According to IDC, global revenues for Big Data and business analytics are estimated to grow 12% annually to $203 billion by the year 2020 from $130.1 billion in 2016. Santa Cruz-based Looker is a potential Billion-Dollar Unicorn club member in the industry.
Looker was founded in 2011 by Marc Randolph, Ben Porterfield and Lloyd Tabb. In my Thought Leaders in Big Data interview, CEO Frank Bien claims that Looker is be a new kind of data analytics and business intelligence solution provider that focuses on providing end users with new levels of exploration capabilities above very large and complex sets of data. It believes that for businesses to thrive, information should be easily accessible and consistently defined across the entire organization. With the presence of Big Data, everyone within a company is able to look at the same numbers, share the same truth, and thus collectively make smarter, more informed decisions.
Unlike players like Tableau (NYSE:DATA) which focus more on data visualization, Looker focuses on interdepartmental data and correlates large and complex data sets to derive meaningful value out of them. For instance, for a same-day hotel booking company HotelTonight, Looker helped identify the need to build programs around customer referrals. For online mobile payments application, Venmo, Looker helped identify problems that were affecting customer support.
Looker has leveraged several partnerships to deliver its growth. It has tied up with companies like Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ:AMZN) and has integrated with the visualization services of Tableau to power reports and charts. The partnerships have helped it deliver products that update almost instantly on a company's website.
Looker earns revenues through a subscription-based offering. Subscription ranges from $3,000-$5,000 per month for 10 users. It does not disclose detailed financials, but last year, had mentioned that it had revenues in the "low to mid-tens of millions." It has been growing at more than 400% annually and its customer list includes names like Docker, eBay, Sony, Uber, Instacart, and Warby Parker.
It has been venture funded so far with $177.5 million in funding raised from investors including CapitalG, First Round, Geodesic Capital, Goldman Sachs, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Meritech Capital Partners, PivotNorth Capital, Redpoint, and Sapphire Ventures. Its last funding round was held earlier this year when it raised $81.5 million in a round that was led by Alphabet's growth investment arm Capital G. The round valued Looker at $850 million, close to the Billion-Dollar mark. Looker will use the money for international expansion. The latest funding round also makes Looker one of the most highly-funded BI startups.