The recent tenth anniversary of the Salesforce AppExchange took us way back to the early days. As we cast our minds back we also reflected on the birth of FinancialForce.com and how we got the company started.
We were born out of CODA, a UK, Yorkshire-based financial software specialist and we’d been monitoring the spread of cloud technology, or ‘on-demand’ as it was known then. We knew the time was right to invest and started to map out the design of what became CODA2go and later FinancialForce Accounting. A critical decision for us was the underlying platform.
Choosing the right platform
We attended a Salesforce event back in 2006 in the UK and were impressed with both the number of attendees and the company’s bold approach and attitude. We liked the platform and what it could potentially offer and did some research to find there was no competitive product offered on the AppExchange. We realised that building on an existing platform could save us around two years and it made perfect sense to us to work with Salesforce.
Jeremy Roche, still our CEO today, stood alongside Marc Benioff on stage at Dreamforce in 2007 to announce we were building CODA2go. There were around 7,000 attendees at the time, compared with last year’s 160,000+ attendees, making it now the largest software conference in the world. We had two weeks to prepare everything for Dreamforce – it was mad busy! I remember it took us just 30 minutes to come up with our first logo as time was so critical back then.
One of the first ISV contracts
We were one of the first ISV contracts on the AppExchange and negotiated this with Mike Rosenbaum, still a firm supporter of FinancialForce and sits on our board.
Very quickly after initial conversations with Salesforce we flew over to San Francisco to enter into further discussions about creating a new company. Our name of choice at the time was Finance Force, but we found out it was already taken. However, Marc Benioff had invested in all sorts of Force.com related names and agreed we could use FinancialForce.com. We set up our HQ in San Francisco, keeping our EMEA HQ in Harrogate, Yorkshire, where the majority of UK staff reside today, including a large part of our research and development team.
We worked closely with Salesforce to make some adjustments on the platform to enable our accounting app to work well.
Nerve-wracking 48 hours
We opened our doors officially as FinancialForce.com in September 2009. We had 27 people at the time, of which around 18 are still with us. The number on our website went to one of our mobiles and we were concerned the website wouldn’t stand up to the number of hits, it was a nerve wracking 48 hours! It was a very high profile launch, followed soon after by Dreamforce, which was great.
There were crazy days and long nights. We were a small company in the UK but did remarkably well in fighting our ground, and we had no set infrastructure at the time. No dedicated Finance, HR, IT. We did everything as a team ourselves. And the rest is history!
700 employees later
Now with 700+ employees, we have seven locations across the world and have received several rounds of funding. We’ve expanded our portfolio over time to cover not just cloud accounting, but a much wider range of financial management applications, plus professional services and human capital management. We continue to work closely with Salesforce, adding our own innovation to constantly improve our range of solutions as new capabilities are added onto the platform.
We enable companies to run their entire business, both front and back office functions, on the world’s number one cloud platform. Our journey to date has been filled with excitement and the growth of the company has been incredible. We most certainly look forward to our next chapter.