Layer, a Berlin-based startup building a productivity platform for spreadsheets, has raised €5 million in a seed funding round led by Index Ventures with participation from pre-seed backer btov Partners. The tool, which adds collaboration and workflow features on top of MS Excel and Google Sheets, is actually still in private beta and expected to launch publicly in 2021.

A slieu of angel investors also joined the round, including Ajay Vashee (CFO at Dropbox), Carlos Gonzales-Cadenaz (COO of GoCardless), Felix Jahn (founder and CEO of McMakler), Matt Robinson (founder of GoCardless and Nested) and Max Tayenthal (co-founder and CFO of N26).

“Talk to anyone trying to collaborate with their colleagues on complex spreadsheets, and you will encounter a frustrated user. Having experienced this ourselves, we knew there must be a better way, and that’s what we are building in Layer, “ said co-founder Constantin Schünemann.

Schünemann met Moritz ten Eikelder at Helpling, an online platform for on-demand home services, while he was the global head of business development and ten Eikelder was the CFO. Both heavy spreadsheet users, they decided to channel their frustrations with Excel and Google Sheets into a solution. After teaming up with product experts David Barnowsky and Ernests Karlsons, they launched the company in early 2019 and raised €1 million a few months later.

Commenting on the promise of the forthcoming tool, Index Ventures’ Max Rimpel said: “Spreadsheets are one of the most successful UI’s ever created, but they’ve been built primarily for a single user, not for large distributed organisations with many teams and departments inputting data to a single document. Just as GitHub has helped developers contribute seamlessly to a single code base, Layer is now bringing sophisticated collaboration tools to the one billion spreadsheet users across the globe.”

Photo, from left to right: David Barnowsky, Moritz ten Eikelder, Ernests Karlsons and Constantin Schünemann

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