Boast.ai secures $100 million to help startups claim R&D tax credits

Boast.ai Platform

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Boast.ai, a company developing software that automates the process of claiming R&D tax credits, today announced that it secured a $100 million credit facility from Brevet Capital. The company plans to use the loan to further develop its platform as it looks to expand its startup customer base.
Each year, the federal governments of the U.S. and Canada provide more than $15 billion in innovation incentives to private companies. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly a third of U.S. patents rely directly on U.S. government-funded research. But filling out the applications to receive this funding is often a cumbersome process — and yet another barrier for companies squeezed by the pandemic as venture capitalists pull back on early-stage investments.

Boast.ai, which has offices in Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary, Canada, in addition to its San Francisco headquarters, was cofounded in 2011 by Alex Popa and Lloyed Lobo. Popa previously managed the R&D tax practices for large accounting firms, while Lobo formerly ran product and growth for a number of venture-backed tech startups.
Boast.ai aims to automate the government grant application process with a machine learning-powered tax credit platform. The company’s software and teams of accountants gather data from existing technical and financial systems to help identify, categorize, and time-track eligible projects, with the goal of larger claims, lower risk, and less time invested from teams. Among the data sources Boast.ai draws on are payroll, development platforms like GitHub and Jira, and accounting, which its systems leverage to produce time-tracking documents and tax forms, along with audit evidence, timelines, and balance sheets.

Boast.ai specifically targets three types of tax credits: the U.S. Research & Experimentation Tax Credit (R&D Tax Credit) and the Canadian government’s SR&ED Tax Credits (SR&ED) and Interactive Digital Media Tax Credits (IDMTC). The R&D Tax Credit, which was made permanent in 2015, is a general business tax credit for companies that incur R&D costs germane to salaries, subcontractor-related expenses, and materials in the U.S. The SR&ED is a program that covers up to 70% of R&D expenditures for creating or improving existing products, processes, principles, methodologies, and materials in Canada. As for the IDMTC, it provides a refundable 17.5% tax credit on eligible salaries and wages for Canadian employees involved in producing video games, educational software, entertainment software, and simulators.
The 35-employee Boast.ai claims to have helped secure over $200 million in R&D funding for more than 1,000 customers to date, including Lendesk, Oral4D, and Policy Works. The startup also says it has been doubling growth year-over-year since launch, with annual recurring revenue in the “eight figures” and an over 80% gross margin.
“R&D is the engine of the modern economy, and innovative companies should be able to access the tax credits they’re entitled to,” Popa said in a statement. “We’ve spent almost a decade honing our craft to help customers get more money, faster and with less risk, compared to any other solution in the market. We empower companies from startups to large enterprises to quantify the value of their R&D efforts, then leverage that asset through a successful R&D tax credit application which allows them to grow their business without unnecessary outside capital.”
The credit facility brings Boast.ai’s total raised to over $120 million following a $23 million fundraising round in December.

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