Predictions from the Leapfin virtual cocktail event: it's all about real-time data

Uri Kogan

Last week, 150 finance systems and finance leaders joined us for a Leapfin virtual cocktail event, learned to mix some drinks, and heard amazing toasts and insights for 2023 from Sagar Sanghvi of Accel, Lisa Arteca of Grove Collaborative, and Jason Berwanger of Lower.

We’ll share the full video soon so you can make a couple amazing cocktails yourself at home, but for today we’re sharing Jason’s toast for our community in 2023 for real-time data.

Jason shook things up to start by making a slightly controversial statement: historical data really is no longer predictive of future results.

Jason leads data and systems at Lower, and here’s what he said about 2022:

I just spent a disproportionate amount of my time just trying to keep up with a number of  industry changes in our FinTech space, our mortgage tech real estate. And honestly, revenue started getting hit hard in January. A lot of our customer acquisition costs and our unit economics came in wildly different than we expected.

And everyone thought January was a fluke and it became obvious pretty quickly that a lot of these lagging P&L metrics and ways we did things just weren't gonna cut it. And really by the end of Q1 we really started to try to vary our analytical approach and really try to predict in different ways to figure out how to expect different financial results.

And everybody on this call probably has seen this, but there's just been a record number of reforecasts and revised hiring plans. And so it doesn't feel as controversial to say that historical data and a lot of those forecasting processes, really haven't worked this year. And they may not work in the short term.

But ultimately we, we just have the impossible task of trying to figure out what was gonna happen next with some antiquated things that just weren't working and needed to pivot. So in Q2 that's really when we took our tech stack and our data and we put it to work. We rebuilt and made a much more robust data infrastructure.

And one of the things we were going after is real-time revenue and real-time gross profit calculations. Because we just we needed to be informed with constant business changes. Every Fed announcement. The customers that came in for the first half of the day looked a lot different than the customers in the second half of the day.

And our data warehouse and our data engineers did a phenomenal job, but I will say it put a ton of strain on our tech stack because those tech stacks weren't built for intraday and realtime revenue information that we needed. Now we got the job done and we got a lot better.

Turning to 2023, Jason predicted more of the same for the rest of the market.

But as I think about 2023 and I look forward, a lot of systems and data and finance leaders are gonna see a similar pattern and there's going to be a need for a huge pull forward in terms of information, more real time. And if we can't look at P&L data that may be 45 days old and be a little stale and we can't really predict like we used to in the past, the one thing we're really gonna need to stay ahead of this is real-time financial data and I suspect the tech stacks and data and a lot of the finance partners are gonna have to stay ahead of that.
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Uri Kogan

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