Instabase raises $105m sent to unicorn status
App store for banks Instabase has raised $105 million in its Series B funding round, valuing the start-up at more than $1 billion – sending it to unicorn status.
Led by new investor Index Ventures, the round attracted other new investors Spark Capital, Tribe Capital, Glynn Capital and SC Ventures, with participation from existing backers Greylock Partners, Andreessen Hrowitz and New Enterprise Associates (NEA).
The San Francisco-founded fintech has raised $132 million since it began in 2015, and says it hopes to use its latest capital injection to hire a bigger team and scale its core platform.
“The addressable opportunity for Instabase is staggering as the market is transitioning towards intelligent automation,” says Index Ventures partner Sarah Cannon, who will be joining Instabase’s board.
The start-up tells banks to think of them “like an erector set — a simple collection of pulleys, gears, and levers that can be transformed into complex machines”. In other words, banks can use the store’s apps as building blocks for faster innovation by automating parts of their business.
Instabase’s CEO and founder, Anant Bhardwaj, asks the industry why we have an app store for a dozen apps to have food delivered to your door, but not an app store for large enterprises like banks to deliver automated processes like income verification.
Investors are calling Bhardwaj’s start-up “something incredible”, with NEA’s general partner and enterprise investing head, Pete Sosini, says it’s “pioneering what the future of automation will be”.
Originally from rural eastern Indian state Bihar, Bhardwaj began formulating the idea for Instabase while studying for a PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab.
Now his newly-branded unicorn says it works with half of the top ten US financial institutions, but Bhardwaj’s aim is to eventually expand into industries beyond banking, such as logistics, healthcare, government and telecommunications.