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Over the last decade or so, the modern data stack has grown more comprehensive than you could have ever imagined. We have data warehouses, data lakes, BI tools, and other platforms that mobilize structured and unstructured datasets and help drive value from them.

Yet, when it comes to analytics, most data users still find themselves yearning for Excel. The specialized tooling currently available in the market does enrich the surface area from which data analysts and other businesspeople work, but it fails to bring the simplicity of spreadsheets. Excel may offer the best canvas for working with data, but the thing is, it is 40 years old and was not built with today’s workflows or databases in mind.

Equals’ much-needed spreadsheet upgrade

To address this gap without compromising on simplicity, California-based Equals offers a solution that works just like a spreadsheet but comes with built-in connections to enterprise databases, versioning and collaboration. The company today received $16 million series A funding, led by Andreessen Horowitz. 

“We’re taking on Excel. There really isn’t any other company building a full-blown spreadsheet intended to go after Excel’s core use case: analysis and financial modeling. Lots of folks are picking at the edges of Excel (e.g., Airtable, the spreadsheet-as-a-database; or Smartsheets, Asana etc., the spreadsheet-as-a-project-management-tool),” Bobby Pinero, CEO and cofounder of Equals, told VentureBeat.

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Equals spreadsheet
Equals spreadsheet

When using Equals’ next-gen spreadsheet, a user can directly access their company’s data warehouse to connect a database of their choice. Then, they can write SQL queries or use a visual editor to enable quick analysis of the data connected – right within the spreadsheet. The offering also pulls live data and brings query scheduling capabilities so that the data gets updated without manual intervention. And, most importantly, all this works while keeping the same functions of Excel. So, for instance, if an analyst has pulled day-wise digital engagement data from two sources, you could use the sum function to join those two columns and produce the total engagement value for every day in a third column.

“The past few years have been dominated by verticalized tools and [bandage] solutions to Excel, but we’ve seen that in this space, that approach falls short. And as much as businesses still default to Excel or Sheets, those tools are showing their age,” Kristina Shen, general partner at a16z, said. “I’m energized by the evidence that horizontal platforms are back, and I believe Equals is poised to be the seminal company that reimagines the spreadsheet for the modern era. Obviously, the ambition required to take on Excel is massive, and there’s no better team than Equals to take this on.”

Plan ahead

Since its launch in 2021, the company has seen adoption from thousands of customers, including Notion, Zeta and Levity.

With this round of funding, which also saw participation from Craft Ventures, Box Group, Worklife, and Combine, Equals plans to build out its R&D team and open its platform to the masses with a freemium offering. The paid plan of the platform costs about $18 a month per editor and offers connections to Postgres, Snowflake, Google Analytics, Salesforce, Amazon Redshift and more. Custom integrations are only offered as part of the enterprise plan, which is tailored specifically to company needs.

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