Fluence acquires SaaS startup Sturnis365 to expand European presence

Michael Morrison, Fluence CEO. Source Fluence.
Fluence’s second acquisition in six months gives the startup an end-to-end accounting solution.

Following its acquisition of United Kingdom-based XLCubed in 2021, FinTech startup Fluence Technologies continues to build its international presence. Fluence announced that it has acquired Milan, Italy-based SaaS startup Sturnis365.

With the acquisition, Fluence continues to build out its end-to-end group accounting solutions. Sturnis365 offers collaborative creation, publication and disclosure of corporate information. The latter includes annual and periodical corporate reports, sustainability and ESG reporting, compliance and risk reporting, and procurement and tax disclosures.

Fluence is not disclosing the terms of the deal, which closed on June 30.

Fluence claims the acquisition will enable the startup to expand its target market to public, pre-IPO, and other regulated companies with regional and industry-specific disclosure requirements. The startup also claims the acquisition will help it meet the growing demand for narrative reporting such as board, private investor and ESG (sustainability) reports, and will chop 90 percent off the time it takes to produce annual reports and other narrative reports.

Michael Morrison, Fluence’s CEO, told BetaKit that the acquisition adds an important “last mile of reporting” component to Fluence’s consolidation, close, and reporting solution.

“With Sturnis365 we’re the only vendor to offer controllers, chief accounting officers and other finance leaders a modern, pure-play and end-to-end solution spanning account reconciliation, consolidations, financial and integrated reporting and disclosure management,” Morrison claimed.

According to Morrison, the deal adds two important extensions to Fluence’s existing solution. One is statutory or regulatory reporting for publicly traded or regulated companies, with the other being broader narrative reporting. He defined the latter as any collaborative report involving multiple data sources, commentary and text elements, and contributors/approvers) for any high-growth company. These include board books, management reports, investor slide decks, and annual reports.

“Acquiring Sturnis365 continues building on the vision of a complete financial corporate performance management suite that Michael Morrison [CEO of Fluence] and our team had when we originally invested in Fluence,” said Stephen Davis, managing partner at Banneker Partners, Fluence’s principal investor. Fluence raised $12.5 million CAD in Series A funding from Banneker Partners in 2021.

Founded in 2018, Sturnis365 serves dozens of public, private and pre-IPO customers across Europe including AB InBev, Enel Group, Rothschild & Co., Bouygues Group, Ferragamo and KBC Bank, according to Fluence.

Morrison said that Sturnis365 will strengthen Fluence’s European position, which is where 70 percent of Sturnis365’s customers and partners are based.

Didier Katz, co-founder and director at Sturnis365, will join Fluence’s leadership team, as will his co-founders Marco Mattei and Piero Ferreri. The Sturnis365 product development, services, and sales and marketing teams also join Fluence. Altogether, 10 people will join Fluence bringing the startup’s headcount to 85.

While Sturnis365 will continue to operate on its own, it will also work under the name of Fluence Disclosure Management for public or regulated companies needing a disclosure management or narrative reporting solution.

Fluence said with Sturnis365 it has already secured some joint customers, including cryptocurrency trading platform startup, WonderFi.

Many notable mergers and acquisitions have taken place in the accounting space in the last year. Relatively recent deals include accounting platform startup Hubdoc’s co-founders Jamie McDonald and Jamie Shulman joining New Zealand’s A2X Accounting in 2021 to help scale it to Shopify size; and FreshBooks’ 2021 acquisition of Germany-based FastBill, a cloud accounting and invoicing software firm.

Another New Zealand-based accounting platform, Xero, acquired Calgary tax preparation software startup TaxCycle in 2021 for $75 million CAD. And remember Hubdoc? Xero acquired that startup in 2018 for $90 million CAD.

Morrison noted that in the last three quarters, billions of dollars in acquisitions have been spent on the part of companies, including Prophix, insightsoftware, Workday, Blackline and more in the areas of consolidation, reporting, budgeting, planning, and other solutions for the office for finance.

BDO Global characterizes the current SaaS market for M&A as hot, and noted in a report: “Vertical SaaS companies are excellently positioned to capitalise on increased customer demand – especially in sectors with strict legislation, unusual production cycles and other specific or niche requirements. Industry-tailored solutions that are in full compliance with the rules and regulations in any given space are among the unique selling points.”

Fluence understands that trend. Said Morrison: “This is our second acquisition in a little over six months, a sign of both our ambitious growth strategy and of the need for solutions like ours for finance departments at growing companies in North America and Europe.”

Feature image illustration courtesy of Fluence.

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel's reporting and writing on technology has appeared in Wired.com, Canadian Business, Report on Business Magazine, Canada's National Observer, The Globe and Mail, and the National Post, among many others. He lives off-grid in Nova Scotia.

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