When Klipfolio launched in 2001, the Ottawa-based startup was very different than it is today. As the internet gained mainstream use and became a source of news and entertainment for more people, the company targeted the everyday consumer and provided desktop dashboard widgets tracking things like the weather and news.
But as technology and how people use it has changed, so has the company. In 2011, Klipfolio relaunched as a cloud-based dashboard provider targeting businesses looking for a way to track their metrics in an accessible way.
The move has since paid off; Klipfolio today raised a $12 million Series B, and said its customers use 54,000 dashboards, with 36 million dashboard views To date. the company has raised $19.4 million, including 2014 seed rounds and a $6.5 million Series A in 2015. The funding round was led by OMERS Ventures, with participation from BDC Capital, Mistral Venture Partners, and Fundfire. US-based investors include BOLDstart Ventures, Acadia Woods, and CommonAngels.
“A lot of our customers struggle with what metrics to cover; what are the benchmarks, is this a good number pr bad number? We’re often sitting in the prescriptive seat where we’re guiding the path. So if they have Google Analytics, [we can offer] 12 pre-built Klips (visualizations) to choose from,” said Alan Wille, Klipfolio’s president and CEO. “If they have salesforce or ZenDesk, we have 300 integrations with cloud-based application centres.”
Wille said that the funding will go toward investing in both the pre-set templates that guide businesses that aren’t exactly sure how to start tracking metrics, and building up the platform for those who want to customize the platform for themselves.
“We know that if you put too many metrics on a dashboard — especially vanity metrics — it’s not valuable,” Wille said about how the company approaches design. “And even things that may be valuable, it gets overrun by the noise. We’re big proponents of starting small, putting metrics that are really meaningful, and that can speak to an audience that can taken action on it.”
To do this, the company also tries to take on the role of an educator, looking at best practices from their own successful customers, providing a dashboard journey guide including steps in the company’s journey, and providing webinars and documents should their customers have questions about certain metrics.
“Very often if you have a metric that is a pure number, you have to look at that and ask yourself, ‘is this a vanity metric or not?’, because a pure number doesn’t give you any efficiency ratio, directionality, or acceleration or deceleration,” said Wille.
Klipfolio plans to expand its 68-person team and hire 45 more people at its Ottawa headquarters throughout 2017.
An example would be looking at Twitter followers, which on its own, doesn’t tell companies how engaged their followers are, or how much they’re growing. “For metrics that aren’t vanity, you’ll look at the ratio. So you want to see efficiency between some number and some other number, which tells you how quickly you’re growing, or how efficient your growth margin is, or what you’re spending as a percentage on a program. Those are much easier to look at and action,” Wille said, adding that this also makes it easier to compare benchmarks to other companies.
Klipfolio plans to expand its 68-person team and hire 45 more people at its Ottawa headquarters throughout 2017. “I think Ottawa has a lot of tech history, and if you look at companies that were and the new companies that are growing, that SaaS history is really flourishing. With that comes communities, meetups, and information-sharing,” Wille said. “We have universities and colleges that are tremendous. We’ve built relationships with the University of Ottawa and Carleton that we use as recruiting facilities.”
While the company plans to scale to service its small business community, Wille said that he’s not interested in the crowded enterprise market at the moment—a market that already has countless professional and governance services to choose from. And with large volumes of data, enterprise is still working on fully moving to the cloud, which is the time when Klipfolio’s solution might be helpful.
“As we scale, we need to work on performance. We’re at 7,000 customers today, but as we scale to 10,000 and above, we need to invest in a platform and its scalability,” said Wille.