Funding for Growth Companies Continues as Onna Bags $27m

Onna, which defines itself as a Knowledge Integration Platform (KIP) and can be applied to capturing data for eDiscovery and compliance matters, today announced a $27m Series B investment, showing that investor support for companies capable of scaling up and reaching significant growth are still hot and that wallets are opening for them despite the downturn.

Key to Onna’s investment is this statement: ‘Onna is working with some of the world’s most sophisticated companies, including Slack, Facebook, Electronic Arts, Lyft, Fitbit, Newscorp and Dropbox. By 2025, Onna aims to be core to any organisation’s knowledge infrastructure.’

I.e. while some small legal tech startups may be struggling to get VC traction, if you’re already of a certain size and have a clear growth trajectory unfettered by the current economic contractions then you remain very investible. And, given the exponential growth in data produced by apps such as Slack, then there is a real need for more help here. You don’t really have to convince anyone with complex Power Point slides of that one.

Also, Onna has never been wholly a legal sector-focused company, and its wider remit simply makes it a whole lot more sellable to a far wider group of customers. And that’s the kind of thing that cheers investors. Total funding for Onna now is understood to be at $43m so far.

This latest funding round was led by Atomico with participation from Glynn Capital. It will be used to grow Onna’s engineering, product and partnerships teams to ‘further develop its ecosystem of integrations and applications’ they said. Previous investors Dawn Capital, Nauta Capital and Slack Fund all invested in this latest round. As part of this investment, Atomico’s Ben Blume will join the board.

And note: Dawn Capital has also invested in BRYTER just a couple of weeks ago – see AL story, and they have also invested in Eigen Technologies. So, they may well be very canny investors….

All well and good, but what does Onna do exactly…?

The company puts it like this: ‘Onna integrates all workplace knowledge-based apps together, from communication, to storage and HR platforms, allowing companies large and small to unify, search, protect, automate and build on top of their proprietary knowledge in a way not previously possible.’

OK, but what is a knowledge-based app???

This is how Onna explains it: ‘Knowledge-based apps are those that go beyond raw data and focus on contextual human input such as emails, chat, documents, images, contracts, employee performance information, customer feedback, drawn from sources such as G Suite, Slack, Salesforce, Dropbox, Confluence, Zendesk and Workplace among others.’

I.e. all that unstructured data that us humans immerse ourselves in and zap back and forth to each other each day by the Gigabyte.

Salim Elkhou (pictured above), Founder & CEO of Onna, commented: ‘Companies now rely on a host of powerful apps, from Salesforce to Google Suite. But the popularity of apps means more knowledge is being siloed and fragmented. Imagine how powerful it would be – not just from a risk and compliance standpoint, but from an insights and efficiency standpoint – if CIOs and employees were able to bring that knowledge together.

‘That’s our mission at Onna: to make the totality of a company’s proprietary knowledge accessible, useful and secure. In other words, we’re not just helping companies find a needle in the haystack; we help them put the haystack together.’

All in all, good news for scale-ups and high growth companies. But, what about smaller startups, especially those perhaps without immediately clear slam-dunk selling points? The reality is that it will be hard-going for some until the downturn changes course. In their favour is that the smallest startups still have very low cost-bases and can probably tough this one out with or without follow-up investment, at least for another Quarter or so.

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