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Metabase at AngelList Venture

  • AngelList Venture uses Metabase as their primary reporting tool, helping them standardize the way they create and share charts and dashboards.
  • The transparency and access around their financial metrics is important to AngelList’s ethos, and the graphical query builder enables anyone at the company to explore this data—no SQL required.
  • Common use cases include:
    • Communicating company-wide metrics.
    • Tracking progress toward key company goals.
    • Setting up Pulses to alert teams to interesting investment activity.

About AngelList Venture

The team at AngelList Venture believes anyone with a passion for technology should be able to invest in world-changing startups. They’re fundamentally altering how startups raise money by replacing early-stage venture capital with modern technology. AngelList provides new ways for VCs to raise money, new ways for startups to provide liquidity for employees, and new ways for investors to back emerging companies. As of 2021, AngelList Venture supports over $6B in assets under management and has 77 unicorns and 51% of all top-tier U.S. VC deals in their portfolio. (P.S. If you want to join in the mission, they’re hiring).

Why Metabase?

AngelList’s goal was to empower everyone at the company to use data to make more effective decisions. When re-evaluating their BI tooling needs, AngelList considered alternatives such as Looker and Superset, but ultimately went with Metabase because it struck the perfect balance between power and ease of use. The team liked Metabase’s excellent visualization tooling and that it’s open source and easy to deploy on their own infrastructure. The “Sign in with Google” authentication path was easy to set up and has been great for quickly onboarding new employees.

The data

AngelList Venture uses Metabase to analyze business financial metrics and operations processes as well as product funnel and user behavior data. They also join their proprietary data with third-party data (synced via Fivetran, Stitch Data, and Segment) for other types of analyses.

The questions

“Before, AngelList didn’t have a standard way to create or share charts easily. Now, with Metabase, we communicate data clearly across the company in an organized fashion,” shares Brandon Krull, AngelList’s Lead Data Engineer. “We track quarterly goals with Metabase, and use Pulses to send out progress on those goals daily. We write SQL for complex data questions, and now everyone in the company can use the graphical editor for simple analyses. Some teams use Metabase to extensively track key results and goals, while others use dashboards to follow high-touch, high-priority investment cases. Since AngelList first spun up Metabase, our number of queries executed, as well as the number of unique views per user, has increased each month.”

Unexpected benefits

A recent upgrade to Metabase’s search functionality has been helpful in empowering teams to discover the different analyses their colleagues are running across the company and makes for a much broader understanding of the company for everyone at AngelList Venture.

Brandon’s advice for others

“Change management around tool adoption is always difficult, but Metabase relieves some of this friction. It’s a great tool, and the more people you show it to, the more adoption it will see across the organization,” says Brandon. “Here’s a tip: when you want to give people SQL access to a database, but don’t want to give them access to the full data source, you can limit access by creating another user with the desired permission in your database. Then you can set up a separate data source in Metabase using that new user giving you the ability to apply both database and Metabase collection permissions. You can give one group of people access to the data source with full permissions, and another group access to the data source with restricted access.”