Equals secures $15 million investment to upgrade spreadsheets

Equals, a New York-based startup ambitiously seeking to challenge Excel’s supercharged spreadsheet dominance, today announced that it has raised $16 million in a Series A funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), with participation from Craft Ventures, Box Group, Worklife and Combine. Co-founded by Ben McRedmond and Bobby Pinero, two former Intercom employees, Equals claims its spreadsheet is one of the few with built-in database links, versioning and collaboration features.

Equals isn’t the first startup on a mission to kill traditional spreadsheets. There’s Airtable, of course, plus newcomers like Spreadsheet.com, Actiondesk and Pigment — the latter of which raised $73 million last November for its data analytics and visualization service. But Pinero, Equal’s CEO, says Equals is unique in that it doesn’t replace the spreadsheet so much as it includes additional tools, such as live data integration.

“Equals came from a really simple and obvious insight: that a spreadsheet is the best way to do analytics,” Pinero told TechCrunch in an email interview. “Excel was created nearly 40 years ago. Google Sheets 16 years ago. The way companies operate today is vastly different. Our data is much more accessible. We need to automate much of the painful manual work of entering data into a spreadsheet. And we’ve learned so much about how teams collaborate better over the past decade. A spreadsheet should include this knowledge. That’s Equal.”

Customers can tap Equals to build analytics with real-time data directly from a database or data warehouse, with or without using a post-query language. It supports standard formulas and offers templates for common use cases, such as tracking recurring revenue and measuring user engagement.

Equals

Image Credits: Equals

Equals will soon be able to import scripts to allow users to connect spreadsheets to various APIs and internal JavaScript or Python tools. Also coming are pivot tables and connectors to business intelligence applications from Salesforce, QuickBooks, Stripe, and Google Analytics.

“Equals represents a huge opportunity to give business stakeholders – typically people who have been overlooked from being able to get their own data – access to data. To be able to work with data in a tool they’re comfortable with and already know how to use: a spreadsheet,” Pinero said. “No more manual spreadsheets that take hours to manually update across the team. No more dumping data from BI tools into spreadsheets to do analysis.”

That’s a lot to promise, but Pinero is aware of the obstacles ahead. He doesn’t expect 10-employee Equals to be profitable for some time — the Series A proceeds will go mostly to R&D, he says; Equals has raised $23 million to date — and the platform will remain locked behind a waiting list awaiting the next big product launch. Pinero claims “thousands” of people have signed up so far.

“It speaks to the excitement and traction with Equals that we’ve been able to raise a significant Series A in this market. At our current draw, we have eight-plus years of track,” Pinero said. “We are very well positioned to survive this downturn, however long it lasts. As they say, generational companies are built during these downturns, and we plan to make Equals one of them.”

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