Data Analytics Startup Now Looker Raised $180M

Looker, a Santa Cruz, Calif.-based supplier of analytics tools including business intelligence (BI) and data visualization has raised $180 million.

“The modern BI and analytics platform emerged in the last few years to meet new organizational requirements for accessibility, agility and deeper analytical insight, shifting the market from IT-led, system-of-record reporting to business-led, agile analytics including self-service,” according to Gartner, which estimates that the worldwide business intelligence and analytics market will total $18.3 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow at a 7.6% compound annual rate to about $22.8 billion by the end of 2020.

Silicon Valley venture capitalists have invested $180 million in Looker in five rounds. As Bien explained, “We raised money from First Round Capital (which gave us infrastructure and HR skills), Redpoint (its partner Tomasz Tunguz is a data guy who gave us access to chief data analytics officers at prospective clients), Meritech (gives us access to CEO dinners where we have gotten help in areas such as how to boost a Saas business’s operational effectiveness) , Kleiner Perkins (a great company to work with), and Google’s Capital G (which gives us access to the people at Google dealing with issues important to us — such as EU privacy and security scale-out).”

Besides the mentoring Looker gets from these investors, a board member has helped the company with culture. As he said, “Marc Randolph, who was a cofounder and CEO of Netflix is on our board. He along with Patty McCord developed Netflix’s culture. And while our culture is very different, culture is the only thing that scales — and he has helped us develop ours. Culture determines who you hire and fire. We developed our culture by asking ‘Why do we like to work here?’. We love that customers love us — we like it that they send us gifts showing their appreciation. We have kitchen table conversations where we listen to customers’ questions and answer them. And we hire people who check their egos at the door.”

Looker could go public at some point. “We decided not to go for a giant valuation. Once we are able to generate predictable revenue and manage our operations internally and hire the people we need in key positions, we will give our investors a return. We are not optimizing for valuation,” said Bien.

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