AlphaSheets is a self-described “end-end analytics platform that’s as simple as a spreadsheet and as powerful as a data warehouse”.
I’ve played with it and it’s like Google Sheets with some cool extra features.
The product has been in active development since 2015, their first public beta launched in 2016, and since then it kept getting more mature and feature-complete.
The company raised $5.5M and got acqui-hired by Google in 2018.
My understanding is that during its 2 years of being publicly launched, the product didn’t get to the milestone of having one single serious user. But most of the human labor was relentlessly allocated into feature development, as if reaching some threshold of features would lead them to solve the traction problem.
A software product under development for 3 years without a single active user is basically the definition of a bloated MVP.
But wasn’t it complicated tech?
I agree that the product they built is pretty complicated, definitely more complicated than most startups’ software products. But was the complexity warranted? That all depends on the value prop story, and they didn’t seem to have one.
And in order to justify not being a lean startup, they would have needed to (1) have a specific value prop story and (2) have a good reason why the main hypothesis to prove is one of technical execution, not market need.
I’m pretty confident that whatever realistic value prop story one might tell about needing Alphasheets, one could then have scoped a much smaller MVP that could do the job.