At VentureFriends we love technology and we constantly look for companies doing cool but also clearly useful stuff, so when we first met Blendo’s team in mid 2016 it was love at first sight. The founders had deep knowledge about the data industry , the problem solved was clear and it was without say that we shared the same values and views regarding urgency, openness and collaboration .
At first, we had little knowledge about the “data industry” but — as most VCs should do — we studied a lot to understand the dynamics and the company’s position in the market. We knew that we couldn’t provide founders with “tech tips” — but this is not the point. In the end, it is hard for a VC investor to be able to follow all tech developments on a micro level, however she should be on top at a higher level. Knowing this, and accepting that the team are the experts we launched onboard, to learn from them and provide our support on the business, sales and marketing side directly and through our network
Product & Tech
What exactly is Blendo? Blendo is a modern ETL that helps users collect data from any cloud service (like Intercom, Mailchimp, Facebook ads, Hubspot etc.) and load it into their data warehouse easily without code or maintenance.
From early on it became clear that customers were looking not only to access their data on time, but also to be certain about its quality and consistency. To ensure that, Blendo opted for an architecture and implementation that required significant upfront technical investment, even this meant that the company would have to deviate a bit from the lean and agile best practices.
A distributed and fault tolerant system was built incorporating technologies like Apache Kafka and Akka. The resulting product offers well defined guarantees about the consistency of the data, it allows the pipelines of a customer to scale up and down depending on their data volume, ensuring that the data will always be delivered on time and all that, while isolating the pipelines between the different customers for maximum security and reliability.
Today the platform is able to scale easily to address the needs of a rapidly increasing customer base while ensuring the integrity of the data. On a typical month, Blendo is responsible for replicating more than a billion events of data, coming from a large number of different data sources and delivered to data warehouse solutions ranging from small data base instances to large Amazon Redshift clusters.
As companies look for actionable insights, it is hard for them to be truly data driven even though they may aspire to the notion that data is the new oil. Due to the “cloud effect”, data is becoming more and more scattered, stored in various 3rd party services making it hard time for companies to get access. Also the cloud application count is on the rise, with the average number of cloud applications used in an organization increasing ~ 50% YoY.
In actual numbers, the market is huge with ~50k companies, having enough and meaningful data scattered in various cloud services, and are the ideal customers for Blendo.
In essence, Blendo helps companies become truly data driven by giving them access to their data.
We met with Kostas, Giorgos and Fotis back in mid 2016 after a friend introduced us. The team at the time consisted of just the 3 founders, all of them strong data scientists with limited business experience gained from their time spent in Israel at a local incubator. Back then the company had only 2–3 customers and no clearly articulated business case studies in place. Work was needed on the sales and the business side but the most important element was in place: the team was ready and mature enough to create a product that could compare and outpace top Silicon Valley products.
Within a year Blendo has worked further on the product adding many input sources and also improved the UX. However the main feat the team has achieved in parallel, was to build useful content that generated a steady and increasing inflow of leads and soon converted customers. The founders understood the need for marketing and sales processes and took the steps to improve also on that front. The results are evident, since Blendo has now more than 100 customers globally with just 1% monthly churn and grows >10% monthly while still in the first steps of building their sales process. It is a great case where a stellar tech team gradually develops also a marketing/sales mindset and this is when wonders happen.
Finally when we invest in a team we also think wether that team is not only eager but also able to provide and receive support from the startups in our ecosystem. Having invested in other global SaaS businesses like AdEspresso (exited to Hootsuite), Viral Loops, Flashchat and ContactPigeon, Blendo is in a good company. Blendo can provide valuable help and insights about the data industry and technology trends while on the other hand, get support on sales and marketing from the other SaaS companies in the community
Building and growing a product like Blendo isn’t easy. The founders need to be extremely knowledgeable and follow the latest tech trends while building processes to acquire more and more customers. Blendo ticks all the boxes, and we are very happy to work with this amazing and passionate team.