Looker, a Santa Cruz, Calif.-based data platform and analytics company, just closed on $48 million in Series C. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers led the round, which previous investors — Redpoint Ventures, Meritech and Sapphire Ventures — also participated.
That amount is precisely half of the $96 million the company has raised in total since its launch in 2013.
Looker plans to use the proceeds to invest in its sales, marketing and engineering activities as well as expand its international activities following the company’s London office opening last year.
Most significantly, the funding will bring the company to profitability faster than anticipated.
"Looker was on track to profitability already with the funding they already had," Alex Kurland, partner at Kleiner Perkins, told CMSWire. "This round will just accelerate that timetable."
For investors, a profitable company is always a good thing. For the company's users, detailed insight into how the proceeds will be used is typically of greater interest — although, of course, companies that rely on technology provided by start ups are always anxious about their longevity.
Building on Blocks
In general Looker is focusing on enhancing the Looker Blocks platform that it released last year and some of the proceeds will be dedicated to that product.
Looker Blocks are components of business logic that create centralized definitions and can be operational within hours. They are based on a model written in LookML, a language for describing dimensions, fields and relationships in a SQL database. They require some integration but once they are in place the Blocks are reusable and can scale as the business grows.
The appeal is to a type of business user dubbed "citizen developers." That is, the users are not developers in their official day job, but they use platforms like Looker Blocks to build their own solutions to specific problems. In short, they are not afraid of code, Looker CEO Frank Bien told CMSWire.
With Looker Blocks now three months or so past release, Bien said customers have been using them in interesting and unexpected ways in the enterprise, adding, "We are seeing quite a bit around CRM analytics for example. Users want deeper looks into the sales opportunity pipeline and what their customers are doing."
Blocks are also being used for event analysis, Bien said. "People are collecting a tremendous amount of data from their websites and then using it to understand their sales funnels and why things are happening from a pipeline perspective."
A Look at 2015
The release of Looker Blocks was part of a very successful 2015 for the company, other than that pesky profitability benchmark.
The company posted 400 percent revenue growth last year after growing its customer base from 150 to more than 450. At the same time the average deal size increased by more than 30 percent, the company claims.
Perhaps the best affirmation, though, came when Kleiner Perkins was doing its due diligence for the funding round.
"We spoke with dozens of customers and the customer references were nothing short of exceptional," Kurland said.
The most memorable one, he said, was the employee who threatened to quit if the company discontinued its use of Looker.