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Case Study

Airmeet builds out automated financial reporting and monthly forecasting with Drivetrain

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Snapshot of Airmeet

  • A premium events and experiences platform that helps create meaningful engagement & interactions to accelerate revenue and customer loyalty.
  • Launched in 2019, Airmeet raised $35M as part of their Series B funding round.

Integrations

Faster reporting & expense analysis

Automated data consolidation and rollups saves Airmeet 5+ days each month

Collaborative planning and forecasting

Cross-functional collaboration saves 4 weeks annually in integrating multiple forecasting models

Faster ROI-based decision making

Comparing plan vs. actuals for any custom metric for confident decision-making

Key Challenges Faced

Consolidation of MIS was manual, ad hoc and time-consuming

Static planning and forecasting processes

Lack of bandwidth for forward-looking analysis

Prior to Drivetrain

Consolidation of MIS data was manual, ad hoc and time-consuming

When Naga Subramanya first started working at Airmeet in 2020, the bulk of their financial operations were done on spreadsheets. His team had to manually consolidate two Quickbooks accounts in different currencies to build their financial statements.

We lost two to three working days each month in extracting data from the ledgers into Excel, analyzing the numbers and building the P&L.

We had to repeat the process every time new entries were added or changed. Just reviewing the data to ensure we had the right numbers used to take up to four hours of our time.

With bookings, billings and expense data in different systems, Airmeet’s finance team took time to get accurate, consolidated, real-time insight into their financial and business health. Cutting and pasting data from multiple data sources was prone to errors making the process unproductive.

They needed a faster way to analyze their revenue and expenses—a single source of truth to help with timely and accurate preparation of financial reports that is accessible and easy to use for the Airmeet management team.

Static planning and forecasting processes

Following Airmeet’s $35M Series B fundraise, Rajshekhar Patil, who had just joined Airmeet as their Manager of Business Finance, needed to:

  • Provide a consolidated view of plan and forecast data in one place for the stakeholders, and
  • Build multiple models to forecast revenue.

Putting together the plans and budgets involved back-and-forth with department heads on emails and spreadsheets. It involved repetitive manual data entry.

Forecasting was even more complex and time-consuming. Describing the forecasting process, Patil explained:

Our existing forecast model was based on a popular SaaS financial template. But it lacked flexibility, especially around handling renewals. And for a fast-growing dynamic startup like ours, spending weeks building new models wasn’t an option—they become outdated very quickly.

Patil, who spends a lot of time with marketing and sales teams, mentioned that every budget owner has their own way of forecasting pipeline and revenue. He needed to incorporate their forecasting models with the rest of his model to come up with a range. It didn’t help that department plans kept changing, and he didn’t have an easy way to see how they affected other numbers. There was no easy way for the finance team and their stakeholders to collaborate and make strategic, data-driven decisions.

The current process made it hard for finance to move quickly. They needed a centralized system where everyone could collaborate faster and with fewer errors.

Lack of bandwidth for forward-looking analysis

With most of the time spent on data aggregation and reporting, Airmeet didn’t have enough bandwidth to focus on forward-looking analysis and help with the management’s decision-making processes.

To support Airmeet’s decision making in its rapid growth phase, a major strategic requirement for Airmeet’s finance team was analyzing departmental spending, down to each individual sales rep against revenues, and sharing those reports with department heads to drive accountability.

Such visibility was needed to make critical decisions around identifying unprofitable areas of the business, resource allocations and headcount changes.

Key Outcomes Delivered with Drivetrain

Faster reporting & expense analysis

Collaborative planning & fast, accurate forecasting

Faster ROI-based decision-making

The Solution: How Drivetrain Helped

Faster reporting & expense analysis

Before Drivetrain, we had to spend time exporting and consolidating data across our Quickbooks accounts, multiple Excel files and Chargebee data to build our reporting.

It took us five days every month to accomplish this. With Drivetrain, the data consolidation and rollups are completely automated and available in real-time.

“The best part is we now have the same information for both financial data and business metrics visible to everyone,” said Rajshekhar. “Drivetrain has really helped speed up collaboration between stakeholders. They don’t need to wait on us (the finance team) to publish our monthly reports to make decisions or share our spreadsheet templates to input their data.”

Besides the monthly P&L book, Airmeet has added multiple financial and customized business reports such as pipeline, MRR, customer and departmental reports. Drivetrain has enabled Airmeet to get the information needed to make a decision.

“We have gone from, ‘let’s hope to get our monthly reports on time to what metric or information do we need to make a decision here?’ That’s huge and made us a strategic partner for sales and marketing,” said Naga.

Collaborative planning and fast, accurate forecasting

With accelerated data consolidation and reporting, Drivetrain freed up time for the finance team to collaborate with each budget owner, finalize budgets, and implement their forecasting models.

“Translating our models into Drivetrain was easy and quick. The Excel-type interface meant a very short learning curve for us,” said Naga.

“Drivetrain has also added a level of granularity and dimensionality to our plans and forecasts that was difficult to do on Google Sheets. We are able to adjust plan assumptions to model new scenarios quickly.”

Faster ROI-based decision making

When the management can assess the impact of investments by any combination of department, team, region, or any other dimension—i.e, compare revenue against costs—it gives them the confidence to make informed decisions.

“The Drivetrain team has really been an extension of our team here. For example, they showed us a clear way to measure ROI efficiency across departments—by individual, by team and by region. So we can more efficiently reallocate that costs and resources,” said Rajshekhar.

Airmeet built like-for-like comparisons across their sales and marketing teams, project quotas for maximum efficiency, and aligned stakeholder incentives to company goals.

We have gone from, ‘let’s hope to get our monthly reports on time to what metric or information do we need to make a decision here?’ That’s huge and made us a strategic partner for sales and marketing.

Naga Subramanya

Associate Director of Finance

Key Results

The Drivetrain Impact

  • 5+ days a month saved with Drivetrain with the automation of Airmeet’s financial reporting
  • 4 weeks a year saved in building and integrating multiple forecasting models and maintaining them
  • This has given Airmeet’s FP&A team more time for strategic analysis and making faster ROI-based decisions—thanks to less manual spreadsheet work, accurate and always available data

Crucially, Drivetrain has helped Airmeet facilitate a critical transition happening in the larger finance world. Finance teams are now more outward facing and keen to get data in the hands of the stakeholders they work with instead of an era where everyone had to reach out to Finance to know their spend information.

Drivetrain has enabled this by simplifying laborious financial consolidation and analysis for Airmeet. It has also helped them compare their actuals to budgets and forecasts in real-time—for both financial and non-financial metrics. The resulting cost and time savings have enabled Airmeet’s finance team to become a more strategic partner to the business and engage in ROI-based decisions.

The teams at Drivetrain and Airmeet continue to work together to help scale their business predictably during their rapid growth phase.

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