Why we co-led Grouparoo’s seed round

by Hadley Harris

Last month we were super excited to announce we’ve co-led a $3M seed round in Grouparoo with our friends at Fuel Capital. Here’s our thinking around making this investment.

Solving a burning problem in a quickly evolving stack

Every sizable business in the world is quickly becoming a data company and what kind of data could be more important to a business than its customer data? As companies recognize this, they are capturing more and more customer data then saving it to a database or data warehouse. They are starting to invest heavily in data infrastructure with data teams now getting their own budgets, propelling the meteoric rise of solutions like Snowflake. As this data stack matures, teams are looking for best-of-breed solutions to meet the needs of their organization. A good example of this is the rapid early adoption of tools like DBT, an open source tool for data transformation.

Despite this, businesses still struggle with making that data accessible and actionable within their organizations. To do this, data must be seamlessly connected to all the business tools employees use on a daily basis. Currently, they have terabytes of data in their warehouse and a plethora of tools like Salesforce, Hubspot, Marketo, Mailchimp and Zendesk but the connection between the two is still kludgy. This is where Grouparoo comes in.

It allows companies to define what’s important about customers centrally and then have those attributes synced to all of their tools. A simple example of this is a company’s VIP customers. That property can be maintained in Grouparoo and constantly synced to all of a company’s tools so both Zendesk and Mailchimp know the same set of profiles are VIP’s when taking action. The best part is this can all be maintained by business and product users. They no longer need to go to engineering for data enablement requests that are both time-consuming and frankly not the type of stuff engineers like to work on.

Open source, the right approach for this problem

We are big fans of the open source approach and feel it’s an especially good fit for this problem because:

  • By running Grouparoo on your infrastructure you retain total control over that data. With the rise of GDPR, CCPA, etc and increased consumer awareness around privacy, businesses will increasingly want control of their customer data and have the ability to centrally maintain what they pipe to their SaaS toolset.
  • Developers can easily download and start playing with Grouparoo without the friction of a traditional SaaS offering. As a community builds around their toolset, Grouparoo users will become a powerful force in driving adoption.
  • By running Grouparoo on your own infrastructure costs are better aligned. Many data and analytics SaaS offerings charge based on events or data volumes so companies must choose between cost and the fidelity of their data and insights.

Baller team with lots of continuity around the table ⛹️‍♂️⛹️‍♂️⛹️‍♂️⛹️‍♀️

I’ve saved the most important for last. Team is the clear #1 factor in every investment we make. This was especially true with Grouparoo. They are one of the best technically oriented founding teams I’ve seen at the seed stage. Brian was the founding CTO of TaskRabbit. Andy held senior product roles at TaskRabbit, Modcloth, Zynga and Stripe. And Evan was an engineering director at TaskRabbit and Modcloth as well as CPO at Voom.

As you can see, they all worked together at TaskRabbit which we feel gives them a huge advantage having already built a strong working relationship. It was there that they originally saw the pain point that Grouparoo solves. For a developer tool like Grouparoo, it’s pivotal for the founders to have a deep understanding of the problem from a developer’s point of view. This was clearly apparent of Brian, Andy and Evan as we were getting to know them.

I should add it’s awesome that our co-lead in the round Leah was TaskRabbit’s Founder/CEO. In the times of Covid where we had to do all our diligence remotely, it was comforting to know we were teaming up with someone who had such a deep working experience with the founders.

We lead seed rounds in bold founders who use code to create transformational companies.

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