If knowledge is the brand new oil, you may consider apps are the automobiles that want it to maneuver. Now, a startup that has constructed a platform to let everybody — not simply these with technical experience — make and drive their very own “automobiles” has raised a major spherical of funding to develop its enterprise. Airtable — which makes use of a easy interface constructed on spreadsheets and different instruments acquainted to information employees as a frontend to provide apps and different web-based experiences — has raised $100 million in funding to broaden its enterprise with extra expertise and workplaces exterior the US. Together with the funding, the corporate has now catapulted to a $1.1 billion valuation.
Catapult is the important thing phrase right here: in accordance with PitchBook the corporate was solely valued at $152 million in its final spherical — eight months in the past.
Airtable’s instruments at the moment are in use by some 80,000 companies in the present day, the corporate stated, representing an actual development spurt. To place that into some context, when the corporate raised $52 million solely eight months in the past — one more instance of how essentially the most promising startups are racking up funding in speedy rounds for the time being — it stated it had solely 30,000 clients.
This newest spherical — a Collection C — was led by Josh Kushner at Thrive Capital, Peter Fenton at Benchmark, and Philippe and Thomas Laffont at Coatue Administration. Delphine Arnault, Emily Weiss, Alexa Von Tobel, Sarah Smith, Dan Rose, and former traders CRV and Caffeinated Capital additionally participated — bringing the whole raised by Airtable to $170 million.
Howie Liu, the CEO who co-founded Airtable with Emmett Nicholas (now CTO) and Andrew Ofstad, stated that the preliminary thought for the product got here out of their very own expertise. The tech world had already recognized that the majority instruments for constructing apps and software program had been too technical for the overwhelming majority of individuals within the tech trade, however their options had been nonetheless “too costly and sophisticated to make use of. The imaginative and prescient was to democratise the worth proposition,” he stated. A database, they determined, “in its most versatile type, might be customised to what you want, and that might be higher than utilizing another person’s current database mannequin.”
Airtable just isn’t the one firm that has recognized the issue and tried to resolve it by constructing highly effective macros beneath the hood of in any other case standard-looking database interfaces. DashDash is constructing the same idea out of Europe centered particularly on spreadsheets, and we’re even seeing Microsoft and companions constructing extra performance into the world’s main spreadsheet supplier, Excel.
Certainly, that’s not seen as stiff competitors, however an indication for Airtable’s traders of simply how a lot alternative there may be within the house. “Airtable has established itself because the chief in what’s going to turn into a really massive market,” Josh Kushner, managing companion at Thrive Capital, stated in an announcement.
One of many vital points of Airtable is its Slack-like strategy to the duty of utilizing its platform to construct issues. The corporate has a platform known as Blocks that not solely lets its customers usher in knowledge from a variety of sources, but additionally to pick a variety of totally different sorts of outputs for a way and the place would really like the info for use, whether or not it’s in a advertising marketing campaign throughout textual content messaging, an AI-based bot, or a VR expertise. Liu confirmed for me that for now Excel just isn’t one in every of its integration companions, for now.]