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Founder profile: Cornel Fugaru

Bianca Iulia Simion

Founder profile: Cornel Fugaru
The co-founder of Cassa is determined to bring a unique experience to the business and accounting environment.

In his business & professional experience, Cornel Fugaru has developed a solid background in sales and in business & tech-start-up development. Having a clear vision and being technology-driven, Cornel is determined to bring unique experiences to the business environment and the accounting industry.

SB: What is Cassa? Why the idea of digitizing communication between entrepreneurs and accountants?

CF: Cassa is a SaaS-type solution, which aims to bring the concept of online accounting into all accounting firms and internal accounting departments, thus simplifying the relations between accountants and entrepreneurs. The idea was born in 2018 when, together with my partner Daniel Teodoroiu, we were keen to solve the disordered flow of documents between the accountant and the entrepreneur.

Gradually, we have reached the conclusion we should develop an entire document management system. We later realized that digital communication inside a unique platform would be much more effective. This led to adding new functionalities such as electronic archiving, OCR, invoicing, financial reports or corporate checks. The features that often intersect the activities of the accountant and the entrepreneur are now placed under the same platform.

You started this year (2020). What is the current state of the project, and what plans do you have for the future? How many users do you have and what is the feedback from the market?

CF: We took it step by step. At the beginning of 2020, we had a small promotional campaign through which we won 250 early adopters who helped us validate the product, and receive valuable feedback and ideas for new features. Now we have more than 500 users in total, and half of them already paying. Feedback is excellent and gives us the confidence that we will achieve our goals and close 2021 with more than 15.000 users and quickly reach the threshold of €500.000 revenue.

What challenges have you encountered during the process of developing this platform? Do you think there are high risks of failure or, on the contrary, a good chance of success?

CF: One of the biggest challenges was to find that common denominator between the accountant and the entrepreneur so that the relationship is as efficient as possible. As in any other business, at Cassa, we are aware of the presence of some low-level risks. We need to focus on the product and the market, take the best decisions and work hard to improve the product. This project is already demonstrating its effectiveness, and we firmly believe that it will be a great success.

What is your primary challenge at the moment?

CF: As with any business, we also face several challenges. In long term, the biggest challenge is to conquer the European market. Until we reach this goal, however, we face the local system's shortcomings: users' discomfort to try something new, assembling a team of professionals, and to maintain the standard of quality. However, we trust that these are only steps, and they give us the energy to push forward.

What is your risk assessment based on?

CF: We are strictly relying on performance statistics and user feedback. Accountants tell us they are much more efficient since they communicate with all customers on the same platform, without being disturbed by email or phone. On the other hand, entrepreneurs have access to all financial documents with one click and they became much more efficient since they got monthly reports at their fingertips – it is enough to search for a keyword, like in Google.

How do you see your product development strategy?

CF: What a good question! Our initial application development strategy focused on simplifying and streamlining work processes. OCR technology is one of the main elements of this strategy.

Cassa has already demonstrated its efficiency for accounting firms. Now, the time has come to extend the product to corporations and multinationals, who have accounting departments. We are sure that we will simplify many processes there, too. Accounting is mathematics – the language is universal everywhere and works the same. When we get user feedback, we know what features deserve to be developed further or where is still room for improvement.

Do you have unicorn ambitions or regional ambitions?

CF: We are ambitious, mainly because we have the encouragement of our users. Of course, we dream about having great success but, at the same time, we remain realistic and focus on gradually achieving our goals. One of these is to get a regional presence, to begin with.

Will you have support in regional scaling? What do you rely on?

CF: We already have a substantial and influential investor (we may not disclose its name for confidentiality reasons). The support of one of the largest corporations at a national level, which has the regional experience, encourages us very much.

We have a development model from which we can start, but also financial support. Cassa has excellent chances of growth and the fact that these chances are not seen only by us, gives us even more confidence that we are on the right track.

We are aware that scaling regionally involves many efforts, including financial ones. This is why we want right from the start to build a professional team, to have a stable product, to conquer the Romanian market and only then move toward Europe.

How do you think you can convince potential customers from other geographical areas of the benefits of Cassa?

CF: Firstly, Cassa is not a product that intersects with any country's laws, which gives us implementation freedom and allows us to communicate quickly the benefits of using our software.

Then, we have enough capacity to implement software improvements and adaptations for different regions.

What is different about Cassa compared to other accounting platforms?

CF: I’d like to clarify something that has often been misunderstood: Cassa is not an accounting software, nor does it require accountants to change the software they’re accustomed to. Cassa incorporates the functions of multiple software applications and has a much broader scope of use.

Cassa does not focus on a particular accounting process, but on simplifying financial procedures in general and making communication with SMEs, invoicing and reporting, more efficient. This is one of the main differentiators. Other accounting platforms do not offer a standard solution for entrepreneurs, as well.

What trends do you feel the software solutions market is bringing to businesses in the coming years?

CF: It is clear that, increasingly, new digital solutions are emerging for any activity. These software solutions must solve a real problem in the market. Cassa started from the need for efficiency, first of all. We have managed to bring more transparency into the work of accountants and to allow access to the financial documents for the entrepreneur. This is an enormous change for the better.

Thank you, Cornel, for this discussion. To conclude, we invite you to send a message to investors.

CF: First of all, I would like to thank those who have shown an interest in our project so far. Cassa has many possibilities for expansion and enhancement. All you see now in the early phase of the project already has hundreds of users and no negative reviews!

Secondly, we assure them that such a project has enormous opportunities for growth, income and success. Why? Because accounting is the engine behind any business; any business, big or small, needs a well-established financial system. Accounting is everywhere, in any field. The presence of a lead investor in the Cassa project provides certainty for the investment and confirms its path to success.

We are confident in what we do, and we are realistic about what we want.

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