Non-dilutive funding takes dbt Labs from bootstrapped to venture-backed
One modest round of funding helped them hit major milestones that led to raises from Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia, and Altimeter.
Use of funds:
Build a world-class team of engineers
Expand its product offering
Drive revenue growth
Lighter Capital Funding
Grew customer base to over 6,000 accounts
Raised $150 million in Series C funding
Growth & Achievements
dbt Labs, a software and consultancy company founded in 2017, has made remarkable strides since receiving initial funding from Lighter Capital in 2019. The company’s long-term objective is to improve the way data analysts work through higher-leverage tooling. dbt Labs’ professional services team, composed of analytics engineers, supports companies with data organization via modeling. The team builds and maintains dbt, an open-source data modeling tool used by over 5,000 companies today. dbt Labs’s clients include JetBlue Airways, Casper, Invision, Gitlab, and Hubspot, to name a few.
On June 30, 2021, dbt Labs announced its third major investment round since early 2020. The round was co-led by Altimeter, as well as prior investors Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz. It is rare to see not only a series A, but a series B and C in a 16 month time span. The company’s novel approach to data transformation is used by companies ranging from early stage startups to blue-chip Fortune 500 companies.
dbt has seen widespread and growing traction. Snowflake, a cloud computing-based data warehousing company, recently qualified dbt as a Validated Technology, and over 5,000 companies use dbt as part of their weekly analytics engineering workflow.
The short timeframe between dbt Lab’s Series A, Series B, and now Series C signals strong investor confidence. As more organizations see the need to streamline and leverage their data, dbt will likely see growing demand for its services. Snowflake’s recent IPO, Databricks’ rapid growth, and the multi-billion-dollar acquisitions from Google and Salesforce all indicate a large market opportunity.
Getting started with Lighter Capital
In 2019, dbt Labs reached out to Lighter Capital for funding. Lighter Capital helps fund companies through a revenue-based financing solution that scales with a business‘s growth, allowing entrepreneurs to focus on their company’s development without giving up equity, personal guarantees, or board seats.
The funding from Lighter Capital allowed dbt Labs to build a world-class team of engineers while expanding its product offering. Lighter Capital’s funding gave dbt Labs the necessary time to develop its growth and funding paths.
dbt Labs CEO, Tristan Handy, considers bootstrapping, and later raising capital from Lighter, to be a core part of the company’s success.
“We didn’t set out with an explicit goal to become a VC-backed company,” said Handy. “We were extremely happy just running a profitable small business that did good work for good people if that’s what made the most sense. Accepting venture money means giving up a certain amount of control over your long-term trajectory, and we just weren’t sure that we were ready to do that. The investments we made with the Lighter Capital dollars were exactly what gave us the confidence to charge down the VC-backed route, and we’ve never looked back.”
The $150m in Series C financing from Altimeter and existing partners Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz will allow dbt Labs to further build out an extraordinary team of engineers and expand the breadth dbt’s product suite. “Cash gives us time, and time gives us the freedom to think big,” said Handy.