Spreadsheet software program — led by merchandise like Microsoft’s Excel, Google’s Sheets and Apple’s Numbers — continues to be one of many most-used classes of enterprise apps, with Excel alone clocking up greater than a billion customers simply on its Android model. Now, a startup referred to as Rows that’s constructed on that ubiquity, with a low-code platform that lets individuals populate and analyze internet apps utilizing simply spreadsheet interfaces, is saying funding and launching a freemium open beta of its expanded service.
The Berlin-based startup — which rebranded from dashdash on the finish of final yr — closed a Series B spherical of $16 million, cash that it’s utilizing to proceed investing in its platform in addition to in gross sales and advertising and marketing. The platform’s transfer into an open beta comes with some 50 new integrations with different platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram and extra, in addition to 200 new options (utilizing identified spreadsheet shortcuts) to make use of in them.
The spherical was led by Lakestar, with previous traders Accel (which led its $8 million Series A in 2018) and Cherry Ventures additionally taking part. Christian Reber has additionally invested on this spherical. Reber is aware of a factor or two about software program disrupting legacy productiveness software program — he’s the co-founder and CEO of presentation software program startup Pitch and the previous CEO and founding father of Microsoft-acquired Wunderlist — and notably he’s becoming a member of Rows’ Advisory Board together with the funding.
A little bit element about this Series B: CEO Humberto Ayres Pereira, who is predicated out of Porto, Portugal, the place a number of the employees can also be based mostly, tells us that this spherical truly was quietly closed over a yr in the past, in January 2020 — simply forward of the world shutting down amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The startup selected to announce that spherical right now to coincide with including extra options to its product and shifting it into an open beta, he stated.
That open beta is free in its most simple kind — the free tier is proscribed to 10 customers or much less and a minimal quantity of integration utilization. Paid tiers, which cowl extra crew members and as much as 100,000 integration duties (that are measured by what number of instances a spreadsheet queries one other service), begin at $59 monthly.
One robust signal of curiosity on this newest iteration of the software program is the lasting reputation of spreadsheets. Another is Rows’ traction up to now: in invite-only mode, it picked up 10,000 customers off its waitlist, and a whole bunch of firms, as prospects. Currently most of these are free, Ayres Pereira stated.
“Our purpose is to have 1,000 paying firms as prospects within the 12 months,” he stated. That course of has solely simply began, he added, with paying numbers within the modest “dozens” for now. He emphasised although that the corporate could be very money environment friendly and has, even with out elevating extra funding, two years of runway on the cash it has within the financial institution now.
The rising attraction of low-code
No-code and low-code software program, which let individuals create and work with apps and different digital content material with out delving deep into the traces of code that underpin them, have continued to choose up traction out there within the final a number of years.
The cause for that is simple: non-technical staff might not code, however they’re getting more and more adept at understanding how providers perform and what may be achieved inside an app.
No-code and low-code platforms allow them to get extra hands-on relating to customizing and creating the providers that they should use on a regular basis to get their work accomplished, with out the effort and time it’d take to get an engineer concerned.
“People wish to create their very own instruments,” stated Ayres Pereira. “They wish to perceive and check and iterate.” He stated that almost all of Rows’ customers to this point are based mostly out of North America, and typical use instances embody advertising and marketing and gross sales groups, in addition to firms utilizing Rows spreadsheets as a dynamic interface to handle logistics and different operations.
Stephen Nundy, the companion at Lakestar who led its funding, describes the military of customers taking over no-code instruments as “citizen builders.”
Rows is exactly the sort of platform that performs into the low-code pattern. For people who find themselves already au fait with the sorts of instruments that you simply discover in spreadsheets — and one thing like Excel has a whole bunch of features in it — it presents a manner of leaning on these acquainted features to set off integrations with different apps, and to subsequently use a spreadsheet created in Rows to each analyse information from different apps, in addition to replace them.

You would possibly ask, why is it extra helpful, for instance, to have a look at content material from Twitter in Rows reasonably than Twitter itself? A Rows doc would possibly let an individual seek for a set of Tweets utilizing a sure chain of key phrases, after which organise these outcomes based mostly on parameters resembling what number of “likes” these Tweets acquired.
Or customers responding to a name to motion for a promotion on Instagram would possibly then be cross referenced with an organization’s present database of shoppers, to investigate how these respondents overlap or current new leads.
You may also marvel why present spreadsheet merchandise might not have already construct performance like this.
Interestingly, Microsoft did dabble in constructing a manner of linking up Excel with some rudimentary computing features, within the type of Visual Basic for Applications. This nonetheless reached the doubtful distinction of topping builders’ “most dreaded” languages listing for 2 years operating, and in order you may think it has considerably died a loss of life.
However, it does level to a possibility for incumbents to disrupt their disruptors.
Apart from these most evident, entrenched rivals, there have been quite a few different startups constructing instruments which are offering comparable no- and low-code approaches.
Gyana is focusing extra on information science, Tray.io gives a graphical interface to combine how apps work collectively, Zapier and Notion additionally present easy interfaces to combine apps and APIs collectively, and Airtable has its personal tackle reinventing the spreadsheet interface. For now, Ayres Pereira sees these extra as compatriots than rivals.
“Yes, we overlap with providers like Zapier and Notion,” he stated. “But I’d say we’re associates. We’re all elevating consciousness about individuals with the ability to do extra and never having to be caught utilizing outdated instruments. It’s not a zero sum sport for us.”
When we coated Rows’s Series A two years in the past, the startup had constructed a platform to let people who find themselves snug working with information in spreadsheets to make use of that interface to create and populate content material in internet apps. It had quite a lot of extensibility, however primarily geared at individuals nonetheless keen to do the work to create these hyperlinks.
Two years on, whereas the spreadsheet has remained the anchor, the platform has grown. Ayres Pereira, who co-founded the corporate with Torben Schulz (each pictured above), stated that there are some 50 new integrations now, together with methods to analyse and replace content material on social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, CrunchBase, Salesforce, Slack, LinkedIn and Twitter, in addition to some 200 new options within the platform itself.
While individuals can import into Rows information from Google Sheets, he famous that the massive daddy of all of them, Excel, just isn’t supported proper now. The cause, he stated, is as a result of the overwhelming majority of customers of the product use the desktop model, which doesn’t have APIs.
Meanwhile, Rows additionally has quite a few templates out there for individuals to information them by way of easy duties, resembling wanting up LinkedIn profiles or emails for a listing of individuals; monitoring social media counts and so forth.
One of the most typical facets of spreadsheets, nonetheless, has but to be constructed. The interface remains to be banked round rows and columns, however with no graphical instruments to visualise information in several methods resembling pie charts or graphs as you might need in a typical spreadsheet program.
It’s because of this that Rows has but to exit beta. The characteristic is one that’s requested quite a bit, Pereira admitted, describing it as “the ultimate frontier.” When Rows is able to ship with that performance, doubtless by Q3 of this yr, it should tick over to normal “1.0” launch, he added.
“Humberto and Torben have actually impressed us with their ambition to disrupt the market with a brand new spreadsheet paradigm that tackles the numerous shortcomings of right now’s options,” stated Nundy at Lakestar. “Data integrations are native, the collaboration expertise is top quality and the power to share and publish your work as an software is exclusive and can create extra ‘Citizen builders’ to emerge. This is crucial to the rising wants of right now’s know-how literate workforce. The stage of curiosity they’ve acquired of their personal beta is proof of the desirability of platforms like Rows, and we’re excited to be supporting them by way of their public beta launch and past with this funding.” Nundy can also be becoming a member of Rows’ board with this spherical.