We're pleased to announce our seed round in support of our vision to build a new spreadsheet for working with numbers. The $4.2m round is led by Accel, with participation from existing investors Coatue, Passion Capital, Naval Ravikant, and others.
Spreadsheets are used for 2 things:
- Number-crunching — modelling, forecasting, calculations, data visualisation
- Everything else — business processes, project management, lightweight database, CRM
No-code tools like Airtable and Notion are taking over the 'everything else'. Causal is taking over number-crunching.
Companies work with numbers across the org for business planning and decision-making. From the core financial model and scenario plans in finance, to pipeline forecasting and commission calculations in sales, to ad spend planning in marketing.
For the past 40 years, spreadsheets have been the way to work with numbers on a computer. But today, spreadsheets no longer fit the way we work.
We are building the new de-facto way to work with numbers on a computer.
Spreadsheets are broken for working with numbers.
Spreadsheets operate at the wrong level of abstraction.
Numbers, in our heads, represent meaningful concepts — Revenue, Sales, Salary. But spreadsheets force us to turn these into "cells" — A4:H4, $E$12, Sheet2!B1 — and the meaning is lost in translation.
Cells are the wrong building blocks for working with numbers, and this fundamental issue causes problems at every point in a user's workflow.
1. Hard to build, harder to maintain
When the building blocks are cells, formulas are expressed in cell references.
Simple concepts in your head become complex riddles in a spreadsheet:
And most of your work consists of duplication — to forecast sales of 3 different products in 2 different countries across 24 months, you'll need 144 copies of the same conceptual formula.
If you think you've safely parsed through all the formulas build a complete model, then you're probably wrong — 80% of spreadsheets contain errors due to incorrect formulas.
2. Disconnected from your stack
Data is an inherent part of working with numbers, but spreadsheets are disconnected from your data sources.
Finance teams spend 5–10 hours manually exporting CSVs from accounting packages (Xero, Quickbooks, NetSuite) to update their financial models each month, marketing teams manually copy numbers from ads platforms and analytics tools, and sales teams duplicate the data in their CRM.
Working on a spreadsheet model inside a team is a challenge. Incomprehensible formulas and lack of version control make it difficult to understand not only your team's work, but even your own work from last month.
And to share it with others, you'll need to copy and paste charts and tables into slide decks and emails (no one will understand your spreadsheet file).
But people need to play with the numbers to understand the model ("What happens if we can cut our churn rate in half?"). They can't answer these questions themselves via static charts — each request comes with communication overhead via emails and meetings.
The end result — finance teams are the gatekeepers to business planning and decision-making; processes that need to involve every team in a company.
Causal is a better way to work with numbers
Our vision is for a tool that empowers anyone in a company to build, share, and understand models. This is only possible with a tool that's truly horizontal, letting any team apply it to their own use-cases, as well as collaborate cross-functionally with other teams.
Formulas designed for humans
Causal's innovation starts with choosing the right fundamental building block for working with numbers. We call them variables. In this example, a single formula for a single variable forecasts Revenue for 3 different products across 4 different geographies.
Connected to the rest of your stack
Causal's data integrations plug directly into your your accounting system, analytics tools, ads platforms, and CRM.
We automatically roll your forecasts forwards when new data comes in, and automatically track the performance of your model against reality ("budget vs actuals").
Causal creates beautiful visuals in a few clicks, and automatically generates interactive dashboards to present your outputs. Viewers can safely play with the numbers to understand a model, without any chance of breaking anything. And live charts can be embedded anywhere:
Our customers love it
Probably the most exciting tool I've found on the internet in a long time. Incredibly well built too. It's almost too easy. I wish I knew about your product before I spent days creating our model. Unfortunately 4 weeks of hard work on Google Sheets has been thrown out of the window because it seems I can recreate the entire model in a day or so...
— Tal Meser, CEO of Tapi
Over the past year, we've developed our product alongside a set of early users and customers across a wide range of use-cases.
Finance teams at high-growth companies like OnDeck and Smarkets have replaced their Excel financial models with Causal.
Causal saves finance teams 5–10 hours per month on manual data entry via our data integrations with accounting systems (Xero, QuickBooks, NetSuite, etc.) and allows management and department heads to actively engage with the financial model, playing with the numbers in real-time in meeting to make decisions.
Outside of finance, Causal is used by marketing teams and agencies to forecast ad campaigns; by engineering teams to plan cloud spend; by sales teams to model out their pipeline. Think-tanks and non-profits use Causal to perform cost-effectiveness analyses, and individuals build Causal models for everything from personal financial planning to video game strategy modelling.
We're pleased to be partnering with Accel as the lead investor in our seed round. They join a stellar roster of existing investors including Coatue, Passion Capital, Naval Ravikant, Scott Belsky (Adobe), Sahil Lavingia (Gumroad), and others.
Our vision is to replace spreadsheets as the de-facto tool for working with numbers. This is a tall order, and we'd love your help filling it — we're actively hiring for roles across engineering, sales, and finance.
If you're interested, check out our product roadmap here. And the next time you need to work with numbers, sign up and give Causal a try!