Why I Invested: Airtable

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Why I invested: A writing series on early stage angel investing chronicling the rationales behind various early stage tech bets by Pete Kazanjy.

I love Airtable. It’s such a killer product, and since I invested in 2017 I’ve only come to love it more and more. I’m an unapologetic homer in the worst way.

I knew Howie from Crowdflower, and then after his eTacts business was acquired by Salesforce he met with me to talk strategy when Salesforce was briefly looking at potentially acquiring TalentBin.

Later on Ben Cmejla from First Round Capital introduced me to the Airtable product, and we started running parts of Modern Sales Pros out of it, and that was the point that it really started clicking for me.

It was very clear quickly that Howie had taken the promise of point and click development from Salesforce (which as someone who is a pretty good Salesforce admin, Salesforce is not point and click. Not even close. Not even on the same continent.) and created the actual underpinnings. Plus it was a massive delight to use. Literally fun to click around, “configuring state” in an Airtable.

Combined with Zapier, you could see how it was the beginnings of something really powerful. Things like MS Access and other desktop-based “databases” had always struggled for true scale because they were too technical for broad adoption. Too close to a real database, but too far from spreadsheet. But the desire paths were there - as evidenced by the bajillion Google Sheets / Excel docs trying to be lightweight databases with hacked “choose from this list” data validation fields. Something needed to tie it together. It was clear that Google Apps and Microsoft wouldn’t do anything like this for years and years, and that this could get adopted like wildfire within businesses who then run important workflows through various Airtables (and never churn off of those Airtables!)

After my obsession grew to an unhealthy level, I pinged Howie congratulating them on the amazing product, and asked if I could invest in their next round, I’d be overjoyed, and would be down to help out with whatever go-to-market things I could help with.

I was lucky enough to put a check into their Series B, and continue to love using Airtable for everything that it could possibly be used for and tell everyone about how rad it is.

 
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