Canopy names new CEO and raises $13M in funding

Tax software maker Canopy has named Davis Bell as its new CEO, succeeding founder Kurt Avarell, and raised an additional $13 million in funding from its existing investors as the company pivots to focusing on its main practice management product and temporarily shelves plans for professional tax prep software after a series of reverses this past year.

“The big plan for us to is a laser focus on our practice management product,” Bell told Accounting Today. “We are going to focus all of our resources and time and effort and attention on making that product even better and making life easier for the accountants we’re serving.”

Bell has held leadership roles in operations, product, sales, strategy and finance at a number of technology companies including Instructure, Sales Rabbit and Imagine Learning, although this is his first job in the tax software industry. Most recently, he headed the Utah office of the travel site Peek.com, where he led the customer onboarding, customer success, product support, HR and company culture functions.

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He plans to continue development of the professional tax prep product the company beta tested last year, but is concentrating on its practice management and tax resolution products. “The focus is going to be practice management, but we're very much still committed to the long-term strategy of a tax prep product,” said Bell. “Once we marry that with a best-in-class tax practice management product, that's when we will view our mission as complete. We’re definitely still committed to tax prep in the medium to long term.”

The product roadmap is also being shepherded by Larry Furr, who joined as Canopy’s vice president of product about four months ago, with a background in helping companies build cloud and SaaS technology. “We’ve got a lot of exciting enhancements that we'll be making to accelerate our product roadmap around practice management,” he said. “The things that we have on the horizon are improving functionality around our client portal, document management, workflow and task management, and then adding additional reporting and also a public API. There are a lot of good things happening that customers have been asking for, especially with tax season around the corner.”

The company will also benefit from the $13 million investment, which is led by NewView Capital, Pelion Venture Partners and Tenaya Capital. It includes $8 million in funding and $5 million in debt financing, bringing the company’s total funding raised to date to $85 million.

“We raised a quite large round of funding from our existing investors,” said Bell.

Canopy grew quickly last year, moving into a brand new facility in Levi, Utah, after receiving funding from the governor’s office, but this past year, it laid off much of its workforce, nearly 200 staff members, and was forced to refund customers who had paid for the planned tax prep product, prompting the departure of founder Avarell (see Canopy Tax cancels brand new Tax Prep product, offers full refunds and Canopy CEO steps down as tax software company lays off 73).

Canopy is now subletting part of its space, but plans to remain in the same building. Bell isn’t anticipating further layoffs. “It’s impossible to say with certainty,” he said. “I think we’re quite confident with this new round of funding that we’ve gotten to the right size of team, and we will be growing.”

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