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To Navneet Loiwal, the most powerful platform for the future of business intelligence isn’t some sleek new product built by a well-funded SaaS startup or even found in a tech giant’s cloud offering. Instead, it’s been hiding — and some might say getting rusty — in plain sight for decades now: the spreadsheet.
But as capable and ubiquitous as they may be, spreadsheets have been left behind as company data stacks and analytics tools have been super-charged with cross-platform data connectivity and automation over the years.
Coefficient, the no-code business analytics startup Loiwal cofounded, is hoping to change all that. Launched into beta last year, Coefficient adds a layer of two-way data connectivity and automation to Google Sheets so that businesses can easily plug in a variety of live data sources and do more with their spreadsheets. Today, the company is announcing $6.7 million in seed funding that will allow Loiwal and his team to take their simple, spreadsheet-supercharging solution to the next level.
The seed round — led by Foundation Capital with contributions from S28 Capital and angel investors including Zoom CEO Eric Yuan — enables Coefficient to expand its team, start formally marketing its product, and make its first major product update since launching into beta earlier this year: expanding Coefficient’s functionality from Google Sheets to Microsoft Excel.
“Spreadsheets have not changed in four decades,” Loiwal said. In an effort to rectify that, Coefficient offers non-technical business users a simple, one-click-at-a-time interface for creating spreadsheets that can ingest and utilize live data from a wide range of company data sources like Salesforce, Snowflake, HubSpot, Tableau, and Looker.
From there, Coefficient enables automated, real-time data refreshes and custom notifications and external triggers based on changes in the data — effectively transforming traditional spreadsheets from relatively static, manually updated documents into real-time hubs of business intelligence.
“People are spending hours trying to keep the data in that spreadsheet up to date,” Loiwal said. “Now, the data is always up to date. The chart in the spreadsheet is always live.”
Building on existing tools
When initially building Coefficient, the team briefly considered constructing a new, spreadsheet-like data tool that mimicked the functionality of Excel and Google Sheets. Instead, they decided to build something that layers on top of these tools, rather than trying to replace them.
“The fact that it’s in a spreadsheet means you already know how to edit it,” Loiwal added. “I don’t need to teach you anything. You can change anything you want about it.”
In addition to support for Microsoft Excel, the Coefficient team will also be prioritizing the creation of new, plug-and-play templates for various common business uses cases, such as sales dashboards, customer service reports, real-time web and mobile analytics, and other things that Coefficient’s roughly 1,000 existing customers use the tool for.
Of course, the Coefficient team is also keen to expand that user base well beyond the 1,000-company mark — something that should become much easier once support for Excel has been added. Not surprisingly, Loiwal said his team will get a Slack alert every time one of those new users signs up, thanks to the functionality of Coefficient itself.
“The spreadsheet is not going away,” he said. “A billion people use it. It’s the biggest platform to build on. People build on Salesforce as a platform, on Slack as a platform. But the biggest platform out there is so hidden in plain sight that we just overlook it.”
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