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Instabase Raises Massive $105M Series B, Reaches Unicorn Status

Instabase, a startup aiming to “reimagine business apps from the ground up,” announced today that it’s raised a massive $105 million Series B led by Index Ventures.  The round values the San Francisco-based company at “over $1 billion” post-money, it said.

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Existing investors Greylock Partners, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), and Andreessen Horowitz joined Spark Capital, Tribe Capital, SC Ventures, and Glynn Capital in participating in the round. The Series B brings Instabase’s total known funding since its inception in 2015 to $132 million, according to Crunchbase data. 

The company said the new capital to do some hiring and scale its core platform. As part of the funding, Index Ventures partner Sarah Cannon will join Instabase’s board.

Instabase’s vision, in its own words, “is to make computers work for people, and not the other way around.” Its platform aims to help businesses build customizable apps for automating different parts of their business. For example, it says, a bank can build an app that can automatically verify customer income “in a fraction of a second” by combing through documents such as camera pictures or scans of paystubs, tax documents, bank statements, and other similar documents submitted by the customer. 

Instabase also offers an app store, or a marketplace of pre-packaged business apps for different industries.

“Today, on your smartphone you have an app store where you can find a dozen apps to have food delivered to your door, but we don’t have an app store where large enterprises, for example, a bank can find an app for income verification; or an insurance company can find an app for processing claims; every such application is custom built,” said Anant Bhardwaj, CEO and founder of Instabase, in a press release. “We should wonder — why?”

Bhardwaj started the company while he was a Ph.D. student at MIT in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). In August 2015, he left his Ph.D. program and moved to the Bay Area to found Instabase. There he met Peter Sonsini, general partner at NEA, who seeded the company along with Jerry Chen of Greylock Partners. Martin Casado from Andreessen Horowitz led the Series A in June 2017.

Instabase counts among its customers more than half of the top ten financial institutions in the U.S., as well as many global banks. Its initial focus is on the banking industry, Bhardwaj told me, but the company’s technology could be applicable to a variety of industries. Looking ahead, Instabase plans to grow into the logistics, healthcare, government and telecommunications sectors, he said.

“The addressable opportunity for Instabase is staggering as the market is transitioning towards intelligent automation,” Cannon said.

In a blog, NEA’s Sonsini wrote about why he believes Instabase “will lead the biggest enterprise transformation yet.”

He added: “Instabase has generated a tremendous amount of interest while divulging relatively little about what they’re building. This is partly because Anant is a great storyteller, but there’s a whole lot more to it than that. Even from 30,000 feet, it’s not hard to see that Instabase is building the right product at the right time. It sits at the intersection of three of the most hot and transformational software disruptions in the world today: digitization of business processes, low-code/no-code and AI.”

Currently, Instabase has 42 employees across its San Francisco, Boston, New York and Bangalore offices. The company plans to expand its R&D team and go-to-market functions with its new cash, Bhardwaj said. Since Instabase only started selling its offering about 14 months ago, Bhardwaj said it’s a bit early to disclose growth metrics, noting only that the company has landed several large customers over the past year.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias


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