Data-analysis startup Looker thanks its happy customers for its ability to raise $103 million at a $1.6 billion valuation

Looker Executives.JPG

  • Looker, a business intelligence startup based in Santa Cruz, California, just raised $103 million in a series E funding round. 
  • Looker is now at unicorn status with a valuation of $1.6 billion, according to a person familiar with the company, with $280.5 million raised in total since it was founded in 2013. 
  • According to Looker CEO Frank Bien, the key to being able to attract investors was strong customer satisfaction.

A Santa Cruz, California-based startup just became tech’s newest unicorn.

The six-year-old business intelligence company Looker just closed $103 million in a series E funding round led by Premji Invest, with further investment from Cross Creek Advisors and Looker’s current investors. This puts Looker at a $1.6 billion valuation, according to a person familiar with the company. Looker has raised $280.5 million since it was founded in 2013.

The company also says that its revenue grew 70% and has crossed the $100 million run rate. Looker CEO Frank Bien, previously an executive with companies including VMware’s Virsto subsidiary and EMC, was drawn to the company’s vision of simplifying business intelligence.

“I’ve been in Looker since pretty much the beginning,” Bien told Business Insider. “It’s always been the same vision. We saw that the analytics and business intelligence market was a mess. That’s because the data supply chain has become so complex.”

Looker aims to make it easier for its customers to use data to drive business decisions. With the Looker platform, the company promises any business user can ask and answer their own questions based on data. It prepares and visualizes data, including analytics on digital marketing and web events. Competitors to Looker include Tableau and Domo, both public companies. 

Bien believes that Looker caught the interest of investors because of its happy customers. With the funding, Looker plans to invest in its product and sales teams. Sandesh Patnam, lead partner at Premji Invest, also sees potential for Looker to go public.

“We’re incredibly excited about the company for a variety of reasons. Frank and the entire management team is a seasoned team that knows the data space very well. They’ve thought about how they will build Looker,” Patnam told Business Insider.

Read more: $865 million Mixpanel is slashing prices for startups and nonprofits because data analytics is a ‘necessary component, not a luxury’ for modern business

Looker now has about 1600 customers, including Sony, Amazon, IBM, Lyft, and Spotify. This year, it also added about 500 new customers, including Cisco, ESPN and Five Guys.

“It’s acceptance of the platform,” Bien says of its increasing traction with customers. “They see the value of doing data in a new way,” Bien said.

Since it was founded in 2012, Looker has grown to 600 employees, one-third of whom joined this year alone.

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