July 12, 2024

The Chief Mag

Smart Solutions for Your Business

Runway Finance enhances financial planning and budgeting with generative AI

4 min read

Accounting software startup Runway Finance Inc. has announced the launch of what it says is a more intuitive platform that leverages artificial intelligence to simplify financial planning and modeling.

Generally available starting today, Runway Finance’s platform is described as a “modern, user-friendly interface for financial modeling, headcount planning, departmental budgeting” and more besides. It comes with a heavy dose of AI, integrating a suite of intelligent capabilities called “Ambient Intelligence” that can help companies to dig deep into their finances for insights, automate workflows and more, without waiting to be prompted.

Runway explained that its platform can connect to more than 650 business tools, including all of the most widely used accounting, human resources management, customer relationship management and data warehouse platforms. In doing this, it’s able to ensure that the company’s financial records are always kept up to date. This extends to updating business forecasts with the latest actuals.

Besides keeping track of everything that matters, it also provides tools that simplify complex financial modeling processes and business planning. Users can compare different plans and expected outcomes, in order to decide upon the most optimal business strategies.

Its generative AI assistant, Runway Copilot, can help users to create and model any kind of business scenario in seconds. Users can simply type a prompt, and the copilot will generate an effective business plan based on the user’s model, integrating live data from every connected business application.

In addition, Runway can be used to create visually appealing, interactive reports that are updated in real time, so they never go out of date.

The Ambient Intelligence suite takes things even further, enabling users to better understand the context related to their finances and automatically generate useful insights. It can define the complex financial terminology used in reports, and will provide alerts when a company’s actuals deviate from their forecasts.

Users will benefit from “clear, concise explanations” for every financial driver, and the platform will also explain differences between budgets and actuals, helping employees to stay on top of how the business is performing.

Co-founder and Chief Executive Siqi Chen said financial executives and managers are under pressure to create more value and be more strategic and collaborative. “They are not only expected to understand the whole business, but they’re also bogged down by the administrative work of backward-looking reporting and controls,” he said. “With Ambient Intelligence, they can save time and focus on driving strategic impact.”

However, Runway does more than just save user’s time, providing them with a clear and intuitive understanding of how all aspects of a business work together, such as sales, marketing, product and engineering departments.

“Clear context creates alignment, enables true collaboration, and accelerates execution,” Chen said. “We built Ambient Intelligence into Runway to make finance easier to understand, enabling everyone in the organization to move forward together with clarity and speed.”


Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research Inc., said ambient intelligence refers to more advanced AI systems that go beyond just generating responses, to making “nudges and suggestions” that can aid in productivity.

“The crux of the design is to make life easier than usual, which is something that’s very rare in legacy solutions like finance.” Wang said. “Add in a layer of human collaboration, and this system not only helps users to save time and money, but also discover exponential improvements. It has taken Runway a while to ramp up, but I’m glad it’s going live.”

Runway, which has raised $33.5 million in funding to date, said it has enjoyed strong momentum over the last year, with its revenue growth increasing by more than 20 times. That’s thanks to the addition of new customers such as the email service provider Superhuman Labs Inc., investment software company AngelList Advisors LLC and the alcoholic beverages producer 818 Spirits Inc.

Those companies offered some rave reviews, describing significant efficiency gains that resulted from using Runway’s platform.

“With Runway, we saw our efficiency skyrocket with a 50X to 100X improvement, turning hours-long tasks into seconds,”said Superhuman Labs Head of Finance Andrew Maher. “Complex financial models were distilled into clear, actionable insights, making it easier to respond quickly to key executives.”

Images: SiliconANGLE/Microsoft Designer, Runway Finance

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