Command E raises $4.3 million to build the ultimate cross-app search tool


For the last two years, SF-based Command E has been quietly building a unified desktop search tool that helps uses quickly scour for files and data sources across nearly every app they use.

The small startup had taken a page from other popular workplace software tools, slowly scaling up a passionate base of early beta users in Silicon Valley and cautiously building towards a broader release. Now, Command E is ready for more attention as the tool leaves private beta and is available for download on Mac and PC.

A new generation of workplace tools has been coalescing over the past several years led by consumer-friendly, highly customizable software products like AirTable, Notion and Figma. As new challengers seem to pop up daily, a new crop of enterprise tools has emerged that simply focus on ensuring that all of these disparate tools can talk to one another. Command E’s founders want their product to go beyond data replication, giving users a command line that lets them find everything they need.

Co-founders Tom Uebel and Ben Standefer met while working on the engineering team at First Round Capital, building networking tools that could help founders in the network interact with each other. Through the course of their work, Uebel and Standefer became more familiar with the pain points of software integration workflows for different roles in the startup ecosystem. These learnings pushed the duo to start building their own front-end solution to help users pull up a search bar and find a piece of data within a few milliseconds.

“Enterprise search has traditionally been this big bulky IT integration, we’ve changed it to where you can download it and have all your accounts connected and your data synced in five minutes,” CEO Tom Uebel tells TechCrunch. “As the costs of building purpose-built tools keeps coming down, I think you’re going to see a lot of really great software continue to proliferate. Part of our thesis is that you’re going to need a layer to glue them all together in a nice way.”

The startup’s integrations now encompass a pretty wide swath of popular tools, including Google Drive, Slack, Salesforce, Gmail, Superhuman, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Jira, Confluence, Zendesk, Trello, Asana, Evernote, GitHub, Figma, Front, Greenhouse, HubSpot, Intercom, Outreach Salesloft, and yes, even Clubhouse.

The Command E team wants their search to feel like a system-level tool in terms of performance and seamlessness, something the startup’s keyboard shortcut naming alludes to. “People have a very high bar for the tools they’re going to bring into their flow,” Uebel says. “If it doesn’t work very smoothly, it’s easy to rip out.”

A big priority for the integration-heavy company is communicating how all of that data is being managed. Uebel acknowledges that it “sounds scary at first” to connect a search tool to every enterprise service, but that the document data Command E is downloading and searching through “all stays on your own machine in an encrypted database.” Uebel says Command E is wrapping up a SOC-2 audit as the company looks to assure users and the enterprises they work for that the tool’s speed doesn’t come at the cost of security.

Command E’s next big task is growing their tiny team in the midst of a lockdown, but they’ve got some capital to do so. The startup tells TechCrunch they’ve raised $4.3 million in seed funding to date from investors including Bain Capital Ventures, Craft Ventures, Amplify Partners, Abstract Ventures and Upside Partnership.

Other investors include Superhuman CEO Rahul Vohra, Brianne Kimmel, Niv Dror’s Shrug Capital and Greg Brockman.

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