Spreadsheets were one of the first "killer apps" of the PC age. They enabled desktop computers to move from being glorified typewriters and toys into an essential business tool. Now, a Silicon Valley start-up is changing the face of the spreadsheet, bringing it forth to the 21st century.
Airtable lets you add any object you like into the cells of a spreadsheet. That object can be a photo, list of items, a video or just about anything else. Then, you can easily add a presentation layer over the top of that so it can be easily converted into an app.
According to Airtable's CEO, Howie Liu, “It really allows people with little or no technical knowledge to build high-level workflow systems".
The app is popular with many large companies including Tesla, Airbnb and Netflix and recently won a significant round of funding as well as being supported by actor Ashton Kutcher, who is well-known for supporting promising start ups.
Spreadsheets haven't significantly changed over the last few years and Liu, whose first company was sold to Salesforce when he was just 21 years old back in 2010, saw an opportunity to do more than the current market leaders, Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets.
The company's strategy is to sell into enterprises first, unlike many start ups that try to gain their foothold by pitching to other small companies. That means they are more likely to generate revenues that could see them last longer than many other smart apps that flame out after an initial round of interest.