It was the end of July The News in the Berlin start-up scene: Fintech Zeitgold, which is financed with more than 50 million euros, surprisingly ceases its accounting service – and dismisses 75 out of 120 employees. As recently as May, the company had received 27 million euros from investors.
The goal of the five-year-old fintech was ambitious. Using AI-based software Zeitgold wanted to end the paper economy in small businesses. Shop and catering operators deposited their invoices, reminders and documents in a box that a courier regularly picked up. The documents were digitized by Zeitgold, placed in a logical storage by algorithm and passed on to the tax advisor. The startup’s app simultaneously created a to-do list and reminded customers of payment deadlines.
The Zeitgold founders explained the “inevitable” stop to their service with high operating costs, but also with the consequences of the Corona pandemic. “Although the crisis has further increased the need for digital cooperation on the part of entrepreneurs and tax advisors, the current economic climate is also making it more difficult to continue to operate our business model,” the Fintech said in its statement. Blog With. Apparently, many customers had terminated their contracts with Zeitgold, such as the financial portal “Finance Forward” to save costs during the weeks-long lockdown.
Tax advisor chaos, deleted features, high additional costs
As founder scene research now shows, Berlin fintech also appeared to have massive problems in sales. Former clients with whom the founding scene has spoken complain about chaotic conditions at a tax consulting firm that gave them time gold. Moreover, product features once advertised by fintech were unexpectedly deleted. These grievances are said to have caused customers additional costs of up to several thousand euros.
One of those affected is Manuela Rehn. The owner of a grocery store in Berlin-Mitte became aware of Zeitgold through an advertisement on Facebook a year and a half ago, as she tells the founder scene. The startup promised to use its software to save customers ten hours of work. This is the time that small business women like Rehn usually spend per week on accounting. For the Berliner, this sounded good: “At that time, I sent my tax advisor about 50 to 60 receipts by post every week, which I could never retrieve afterwards,” she says. The pick-up service from Zeitgold combined with the smartphone app seemed to her to be the perfect solution.
But she did not save time with the service, says Rehn – on the contrary: according to her, the courier often did not appear on the scheduled day, receipts were regularly misrecorded or double-recorded by the software and occasionally even transfers to third-party bank accounts. “The absolute chaos has arisen,” says the shopkeeper.// This article is an excerpt of an extensive story on our partner site Founder Scene. Read the full article at Founder Scene Plus. //