The origin story

A founder and a VC went for a walk around SF’s famous South Park...

How it all started

Puzzle’s founder Sasha Orloff met with Midas List investor Hemant Taneja (Stripe, Gusto, Snap, Grammarly) and Sophia Xiao in the heart of San Francisco’s famed South Park. South Park is the center of the largest and most successful venture capitalists and the largest and most successful startups - Stripe, Airbnb, Gusto, Twitter, Coinbase, Dropbox, Lyft, Square, Salesforce. Walking around South Park, you see entrepreneurs walking around with storied venture capitalists describing how they will redefine industries with new technology. You can’t help but feel the energy all around you.

While Puzzle was officially hatched in General Catalyst’s South Park office in San Francisco in 2019, but the conviction grew well before that.

“What is one of the biggest opportunities in fintech?”

When Hemant asked Sasha, it was a pretty quick answer - “it’s the fintech glue that holds fintech together. It’s the platform that enables a modern company to use the best B2B fintech software on the market, allows all decision-makers to look at the same complete picture of their company when making important decisions, and solves the gaps in today’s accounting and finance software.”

Hemant responded that every portfolio company spent time, money, and resources unsuccessfully trying to solve this problem. It was a frustration shared across founders, finance teams, and boards.

There had to be a better way.

Puzzle is what CEOs wanted.
Puzzle is what CFOs wanted.
Puzzle is what Investors wanted.

Sophia and Sasha interviewed 250 CEOs and CFOs, and the feedback was resounding - everyone bought the same 30-year-old software, and it did not solve their needs. The protectionist incumbents stopped investing in-product while the market evolved.

This was also personal for Sasha. He built his last startup from his living room to millions of customers, hundreds of employees, and raising hundreds of millions in capital. At the end of the day, what felt missing was trust in the financial data, understanding what the data meant, and using it to drive better insights for the business.

They both saw how this held back a company and their leaders back from their potential. The market was there, but the solution was missing.

From formation to IPO

The moment an entrepreneur raises money, they instantly become a CEO, a CFO, and a board member; they have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders, leadership responsibilities to their employees, and obligations to their customers. We are building a source of truth that transforms company data to financial intelligence and insights to build, grow, and improve a company, from formation to IPO.

For every ambitious entrepreneur, completely free

It would require the right team, the right capital, and the right conviction. The good news is, General Catalyst had a hatching program for ambitious ideas that don’t fit the traditional venture model. Hemant, Sophia, and Sasha shook hands, and Puzzle was “hatched.”

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