The last time we spoke to discover, the startup announced its $2.3 million seed round early on. That was in November 2020, a very different time, and a lot has happened for the Y Combinator since then Winter 20 alum.
Despite starting a business at the height of the pandemic, Explo completed building the product and found its first customers. That product is a tool to build custom business intelligence dashboards with the look and feel of your own company, which you can embed in your website or email to customers.
As Explo co-founder and CEO Gary Lin told us at the time of the seed funding:
“In terms of the user interface and the output, we had to build out the ability for our end users to create dashboards, for them to embed the dashboards, and for them to customize the styles on these dashboards so it looks and feels like it was part of their own product,” Lin told londonbusinessblog.com in November 2020.
Lin says one of the things they learned along the way is that Explo is a tacky product and it helped secure the latest $12 million Series A when the company started seeking funding early this year. “Since we last talked, we were building the product, selling the product and around January of this year we realized we were getting pretty good traction and we thought maybe it was time to a Series A raise,” he said.
Lin says the venture market started to cool down when they started looking for financing, but they got a good offer and feel very happy about it. “We haven’t seen the same impact that founders see today. But it certainly wasn’t as warm as it was in December of the previous year. So I’d say we’ve been very lucky in timing, and we feel very lucky about that,” he said. In March of this year, they secured the round.
Today, the company is also announcing the official launch of their self-service product with a two-week trial period. The startup currently has 45 paying customers on its books and many others are trying out the product, he said. “For the free trials, it happens that the companies connect their databases or data warehouses together to have the information they want to analyze. And so Explo will connect directly to these databases, whether it’s Postgres or data warehouses like Snowflake, and provide all of our customers with a myriad of ways to share data.”
And in terms of the impact of the current economic situation, Explo has at least seen no slowdown so far. “The type of product and type of role that Explo fulfills for customers is what we define as a necessity, but not as a core competency. And because people are really trying to get their workforce… to focus on what’s at the core of their business, they’re even more willing to outsource dashboarding and analytics to a tool like Explo. And so we’ve really seen sales, not really down, but staying strong as we’ve seen before,” he said.
With 15 employees today, Lin says the plan is to double over the next year, but will let performance be the guideline, rather than a hard target. He says the company is working with a recruiter to continue building a diverse team, and he says it’s important to find candidates early in the process.
“We are really proud of the team we have built. And the team has remained extremely diverse, which we are very excited about. One of the most important things we have learned over time is that what helps most when it comes to hiring diverse candidates is the top of the funnel,” he said. That means that from the start of the process, you have to use a variety of external sources to get a list of different candidates for each open rec.
Today’s $12 million Series A was led by Craft Ventures with the participation of Felicis Ventures, Amplo VC and several industry angels.