Traditionally, companies looking to extract data from websites have had to create custom code to get at the data, an expensive and time-consuming process that is often out of reach of smaller businesses. Enter Browse AI, an early stage startup that has developed an automated solution to scrape information from websites and move it into a spreadsheet or API for further processing.
Today, the company announced a $2.8 million seed investment.
Browse AI CEO Ardy Naghshineh says that part of the reason for launching Browse AI was to democratize access to information on the web, and his company’s product puts that capability within reach of anyone. “SMBs and individuals have a really hard time taking advantage of all the information that’s on the web, and I wanted to change that. So that’s why I started Browse AI. I truly believe in our mission of democratizing access to information on the web,” Naghshineh told TechCrunch.
In practice, that means providing a SaaS application to train a bot to extract data that meets a certain set of criteria and adding that data to a spreadsheet or API that can connect to an application. If you’re concerned about privacy, the focus is on publicly available data like real estate pricing data, or an eCommerce company keeping up with the latest competitor pricing information.
The startup launched in 2020 and came out with the product the following year. It has caught on in a big way. Just over the last six months, the company reports 200,000 new users, and it’s not just those target small businesses. Customers include teams at Amazon, Walmart, Accenture, Google and McKinsey.
What’s more, Naghshineh reports that ARR (annual recurring revenue) has grown 20x year-over-year, and the company became cash flow positive six months ago, a laudable milestone for such a young organization. It has also managed to be extremely capital efficient with Naghshineh reporting that he has spent only half of the $400,000 in pre-seed money his company received.
The startup currently has 18 employees with plans to grow quickly, perhaps reaching 50 or more within a year if things continue along at the current pace. As part of that, the company is opening an office in Vancouver with plans to take a hybrid approach to work. As he builds his team, Naghshineh, who came to Canada a decade ago as an immigrant, says he takes diversity very seriously, and he has been able to find talent in traditionally underrepresented groups simply by looking.
“I very much care about diversity, and creating equal opportunities, but even if I just want to look at it from a business perspective, it makes a lot of sense to just explore those groups and see how much talent and experience is there, then it’s also a matter of creating a culture where everybody feels included,” he said.
Today’s $2.8 million seed round came from a group of investors including Interface Capital, Alpine Venture Capital, AltaIR, Banana Capital, Creator Ventures, Trust Fund, Singularity Capital, Goodwater Capital and several prominent industry angels.