Startup Stories – PULSE AI

PulseAI is Pushing the Boundaries of Data Analytics & Education  

For 8 years, Nicholas Ponari found himself continuously using the same formulas, spreadsheets, and approach to financial management. Being an angel investor in numerous companies, he decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Financial Innovation and Technology, aiming to assume the responsibility of managing accounting matters for the startups within his investment portfolio.

While doing the job, he wondered if there was a way to bring this kind of expertise to more businesses, at scale and at a reasonable price for startups’ founders. Having caught the entrepreneurial spirit from the startups he was working with, Nicholas couldn’t resist taking the leap to try something new for himself.

He began building out his idea in the summer of 2022, chatting with founders and other investors to understand their pain points when it comes to their accounting practices and financial management systems. He paired up with Andrew Yas, a financial guru and MBA classmate, and Matteo Mortelliti, a software engineer in the fintech space, and began working on the software. In May 2023, PulseAI was officially incorporated and introduced to the world with the purpose of becoming a virtual CFO to help founders master their internal financial management.

Since launching, the traction they’ve received has surpassed their expectations, with a waitlist of 200+ customers.

Finance for Every Person

The concept was simple: founders are usually experts in their field, passionate, and full of amazing ideas for their business – but there’s a gap in their financial knowledge. Nicholas explains:

“The gap I’m trying to fill is– can I give that engineer, that scientist, that hairdresser, plumber, HVAC technician, chef– can I give them the confidence to understand, manage their money, and make the best business decisions possible? Can I empower that person who didn’t go to business school, to handle their money as if they had?

        – Nicholas Ponari, Founder, PulseAI

PulseAI is strategically designed as a financial instrument, setting it apart from certain competitors by also serving as an educational resource. Using custom-built AI, users have the ability to inquire about a comprehensive range of financial queries, empowering them to understand their own financials.

Taking a Scientific Approach

The vision for PulseAI doesn’t stop at financial empowerment. In fact, Nicholas is bringing PhDs, professors, and AI advisors onto the team in order to help the company to keep pushing boundaries. He explains “I wanted to build something that was scientific.” The company is taking an academic approach by continuing their research and building their AI models from scratch. With this research, they’re hoping to not only achieve a competitive advantage for their own business, but push the field of AI as it pertains to its use-case in financial planning and analysis.. Their goal is to publish all their research and make it accessible to all.

What’s Next?

Now that the software is ready, the PulseAI pilot is in full swing with 20 companies from Nicolas’s personal portfolio of companies that he’s invested in and founders he is close to or has mentored actually onboarded and using the platform. The focus, moving forward, is heavily geared towards quality assurance (QA) – carefully reviewing data and working closely with clients to ensure the product is the best it can be. Following a successful QA period, they intend to focus on sales and growth, expanding the company as much as possible.

As the company continues to grow, Nicholas hopes to put an emphasis on company culture, encouraging risk taking and entrepreneurship.

Fintech Cadence x PulseAI

As a Fintech Cadence mentor for 3 years, Nicholas was familiar with the programs, and when he launched PulseAI, he chose specifically the Ascension program. Nicholas explained:

“Having the Fintech Cadence support system was a huge, integral role to having those small victories, giving me the right connections, pairing me with the right people, refining my business plan to a point where I was confident with it.”

  • If you want to learn more about Fintech Cadence, click here.
  • If you want to learn more about PulseAI & stay updated on their progress, click here.

Interview by Skyla Valade