Last time we spoke to Explo, the early-stage startup was announcing its $2.3 million seed round. That was a very different time in November 2020, and a lot has happened since then for the Y Combinator Winter 20 alum.
Despite starting a company during the pandemic, Explo built the product and got its first customers. That product is a tool for building business intelligence dashboards customized to your own company’s look and feel, which you can embed in your website or email to customers.
As Explo founder and CEO Gary Lynn told us at the time of seed funding:
“In terms of UI and output, we had to create dashboards for our end users, install the dashboard and customize the styles on those dashboards, so it looked and felt like part of their own product,” Lin told TechCrunch in November 2020.
Lin says one of the things they found along the way was Explo, an adhesive product, and helped the company get its latest round of $12 million when it sought funding earlier this year. “Since we last talked, we’ve been building the product, moving to sell the product, and around January of this year we realized we were getting really good activity and thought it might be time to raise a Series A,” he said.
Lin said the venture market started to slow down when they went looking for funding, but they got a good offer and feel very lucky about it. “We really didn’t see the kind of impact that founders see today. But it certainly wasn’t as hot locally as it was in December last year. So I’d say we’re very lucky in terms of timing, we’re very lucky with that,” he said. They confirmed the round in March this year.
Today, the company is announcing the official launch of its self-help product in a two-week trial period. The startup currently has 45 customers on the books with several others testing the product, he said. “What happens with the free trials is that the companies connect their databases or databases so that they have the data that they want to analyze. And so Explo connects directly to databases like Postgres or Snowflake, and then it gives all of our customers a lot of ways to share data.
And given the impact of the current economic climate, at least Explo doesn’t see a slowdown. “The type of product and the type of role that Explo performs for customers, we’re defining as important, but not a core competency. And when people are trying to make sure their workforce is actually… focused on what’s core to their business, they’re more willing to outsource dashboarding and analytics to tools like Explo. And we’ve seen sales, not exactly decline, but stay strong as we’ve seen before.
Today with 15 employees, Lin plans to double next year, but allows performance to be a guide to that, rather than some hard goal. He said the organization is working with a recruiter to continue building a diverse team, adding that the key is finding candidates early in the process.
“We’re really proud of the team we’ve built. And the group remains extremely diverse, which we’re very happy about. One of the biggest things we’ve learned over time is that the top of the funnel is the most helpful when it comes to hiring diverse candidates. That is, from the beginning of the process, using different external sources to screen different candidates for each open rack.
Today’s $12 million Series A was raised by Craft Ventures with participation from Felicity Ventures, Amplo VC and various industry angels.