By: 23 May 2024

The company will use the money to launches finance assistant 'Mary' to transform finance operations

Irish startup Numra receives €1.5m

Irish AI startup Numra, previously known as Autonifai, has announced a €1.5m funding round to introduce its AI finance assistant, “Mary,” to the market. The investment was led by Elkstone, a prominent Irish VC firm, with contributions from notable angel investors. 

The company was founded in August 2023 by David Kearney (chief executive officer) and Conor Digan (chief technology officer). Kearney, who qualified as a chartered accountant with PwC, previously co-founded Peblo, an invoice factoring fintech, which Wayflyer acquired for €10m in March 2022. Digan, who originally studied actuarial science but converted to tech after completing a masters in data science at Northwestern, has spent the last decade in startups in the US and Germany, building a wide variety of data and machine learning products for companies such as Wonder and GetYourGuide.

The team has developed an AI-powered accounts assistant named Mary, who behaves just like a real-life team member. Finance teams can train Mary on their processes, give her access to their systems, and interact with her over email, Microsoft Teams, Slack or any other chat software. Mary excels at repetitive tasks such as processing invoices, performing reconciliations, and managing collections.

Numra targets companies with large in-house finance teams and who process high volumes of transactions, such as those in the manufacturing and professional services industries. Finance teams worldwide are burdened by manual, time-consuming tasks such as data entry, reconciliations, and error investigations. These inefficiencies incur significant costs to businesses through wasted time and expensive errors and contribute to poor employee morale.

Mary improves the productivity of finance teams by 30-50%, streamlining finance operations by automating tasks such as invoice processing, 3-way matching, payments and reconciliations. She can even manage more complex tasks, such as answering vendor queries over email and performing detailed cost allocations. Users manage Mary through the Numra platform, which allows them to carry out tasks like reviews and approvals. Mary’s performance improves over time as she learns from user feedback and past transactions.

A recent Gartner report highlights a significant trend in the accounting sector: 73% of accountants have seen their workloads surge over the past three years. This increase is not without its challenges; nearly one-third of finance leaders cite staff turnover and dwindling morale as major obstacles to growth. Compounding these issues is the difficulty in staffing finance operations, with 69% of chief financial officers struggling to recruit for vacant positions, as noted by Robert Half.

Kearney anticipates that AI will have a transformative impact on the role of the accountant: “With the advent of LLMs, what was once unimaginable is now possible. AI’s capability to ingest and process vast amounts of unstructured data enables us to redefine the boundaries of productivity in the finance department. By taking on tasks that were previously too complex to automate, Mary elevates the role of finance teams and empowers them to engage in higher-value activities that require strategic thinking and creativity.”

Numra plans to use the new funding to accelerate customer acquisition in the US and to invest further in product development. “Our goal is to become the leading AI solution for accounting and finance teams,” said Kearney. “We will fundamentally transform how finance departments operate.”

“Numra is the perfect example of how Irish innovators are leveraging artificial intelligence to address the current and future challenges in sectors such as finance. At Elkstone, we are proud to be a part of Numra’s journey from such an early stage, and to support them with the launch of their AI power accounts assistant,” said Niall McEvoy, venture partner at Elkstone.

Image: Numra

Robert Welbourn
Robert Welbourn is an experienced financial writer. He has worked for a number of high street banks and trading platforms. He's also a published author and freelance writer and editor.