The Money Finder has found money.

The Money Finder, the Halifax startup that helps financial advisers plan cash flow for their clients, has landed $1.75 million in venture capital financing from Build Ventures and Innovacorp.

Innovacorp invested $250,000 in the firm in September. And on Tuesday night, the startup closed a $1.5-million equity financing round with Build Ventures, the Atlantic Canadian regional venture capital round. Build Ventures Partner Rob Barbara will join the company’s board.

“This means everything because we’ve bootstrapped this company from nothing,” founder and CEO Stephanie Holmes-Winton said in an interview. “The cost of bootstrapping when you’re not a technical CEO is enormous. . . . This investment will allow us to hire senior technical people in the region, and to foster the junior people.”

Bootstrapping is startup jargon for bringing technology to market before you’ve raised money from external investors, and Holmes-Winton has proven herself really good at it.

A career financial planner, she devised her own financial planning system, and found a group that would build the software in return for equity. Rather than sell the product directly to big financial corporations, she sold it to financial planners, because that was the fastest way to bring in money. Until last June, all the staff worked from home. Holmes-Winton herself oversaw sales, and The Money Finder is now used by 300 financial planners across the country.

“We generated a million dollars in annual recurring revenue before we raised a dime of capital,” chief financial officer Kathy Doucette said.

The company has developed an educational program and related software that help financial advisers to devise plans for their clients that ensure they have a proper cash flow in their retirement. Most financial planning strategies aim to help individuals to build up a pot of money, which can be used for income in old age. But The Money Finder assesses spending, debt and human behavior, and produces a plan that ensures a predictable cash flow for the retiree.

The Money Finder, which now has a full-time staff of 16 people, plans to use the money to build up its development team so it can develop an enterprise solution. That is a product powerful enough that it can be sold to a corporation, which can distribute it to its own financial analysts. Two smaller finance companies are already in line to pilot the product.

The development team so far has comprised five more junior developers. It now is recruiting a vice-president of software engineering, to take the lead on the enterprise project.

Holmes-Winton has been distracted from selling while she’s been raising capital, but will now oversee strategic growth, which will focus on enterprise sales.

And she has already begun to court investors for an A Round — a venture capital round generally considered to be worth $4 million or more. More capital will be needed to roll out the enterprise product to major corporations.

Said Doucette: “We’re hoping to be in Series A in a year’s time.”


(Disclaimer: Innovacorp and Build Ventures are both clients of Entrevestor.)