Airtable makes Bayes its first acquisition to up its data visualization game

Airtable, the makers of the no-code relational database, announced its first acquisition today, acquiring Bayes, an early-stage visualization startup. The purpose of the purchase is to enhance the data visualizations on the Airtable platform. The companies did not share the purchase price.

Much like Airtable, Bayes focuses on a no-code approach, and the two companies have a shared vision about simplifying activities that once required engineering talent to pull off. Airtable CEO and co-founder Howie Liu says that while he hasn’t really been thinking about acquisitions, this opportunity came along and he liked how the team and product fit in with the Airtable no-code philosophy.

“We fell in love with the team and the product that they had built insofar as it showed us their vision for doing data visualization in a really interesting and user-friendly way that we thought would be applicable…and in spirit to be able to apply that kind of design thinking to Airtable’s product and enable our customers to basically better visualize their data,” Liu said.

Bayes’s four employees have joined Airtable and the plan is to shut down the product and incorporate the functionality into Airtable in the coming months.

Will Strimling, company co-founder, says his startup matched up well with Airtable, which he said was a huge inspiration for his company since it launched in 2019. He said that it seemed like they could be better together after the two companies began talking. “After comparing our respective roadmaps and future plans, it became clear that by working together we could build something that is greater than the sum of its parts — an Airtable with even more insights, visualizations and reporting features that will continue to improve the way teams manage workflows,” he said.

While Airtable does provide some basic visualization in the current product, Liu says that with Bayes it will really take that capability to a different level, allowing customers to create a custom interface on top of Airtable. “We’re going to provide much more advanced ways of graphing and reporting on your data. We’re also going to invest into giving our customers the ability to create truly a custom interface on top of the product,” he said.

Liu said up until now the company really lacked the scale to think about acquisitions, but with 500 employees in the fold he feels that they are sufficiently large, and also they have the talent on the executive team to execute on acquisitions now. “I think it’s harder to absorb acquisitions when you’re a very small company yourself, whereas now I think we’re at the scale where it starts to make sense to accelerate our roadmap by acquiring talent,” he said.

Airtable was founded in 2013 and has raised more than $600 million. The most recent round was a $270 million Series E at a fat $5.77 billion valuation, so from that perspective they have some financial flexibility to make these kinds of moves, and may consider additional purchases moving forward.