Why is Puzzle Free for Early-Stage Founders - What's the Catch?

Sasha Orloff
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We often get asked why we make Puzzle free for formation stage companies. It starts with why Puzzle exists.

At Puzzle, our mission is to improve the financial outcomes of startups. We recognize that building a company can be difficult, stressful, confusing, and isolating, as we are also founders.

Our goal is to support founders in their success and prevent ideas from failing due to inadequate financial practices or a founder's lack of accounting or finance expertise when making critical financial decisions.

We want to support the next generation of ambitious startups, because the world needs their ingenuity, and Puzzle exists to set them up for lasting success.

Founders had 3 poor options for accounting after incorporation, and we didn't feel any of them were great.

Accounting is required for every company from the moment they are incorporated. Companies have to track every single dollar in and out. So your options were...

  1. Do nothing, and dig a hole for later. About half of first-time founders choose this.
  2. Try to be an accountant. This is harder than you think; becoming a CPA takes ~6 years. About a quarter of first-time founders choose this.
  3. Hire an accounting firm. On day one, with no revenue or funding, this can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars per month. About a quarter of first-time founders choose this.

The challenge is, ignoring obligations to the IRS (or investors) doesn’t make them go away.  It actually makes them worse.

Incorporating a company or raising capital comes with additional pressure and additional liability.  We want to make it easier for you to spend as much time building your business.

  1. After a founder incorporates, they assume the company's fiduciary liability.
  2. Accounting, tax, and compliance work never goes away, it just compounds over time. And has fines.
  3. Founders didn’t start their company to be a CPA, and shouldn’t need a CPA to get started.

So we aligned our success to your success - to be tax-ready, fundraise-ready, and compliant from day one through scale.

We are playing the long game. We want early-stage companies to succeed so they’ll pay us to support their more complex needs. We hope to earn your trust early and keep earning it as you grow and scale.

What this means is we only make money when you get bigger - are successfully filing compliant tax returns, successfully capitalized, and on your path to building an enduring company.  This means our success is tied to your success.

So how do we make money?  Our big bet is that time is money, and we save you both.

As your company grows and your business complexity grows, you will hire really talented (but expensive) finance experts. Their time is valuable as they prepare and monitor financial statements preparation, budgets, investor reporting, fundraising, taxes, and audits. But the main value is interpreting the results, not preparing the data.

That is where our automation, collaboration, and AI come into play.

We make money by letting software drive efficiencies and improve accuracy for you and your finance teams. They spend less time preparing routine, repetitive manual work, and more time improving the business. The more tasks Puzzle can handle automatically, the more you'll find it valuable.

  • At the formation stage, saving you time on just a few transactions is not very valuable. It also does not cost us much, so we try to remove any friction and make Puzzle the no-brainer solution.
  • In your first tax year, remembering and categorizing all your transactions from 16 months ago is more valuable. Here we save you days or weeks of work.
  • Getting your first venture funding means highly scrutinized financial statements quarterly or monthly, which is even more valuable. A startup pays between $10,000 and $150,000 annually, so saving you time and bringing you more accurate financials is even more valuable.
  • And when you are a scaling or public company, spending hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars for financial statements, audits, and analysis.  Saving you time and money at this stage is the most valuable.

We are so confident our product is the best solution for early stage startups, we make financials (risk) free to try.

There are no gimmicks or tricks to lock you in like our competition.  We are founders first, and so at any time, without needing to talk to a human, you can:

  • Download all your data and take it with you
  • Delete all your data anytime. (but we just ask that you're 100% sure - as there is no undo button!)
  • Port it to Quickbooks or Xero should you want (our ask is to please tell us why, so we can fix it for the next founder).

We're constantly adding new features and tweaking our pricing, but we'll always be upfront about changes. Plus, it's all opt-in. As your business grows and you want more features, you can easily upgrade—or even downgrade—at any time. Sign up for Puzzle and thank us later!

We also have compiled a free founder resource guide for you - we're rooting for you!

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Sasha Orloff
Cofounder & CEO @ Puzzle

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