The Story Behind Haystack’s Investment In Databook
In the fall of 2019, as we were opening a new fund (Haystack V), and old friend/mentor of mine Josh Stein pinged me about a deal he was leading in a company called Databook. He and his colleague did a lot of work on the sales intelligence space and asked us to considering joining. We rearranged schedules and brought the team down to Palo Alto for coffee to meet Anand Shah (no relation!), the CEO, in person.
Knowing that we didn’t have a lot of time, we pressed Anand to get to know him, learn about his business, and all the other things we wanted to know. We promised him a decision in 48 hours. This was a more full seed round, as Databook had a product in market with customers and revenue. Anand fit the pattern of the type of founder we like to back — a product-oriented founder who uncovered a secret in their previous role (for Anand, in management consulting) through deep analysis. We offered to take the rest of the round, and that proved to be a good decision.
In the last two years, Anand and the Databook team have carried the product and team to new heights. The team raised a strong Series A during the pandemic, led by Microsoft, which is a feat in and of itself. They’ve added to the core team, executive ranks, and started nabbing some big logos. This all came to a head early in 2022 with Databook receiving a significant amount of investment interest, even in the face of volatile capital markets. The result is today, Databook announces their Series B round led by Bessemer, with DFJ Growth participating. We’d like to congratulate the entire team on this mini-milestone, especially attracting high quality partners in the face of wonky markets.
One of lessons learned in venture is that selling software into the sales department of technology companies is a good lane to explore because the sales orgs do drive revenue and the old line “the VP Sales has a credit card.” The other lesson is that long-term relationships like the one I have with Josh really drive the engine of the Bay Area deal flow. I met Josh over a decade ago. He was a board member at a company I worked for, Swell. I consulted for DFJ for a bit, too. It was always very easy to share opportunities with Josh because he treated founders well and brought a wealth of SaaS experience to those discussions. In this case, Josh shared something back to us, and we are grateful he did.