanies.
Here’s a Q&A with Jessica Mah, the founder of inDinero, one of the companies featured on the list.
What does inDinero do?
Accounting/tax software for businesses. We help run the back-office operations for businesses and replace old-school bookkeepers and tax professionals.
How many employees does inDinero have?
How many founders?
What is your most impressive recent product milestone?
We just released a way to file R&D tax credits for businesses — which will help R&D focused businesses get up to $250,000 back from the IRS each year.
What is the larger impact / societal impact of your product in the space you work within?
Our belief is that by helping entrepreneurs have a better eye on their finances, they’re far more likely to build a sustainable business and be successful. By making accounting easy for a business, we’re giving them the time and space needed to build a truly amazing business.
What’s an interesting element of inDinero’s company culture?
We have a pen pal program between our many offices. We have employees in New York City writing physical letters back and forth with folks in our Philippines office.
Looking back, what motivated you to start inDinero?
I wanted to help other entrepreneurs. I had the pain of accounting and taxes in my last business and felt that I could create a solution to solve the problems I had there. I hated working with an old-school bookkeeper and having clunky, traditional accounting software. I wanted a modern solution and realized that nobody had created this yet.
Is what you’re working on now the original idea or did you pivot?
We did pivot. We were originally a “Mint.com for Businesses” and it ended up not working out because it wasn’t solving a true problem. I interviewed dozens of our customers and based on their feedback, pivoted into what inDinero is doing today.
Were there moments where you thought the company might die? Describe one of those and anything you learned from it.
I thought the company was going to die in 2012 — we had 50,000 businesses signed up, negligible revenue, and no VCs would fund our Series A. I had to lay off every employee and go back to the drawing board.
What was a particularly important insight you had about your market that made your product work?
I realized that my customers preferred to have a one-stop-shop solution, with bill pay and employee reimbursements, and all these other important features, built directly into inDinero. Even if it is an 80% solution, it’s better than having to plug into 3rd party partners for most of these key features. I figured this out simply by talking to my customers in the early days.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with a young founder?
Build a strong community of fellow founders around you, because you’re in for a very long and potentially lonely ride if you don’t! I’m proud to have built a strong community of 100+ badass female founders in SF and NYC, and they give me confidence and inspiration when I need it most.