Our Investment in OneSchema

Bridging Business Through Their Existing CSV-Based Processes
November 16, 2022
min read

It’s often forgotten that the world of technology is in some ways not as fast moving as we think. Illustratively, it’s been over 20 years since the first web became available. Windows is over 35 years old and still has vastly dominant market share (75%+). The humble spreadsheet is a fixture and more than that—the Excel file format and CSVs writ large are a lingua franca for businesses to communicate digitally with one another. It’s used in everything from invoicing, supply chain, media buys, to inventory, quotes, pricing schedules, etc.— businesses of all scales have spreadsheets and CSV files as part of their digital fabric. This goes back to VisiCalc and Lotus 1-2-3 even long before Excel, which predates Google Sheets. CSVs are universal, and as a result, are relied on to bridge across software systems in order to move data around in a scalable way.

When I first met OneSchema’s Co-Founder and CEO Christina Gilbert and Co-Founder and CTO Andrew Luo—they got it. They possess tremendous empathy for the business users who are just trying to get work done and move things along, but spend countless hours taking spreadsheets from customers and partners and preening them to fit into their own local digital landscape. They knew there was a better way.  

We believe OneSchema is that better way. They have built a highly scalable, high-performance and flexible engine to ingest these files and allow a business to assert how to fit it into their own digital landscape. A little engineering can yield remarkable leverage to business users on both sides—the senders and the receivers—not just making things easier, but eliminating the rote preening work and tightening accuracy of the resultant business processes.

This sounds like simple stuff—but there is a reason the ETL business is so large—it’s hard to get right, and ensure reproducibility and scalability. It’s more challenging to customize it for the specifics of any one business and its unique processes and combination of tools and systems. OneSchema enables us to rely on CSV files as a way to deal with the impedance mismatch that is persistent between software systems and business processes—externally and internally. This is just the beginning—consider all the ways that impedance mismatch can exist across a business.

A little over a year ago, I first met Christina and Andrew. What struck me immediately, and is literally written in my notes, was how curious they were about everything—technical approaches, go-to-market history, why users behaved in certain ways, impact to the business from broken processes, etc. They had been doing customer research and starting to build, but they took no assumption for granted. They questioned everything, even things that seemed positive like early traction—they were hungry to really understand why at a very deep level.

This curiosity, combined with their will to learn, build and iterate quickly make them ideal for cutting a new path. We believe OneSchema can become the default platform for transforming all ad-hoc data movement into a business process.  

General Catalyst is delighted to be working with Christina, Andrew and the whole team at OneSchema and leading its $6.3M funding round. We recognize that this is a big opportunity with an important mission that when executed right could help countless people in their day-to-day jobs.