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Charleston software firm seals $9M funding round, brings total to $30M

ceterus (copy)

Charleston-based Ceterus makes accounting software targeted primarily at franchise owners. The firm recently raised $9.1 million from investors, bringing its total funding to roughly $30 million. Provided/Ceterus

A Charleston accounting software firm has raised another $9.1 million to finance its growth, solidifying the startup's position as among the best-funded in the region's technology industry.

Ceterus, which is based on Meeting Street along Charleston's upper peninsula, develops web-based software and financial reporting tools. Founded in 2008, the firm has completed four major rounds of investments totaling more than $30 million.

CEO Levi Morehouse said the latest financing will be invested in growth initiatives. 

Adding automation to the company's software has been a focus of the last three years. Ceterus added artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities that can help its customers predict their finances and offer business tips. 

Its first customers — and still the core of the business — were owners of franchised businesses, such as Jimmy John's, Orange Theory Fitness and Firehouse Subs. 

Morehouse said Ceterus has moved beyond its early stages, and today its business plan calls for building on a strategy that has been shown to work.

"We've proven the plays we want to run," he said. "We want to run the ones that have worked really well."

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In 2019, Ceterus also expanded its footprint by beginning to sell its software to accounting firms. 

"They're gaining the benefit of all our automation," Morehouse, who is a licensed accountant, said. The CEO  maintains that people will need to remain at the center of the accounting profession.

Morehouse began the business more than a decade ago on the idea of "done-for-you accounting." He filed Ceterus' incorporation papers in South Carolina in 2015. The first round of venture capital funding came a year later, when the business grew to about two dozen employees. 

Today, Ceterus employs 95 people nationwide, with about 80 working in Charleston. Morehouse said its base of franchise owners number in the thousands.

Only a handful of startups in the Charleston area have attracted as much investor interest. Phishlabs, a cybersecurity firm based in the Pacific Box & Crate development on upper King Street, is in the same league, having raised $20.5 million in 2018.

In the same development, real estate software maker BoomTown! raised $20.1 million in 2014

Reach Mary Katherine Wildeman at 843-937-5594. Follow her on Twitter @mkwildeman.

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