Our investment in Causal: Bringing spreadsheets into the modern era
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of building and managing large spreadsheets across teams and data sources, you’ll be all too familiar with the associated headaches. You’ll likely have spent hours grappling with cryptic formulas, working out how to incorporate your company’s data sources, and then more time establishing how to maintain formula and version integrity while collaborating with several team members. In short, while the number crunching in businesses is no longer limited to the finance team, spreadsheets have failed to evolve in order to accommodate today’s data-driven collaborative workforce.
But, when it comes to finding a new way for cross-departmental teams to work with numbers, there’s a careful balance that has to be struck. On the one hand, finance teams are familiar with Excel’s interface, so it’s a challenge to shift them away from its grid-like appearance. On the other hand, today’s workforce wants a modelling tool that is easy to use and implement and provides the ability to model scenarios and analyze outputs on the fly with others.
Enter Causal - a new way to work with numbers. Created by talented, product-focused co-founders Taimur Abdaal and Lukas Koebis, Causal is a collaborative, horizontal tool that every knowledge worker can use for business planning and forecasting. When we met Taimur and Lukas, we were struck by how sophisticated a product they’d built just between the two of them. The intuitive Excel-like interface we’re all familiar with is still there, but Taimur and Lukas have supercharged it.
Causal enables data integrations (Stripe, QuickBooks, Shopify, and Salesforce to name a few), includes numerous collaboration features and produces high-quality, configurable visualizations in just one click. Beyond all of this, Taimur and Lukas have leveraged their data science and mathematics backgrounds to offer complex models out of the box, giving advanced users the ability to harness much more powerful predictive capabilities. Yet Causal's formulas read like plain english — "Profit = Revenue - Costs" — and it typically takes 100x fewer formulas in Causal to build exactly the same model in Excel. Click here to see an example.
The opportunity ahead for Causal is huge. Yes, finance teams can use Causal for financial modelling and scenario planning. But then there’s the ability for headcount planning and budgeting in HR, ad spend planning and campaign tracking in marketing and more.
We’re looking forward to joining Taimur, Lukas and the growing Causal team on the next phase of their journey, a future without spreadsheet headaches!