Former Google data analyst raised $ 73 million without a case for his spreadsheet killer – here’s how

A French startup hoping to kill the spreadsheet by giving businesses an easy-to-use planning and reporting tool has raised $ 73 million in Series B – no pitch deck.

Pigment offers business teams such as finance and sales a central database for planning and forecasting in efforts to move away from spreadsheets and siled data prone to error. The Paris-based startup said it would help executives better understand their business data and the effects of decisions.

Spreadsheets aren’t the most flexible, powerful, or collaborative tool, said Eléonore Crespo, co-founder of Pigment.

This is something the former Google data analyst experienced firsthand at the tech giant and again as an investor in venture capital firm Index Ventures, where she saw high-profile startups. growth plan initial public offerings on spreadsheets.

“It hit me,” she said. “When it comes to planning – your resources, your income, your budgets, your sales – it’s tough when you’re not well connected to your other SaaS,” she added, referring to the products of software as a service.

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Crespo continued, “It’s hard to collaborate when you know you don’t have the right tool. It is difficult to report errors in spreadsheets. It’s hard to sync in a spreadsheet when your business is so complex and growing so massively. “

In 2019, Crespo partnered with Romain Niccoli, former CTO and co-founder of adtech giant Criteo, which went public on Nasdaq in 2013, to launch Pigment.

The startup counts Deliveroo, Melio, BlaBlaCar and ManoMano among its clients. Its business and customer experience teams are headed respectively by Julien Lesaicherre and Rebeca Tristan, former Facebook managers.

Crespo felt that the focus on attracting top talent and “big logo” clients naturally spread the word of Pigment to funders, and said the increase was the result of inbound interest.

“We didn’t have a deck, it wasn’t necessarily on purpose but because the round was preempted,” she said. She added that she had all the data investors wanted to see at their fingertips, without having to put together a traditional deck.

Her background as a venture capitalist also helped – although for founders who aren’t in that lucky situation, she mentioned the importance of relationships.

“If you want to be successful at fundraising, you have to meet with investors ahead of time,” she said. “You have to create a relationship. This world is about relationships, and that involves everything you do.

“It’s not just for you to fundraise, but it’s also for you to know the investors because it’s a two-way relationship. You’re actually creating a very long-term partnership. You’re probably going to pass. the next 10 years with this particular investor. “

Crespo advised meeting with investors months in advance to determine what they can contribute. Any deck is more of a tool to paint the full picture.

The Pigment round was led by Silicon Valley’s Greenoaks Capital, which backed Airtable earlier this year. FirstMark Capital in New York and Europe’s Blossom Capital also participated in the round.

Pigment intends to use the cash injection to fuel its expansion in the United States, having signed its first clients there. He envisions offices in New York and Silicon Valley and plans to build sales and support teams there in 2022.

Research and development should remain in Europe and Crespo is looking to double or triple the number of Pigment technical teams. But the founder favored quality over quantity.

Crespo also hoped to introduce carbon accounting features so that companies can better track their environmental footprint.

Sean N. Ayres