Rising Big Data Star Looker Raises $103 Million In Series E Funding

Big data analytics software developer Looker Data Sciences has raised $103 million in Series E financing, the company said Thursday, additional funding the company plans to use to accelerate its product development efforts and support its expanding operations.

The new funding brings Looker's total financing to $280.5 million since 2013. The latest financing round was led by Premji Invest with new investment from Cross Creek Advisors and participation from the company's previous investors.

Looker, founded in 2011 and based in Santa Cruz, Calif., is a rising star in the business intelligence and data analytics platform arena. The company develops a big data analytics platform and Software-as-a-Service business intelligence applications. The Looker system consolidates data from scattered sources and performs a range of data preparation, cataloging, governance and visualization tasks.

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In October the company introduced Looker 6 with new purpose-built applications for digital marketing and web analytics, self-service analysis capabilities for business users, and a suite of development tools for data analysts.

The company also markets Powered by Looker, business analytics software that other software companies embed within their products.

"At Premji, we look for the highest-quality companies that are uniquely positioned to become leaders in their industry," said Sandesh Patnam, lead partner at Premji Invest in the U.S., in a statement. "We chose to invest in Looker because we were impressed with Looker's business execution, product differentiation and vision. We are excited to lead this round to support Looker's rapid growth and improve their position in a growing industry."

Looker's revenue grew more than 70 percent between Oct. 31, 2017, and Oct. 31, 2018, the company said, and added almost 500 new customers during the year including Cisco, ESPN, Trivago, Marks and Spencer, Five Guys, Bell Media and Live Nation Entertainment. The company said more than 185,000 users at over 1,600 customer organizations now use the Looker software.

'We believe that data becomes exponentially more valuable when it is intelligently integrated together, at scale, across the entire organization, so Looker took a uniquely different and modern approach to the myriad of point solutions and single-use data tools," said Looker CEO Frank Bien in a statement. "We built a new platform for data that greatly simplifies the data supply chain, so organizations can extract value from their data more quickly."

CFO Joe Moran, in an interview with CRN, said the company will use some of the funding to maintain its growing sales to enterprise customers, those with 500 or more employees, and continue its international expansion. The company now has 600 employees, including 200 added this year, in seven offices around the world, including an office opened this year in Tokyo.

The investment in sales and marketing will also include expansion of Looker's channel activities, Moran said, both in North America and globally – especially in Japan. Currently the company has about 20 employees on its alliances team working with technology and channel partners.

"It's a great lead source," Moran said of Looker's North American partner ecosystem, which he said brings a deal close rate about 25 percent higher than leads the vendor generates. "It is really critical for us to build those relationships in the U.S."

Moran said the latest funding round would likely be the last private equity round for Looker, noting that the company's cash flow will become self-sustaining with the latest investment. Looker has no immediate plans for an initial public offering, he said, and will go public only when the time is right for the company and the market, rather than for any need to raise capital.