Four-year-old SaaS company Fishtown Analytics announced Wednesday that it had raised a $12.9 million Series A, its first significant round of fundraising for the formerly bootstrapped company.
The round — technically a combined seed and Series A round — was lead by noted Silicon Valley VC firms Andreessen Horowitz and Amplify Partners and with the goal of boosting the current team, which started 2020 with about 15 employees, to around 50 by the end of the year, CEO Tristan Handy told Technical.ly on Monday.
The company moved from the former 1776 Washington Square space to an office near 9th and Spring Garden streets last year, and has additional team members in San Francisco, Denver, Austin and Raleigh.
Cofounders Handy, Drew Banin and Connor McArthur are all RJMetrics alumni, and Handy said that they took what they learned at the company and applied it to developing Fishtown Analytics. Handy specifically mentioned a lesson that RJMetrics cofounder Bob Moore wrote about at the end of 2019, on finding your right place in an ecosystem.
That lesson wasn’t lost on the trio, and the more they worked on a product called dbt (data build tool), an SQL-based data analytics tool that they launched back in 2016 while at RJ Metrics, the more they felt it could stand out on its own.
“As Drew, Connor and I thought more about it, we thought it was really good and we wanted to see where it could go,” Handy said. So they rolled out the product into Fishtown Analytics and bootstrapped the company with mostly consulting services.
And since, they’ve been aggressively growing the dbt community: About 1,700 companies use the product, and there’s a Slack community of about 5,000, according to the CEO. Locally, companies such as goPuff and Crossbeam are on the roster. (Moore, who now runs Crossbeam, revealed himself to be an early investor in Fishtown Analytics during a February panel event hosted by Accel and Philly Startup Leaders.)
Handy said that the company had the option for venture capital for a while now, but that it wasn’t necessarily ready until recently. From when his team decided to go ahead and put a round together to closing the deal took about 10 weeks, he said.
“It was a little nerve-wracking, closing during a pandemic, but we’ve been bootstrapping for three-and-a-half years, we’ve been profitable for most of our history,” Handy said. “So if the round had fallen apart, we would have gone about our business.”
In that case, they likely wouldn’t have been able to be as aggressive with hiring as they intend to be, he said. For the 30+ roles the company wants to add this year, many are in product and engineering roles.
For the last few years, there’s been about four engineers supporting the product that thousands of people are using.
“To say that we were understaffed on the engineering side would be putting it mildly,” Handy said.
So, they’ll focus on adding to the company roster (remotely) for the foreseeable future, but goals for the rest of the year include continuing to work on how the dbt community can connect online and eventually IRL; at least one new hire is related to events.
“Our community is large and growing, and constantly asking for things from us, so our roadmap is doing more of the things they want faster,” Handy said.
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