Unicorns

Instabase tops $1B valuation with app-building tool suite

October 21, 2019
Four years ago, Anant Bhardwaj abandoned his doctoral work at MIT to be a startup founder. Today, he runs a data solutions company that just earned a valuation north of $1 billion.

Instabase announced Monday that it has raised $105 million in a Series B led by Index Ventures. Other VC stalwarts including Greylock, NEA and Andreessen Horowitz also participated in the round.

The San Francisco-based company, which has raised $132 million in VC financing to date, has logged a valuation roughly eight times the $125 million valuation it reached in 2017.

The company provides a suite of tools and building blocks for pre-packaged apps, after Bhardwaj identified an opportunity to serve companies that simply needed an app to scan PDF documents to separate text from images. In addition to processing multiple data formats using optical character recognition, the company leverages machine leaning and natural-language processing to extract documents and draft reports and integrate internal tools.

Bhardwaj (pictured) told PitchBook that while Instabase is still a small company with about 40 employees, it has been selling the software for the last 14 to 16 months and was able to get several large institutions to pay more than $1 million each annually. 

"We don't build custom apps for clients," he said, while highlighting how the platform provides a framework for automating the processing of unstructured and offline data. "We (provide) them with the toolkit so that they can do it themselves."

It seems that one reason Instabase has garnered interest from some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley is its platform's burgeoning use cases, which can vary from automating onboarding processes for corporate clients to helping a bank comb through tax documents or scans of pay stubs and bank statements.

"Many universities use Instabase for teaching classes—so it's very diverse," Bhardwaj said.

And customization is key to these processes. For example, when Standard Chartered first approached Instabase in 2017, it needed to customize the platform to conduct a fraud search. Instabase teamed with the global financial institution to automate client onboarding, credit documentation and other processes last year.

Bhardwaj said that, for now, a majority of his customers are in either banking or insurance. The company plans to expand into areas including healthcare, logistics, government and telecommunications.

Featured image via PeopleImages/E+/Getty Images; photo of CEO Anant Bhardwaj courtesy of Instabase

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