Detroit fintech company to double head count, open office in Austin
Detroit-based Autobooks LLC, a financial technology company that provides online invoicing, payment and accounting software for the business customers of banks and credit unions, has raised a venture capital funding round of $10 million.
Autobooks licenses its technology to financial institutions, which then make a profit by offering it to their customers. CEO Steve Robert said the company will use the funding to improve the software to meet the needs of larger banks, double its headcount over the next 12-18 months and open an office in Austin, Texas.
This funding round follows a $5.5 million round the company raised last March.
This new round includes Pittsburgh-based Draper Triangle, Chicago-based Baird Capital, Detroit Venture Partners, Detroit-based Invest Michigan and Livonia-based CU Solutions Group, a credit union service organization that is majority owned by the Lansing-based Michigan Credit Union League.
Those investors participated in the first round, too.
“I’m thrilled we were able to secure follow-on funding from all our previous investors. It’s an indication they’re satisfied with our momentum in the market,” Robert told Crain’s.
Last May, Autobooks moved its headquarters from Troy to the Madison Building in downtown Detroit, home to many of Detroit Venture Partners’ portfolio companies. Robert said the company added 12 employees in 2017 and now employs 17.
“We’ve about exhausted the space we have in the Madison Building. We’re very committed to Detroit and we’re talking to the Bedrock folks,” he said, referring to the Dan Gilbert real estate arm that owns the Madison Building and numerous other buildings downtown.
Robert said current customers are primarily community banks and credit unions. He said Autobooks will use some of its funding to target larger banks. “We want to go up market. Primarily our customers now are community banks and credit unions,” he said. “Integration costs are much higher at top 25 financial institutions. It requires customizing our software and evolving the product to expand into things like payroll and lending.”
Robert said Autobooks has one employee in Austin who works out of a co-working space. The plan is to open a dedicated office for the company there to house as many as 10 employees by the end of the year, he said.
Autobooks was founded by the founders of Troy-based Billhighway, a software company that provided integrated payment processing for associations and large not-for-profit organizations. It was bought by Naperville, Ill.-based BluePay in February 2016.
Billhighways’ three co-founders launched Autobooks in 2015. Vince Thomas remained at Billhighway. The other two left that company to run Autobooks, Robert as CEO and Aaron Schmid as COO.
Autobooks’ chief product officer is Henry Balanon, who previously co-founded Detroit Labs LLC, a portfolio company of Detroit Venture Partners that does custom app development for corporations, and later co-founded Stratos Inc. of Ann Arbor.
In 2016, Balanon was named as one of 50 people to know in IT in Michigan.
In 2012, Robert was named by Crain’s as chief information officer of the year at a company with revenue between $10 million and $100 million a year.
In 2016, Autobooks won $100,000 as runner-up at the annual Accelerate Michigan Innovation event in Detroit.