When Nexla launched a data operations platform at TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield in 2017, building applications on top of that data was not necessarily a well understood concept. As time has gone on, however, the company has matured alongside the machine learning market, and today it’s able to help customers build applications based on the data that Nexla manages and processes.
As it has done this, it has grown slowly and steadily, attaining cash-flow positive status much earlier than most startups. As founder and CEO Saket Saurabh told TechCrunch, the company did that at a time when burning large amounts of venture capital was the way to do things.
Saurabh chose to grow his company differently, and when investors began looking for efficiency over growth as we turned to 2023, Nexla was well positioned for this change. Today, the company was rewarded with an $18 million investment.
He says that putting the data inside his software to work is the end goal now. “So we ended up with this very powerful concept of data products that we have built out and the data product has become a central thing that then enables you to integrate the data in Nexla to share the data and collaborate with it,” he told TechCrunch.
The applications approach has become so central to what the company is doing, they have begun offering an organized way to distribute them. “We recently launched the ability to take these data products in an organization and put them into an internal marketplace where employees can discover and make use of them,” Saurabh said.
He pointed out that his company has plenty of cash being generated from sales, and hadn’t spent much of the previous round, but when investors came knocking, he had to pay attention, especially at a time where many startups are having a hard time raising money. Without a ton of effort, he said that the company had an oversubscribed round.
Perhaps that’s because the startup reports big-name customers like DoorDash, Johnson & Johnson, LinkedIn and American Express. It’s also growing with almost 100 employees, and is hiring with plans to hit 150 in the next eight to nine months.
He says that by having a mix of remote and hybrid work, he’s been able to create a more diverse employee base, as opposed to being confined to one geographical area. “It has improved our diversity a lot, especially internationally speaking, where [many of] our hires are coming from. So both gender diversity and general background diversity are actually significantly improved with this approach,” he said.
Today’s $18 million investment was led by Shield Capital with participation from existing investors Blumberg Capital, Engineering Capital, Storm Ventures, Industry Ventures and Liberty Global. Shield Capital partner Mike Brown will be joining the Nexla board under the terms of the agreement.