On the surface, Capdesk solves a single area for growing businesses: equity management. Time and again, however, we hear about the ripple effect removing this paint point has on startups’ wider operations. From finance teams to people departments, Capdesk users swap inefficient manual processes for digitisation, automation and peace of mind. In a recent conversation with Reece Howe of Signal AI, we were delighted to learn his experience was much the same.
Signal AI is a London-based scale-up that uses data insights to help businesses make smart decisions, so it’s only right the company’s own data is in order. Moving to Capdesk in 2019 turned Signal AI’s unwieldy cap table into a robust, reliable source of information. We found out more about the transformation from Reece, Signal AI’s VP of Finance.
Every problem has a solution
When Reece realised Signal AI needed a platform that functioned more effectively than spreadsheets and free software, he reached out to Capdesk. “The free software wasn’t a viable long-term solution. It didn’t have the right amount of flexibility to log all our transactions from day one or sufficient investment into it to be as useful as we needed.”
One of the benefits of upgrading to Capdesk was gaining access to a team of expert advisors. Reece recalled how well-equipped the onboarding analysts were in handling Signal AI’s complex cap table:
“It was an incredibly useful and thorough exercise working with the onboarding team. With convertible loan notes, share options, share divisions and renaming share classes packed into our cap table, there was a huge amount to factor in. It only took a few weeks to transfer all of it onto Capdesk.”
Time may be free but it’s priceless
All 170 employees at Signal AI – along with many former employees – hold options or shares in the business. Reece praised Capdesk’s ability to streamline issuing large quantities of option agreements every year and reflected on the significant time saved in the process.
“For every 100 share certificates issued,” he explained, “Capdesk saves us between 60 and 80 hours of work. Handling share option contracts manually, printing documents and waiting for physical signatures can take months. Now, we have a system that allows us to issue share options at high volume and get them signed digitally.”
Swapping physical option contracts for Capdesk’s paperless solution has also helped Signal AI’s employees to manage and track their options effortlessly with minimal input from Reece.
“Now, employees can log in to the system themselves which is definitely preferable to using the finance and people teams to search through stacks of paperwork. When we get queries about how many share options someone has or where their share option agreement is, we can just point them in the direction of Capdesk.”
Having noticed time savings across several different areas of equity management, Reece commended Capdesk’s dedication to ongoing innovation and development of the product.
“When Capdesk introduced Companies House forms to the platform, it helped us move a process we used to outsource in-house. Providing new functionality and features has saved us more time and more money.”
The greatest ability is reliability
Lastly, Reece told us how Capdesk has helped Signal AI turn time-intensive funding rounds and due diligence into more efficient processes. As a scaling business, Signal AI is regularly in conversation with investors and without the right system in place, Reece admitted “there’s always a risk that your cap table is inaccurate or you’ve issued more share options than you should.”
Now, however, Reece can be certain of an accurate cap table. “Signal AI’s been through a number of funding rounds over the years, so having everything documented in a single place is invaluable. I can easily hand over a bunch of information that shows the entire history of our cap table.”