How Fiveable Raised Series A by Working With a Fractional CFO

High school and college students are experiencing more stress than ever before and a lot of it stems from a lack of motivation, accountability, and focus. Fiveable is aiming to change that with a platform that recreates the atmosphere of a “library”. These spaces combine togetherness and focus to help students get things done.

To learn more about how Shiny helped them to raise a Series A round, we talked with Amanda DoAmaral, the CEO at Fiveable

The Challenge

Running a startup for the first time is very hard, but it’s even harder to deal with the financials of your company while you are trying to grow your business. Early-stage startup founders wear many hats in the early days, and dealing with the financials of the company is part of it. Many startup founders don’t have the financial background to handle the complexity of the financial models before raising a Series A round.

Before finding Shiny, Amanda was dealing with company financials by herself while getting some help from her accountant. While she was preparing to raise the Series A round, she was not feeling confident about showing her financials to investors because she didn’t have a background in finance and therefore her financial models were not sophisticated enough.

Amanda was working with an accountant, but she felt that she was not getting updates on the company’s financials and she had to figure things out herself on a regular basis. She knew that if she could hire someone to help with the financial model, she could focus on her strength of storytelling and they would be more likely to raise a successful round. To summarize, here are the challenges Amanda faced:

  • Creating sophisticated financial models for investors: Amanda raised her pre-seed and seed rounds without getting expert help, but as she was raising Fiveable’s Series A round, she wanted to have more sophisticated models that would make her more confident when pitching investors. 

  • Keeping up with the financials of the company: When the company had <10 employees it was easy to keep track of financials, but as the company grew, managers and directors wanted to have a clearer understanding of their budgets. Amanda didn’t always have time to work on this, and this led to delays in operations. 

The Solution

Amanda tried to solve the problem by working more closely with her accountant, but her accountant didn’t have enough experience with startups and she wanted to have someone who could support Fiveable as a part of the team. This is when she found Shiny to hire a fractional CFO who could help her to organize her finances and join the team for the long-term.

When we asked Amanda why she needed a fractional CFO, this is what she said;

“ I didn’t want to work with someone who was going to make me feel inadequate for my gaps in financial modeling. I needed to be able to ask a lot of questions and learn alongside them. Ideally, they would do their job and be the expert, but take me along for the ride”, Amanda told us.


Hiring through Shiny allowed Amanda to save a lot of time while hiring this person because she did not have to do job postings and interviews by herself. She had more time to focus on her business while Shiny did the candidate selection process for her.

Here are the results Amanda has seen since working with Shiny: 

  • Raised Series A round: “ Thanks to the sophisticated financial models we could get, we raised a Series A. It would have been much, much harder without that financial model.” Amanda said.
  • Financials are no longer a stressful thing: “Financials used to stress me out. I used to think about it all the time and worry about it because I didn’t have all the answers. I wasn’t worried because we were in trouble, but I wasn’t sure if I should be worried about something or not. Since we’ve hired our fractional CFO, I know exactly where to look for all the answers I need. ” Amanda told us.
  • Hired a partner not a freelancer: Amanda wanted to have someone who could act as if they are a part of the team. Lee has a great 1-1 relationship with the team, plus everyone feels that he is a member of the team and not an outsider. 

“He has a great 1-1 relationship with the leadership team. He comes to our company retreats, which is very cool. He’s been a really good partner in this. He cares about the company, and he’s a core part of the company.”

  • “As someone who was not part of the startup world, finance was not a strength of mine. Hiring a Fractional CFO was a massive unlock. What makes you a great leader is to focus only on the things that you’re good at. With everything else, you need people around you that are better than you. And so for me, that meant finance needed to be offloaded. This is where having a Fractional CFO helped me immensely.”

Hire a Fractional CFO to take your company’s finances to the next level, just like Fiveable did. Use the Shiny marketplace to get matched to the right Fractional CFO for you.