Flatfile’s founders describe how they used a personal frustration to ‘rage-design’ a product that just raised $35 million

David Boskovic Flatfile

Summary List Placement

While David Boskovic and Eric Crane were working at office software startup Envoy in 2017, they couldn’t believe how hard it was to handle and clean up the firm’s data. 

So, out of that “personal frustration” they “rage designed” a side project, which they called Flatfile, that could automatically organize and format data. 

Boskovic quit Envoy to focus on the project full-time in December 2018 and the firm just announced a $35 million Series A round on Wednesday led by Scale Venture Partners. The firm’s total funding is $42.6 million; it now has a valuation of $185 million. After launching in June, Flatfile has already raked in 300 customers, including Toast and Hubspot. 

Many companies still use manual spreadsheets to onboard customer data, and Flatfile wanted to create a better experience, according to CEO Boskovic. Major corporations, grocery stores, schools and hospitals all face the challenge of having to import, clean up, and fix massive amounts of data. 

“It’s so essential to the customer journey that we’ve been able to scale really quickly after solving this core, specific pain point,” Boskovic told Insider. 

With the funding, Flatfile plans to scale its team — which has been completely remote from day 1 — by about 100 new positions over the next 12 months. Some of those people will focus on helping it tailor the product to the major Fortune 500 or 100 companies that it’s seen interest from lately, Boskovic said. 

“Being able to scale a product that serves that level of requirements is going to be a big challenge for us,” Boskovic said. The firm is “trying to build a team and bring incredible people to process the demand,” he added. 

How Flatfile convinced VCs to invest

Boskovic and Crane spent much of their careers building enterprise software, and they frequently saw how that software could be “useless” if the data it was supposed to process wasn’t ready. 

“That’s one of our main selling points to our customers,”  said Crane, Flatfile’s COO. “We know how to get it right. We can help you delight your customer in an experience that would otherwise be a job for them to do.”

Eric Crane Flatfile

When Flatfile was still a side project, about 20 companies started using it to save time on data processing — time which they could put to work on more impactful tasks for the business, Crane said. 

“We saw that opportunity both in the market and just this incredible ability to observe the decisions users were making as they map this data,” Boskovic said. “It got us excited to quit our jobs and start a startup.”

The first fundraising round was tough, as Flatfile had to convince investors there was a market for its product, Boskovic said. To do that, it shared many of its success stories from customers like grocery stores, insurance companies, and more.

“That’s one of the bigger challenges of building this business: Teaching people about the possibilities of this product and scaling the business at the same time,” Boskovic said. “There’s a challenge and an opportunity here. Every investor loves to be the first to discover a problem.”

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