Coda, an Indian-American remote working startup valued at $600 million


Startups in the remote working space raising money quickly and at high valuations seem to be the new normal as a coronavirus-hit world embraces work from home.

On August 11, document collaboration startup Coda said it raised $80 million in a funding round led by Kleiner Perkins, one of Silicon Valley’s oldest and marquee venture capital funds, valuing it at $636 million. Its other investors—Khosla Ventures, Greylock and General Catalyst— also participated in the round.

The San Francisco-based startup was launched in 2019. CEO and co-founder Shishir Mehrotra previously held senior roles at Microsoft and YouTube alongside co-founder and college friend Alex DeNeui.

The pair started Coda in 2014 with the goal of reimagining the online document: rather than have separate platforms for spreadsheets, documents, presentations, and to-do lists, Coda could offer a blank slate where all could be created in one place. Coda could then transform the results into a web application without the need for any code.

Since then, the company says it has grown to more than 25,000 “teams,” which it specifies as individual networks of users at companies that include Uber, The New York Times and Spotify.

Remote working and online collaborations are not new but have assumed a whole new meaning and scale as the viral outbreak forces employees to work from home.

The startup says that monthly fees for smaller companies start from $10, while larger enterprises pay up to “hundreds of thousands a year.” While the Covid-19 pandemic has had a net positive effect on Coda’s revenue, Mehrotra says, some of Coda’s smaller customers have struggled or gone under in the wake of the pandemic.

The latest funding round was opportunistic, Mehrotra says, to be used to scale its business. “The market around us is pretty hot and we are beneficiaries of that,” says Mehrotra, who is also a board director at Spotify.

Upstarts such as Coda, Notion (valued at $2 billion) and older firms such as Zoom and Slack have awoken the tech giants to this opportunity as well.

These startups challenge apps like Google Drive and Docs, which are far bigger but have sensed the threat. These tools have the same applicability worldwide, so regional equivalents have not sprung up as fast.

Coda maybe a few years from being big enough to scare Google, maker of the popular Google Docs and Google Drive products, in a similar way. But the company is not going unnoticed.