How Coherent turns Excel sheets into improved business systems with a single click

It frees companies from 95% of the costs incurred from the manual spreadsheet-to-API conversion.

A company running critical business operations typically uses and monitors over a thousand spreadsheets, based on the data from Forrester. Imagine the horror of a firm bound to overhaul its system. This is where John Brisco’s co-founded startup, Coherent, is planning to come in.

Coherent developed a software as a service (SAAS) called Coherent Spark. In a single click, the service turns spreadsheets containing the business logic—rules, formulas, or data models—into application programming interfaces (APIs) that can connect to other front- and back-end applications.

“Businesses change so frequently and so fast that systems cannot keep up with the market conditions. What enterprises do is make changes on [and manually translate into codes its] Excel or spreadsheets… which takes a lot of time and cost and effort within organisations,” Brisco told Hongkong Business.

A coherent process

So how does the software work? An example would be an insurance company planning to re-rate its products.

To do so, the insurance company would first have to make changes in its spreadsheets that contain its business logic, upload the spreadsheet to Coherent Spark, turn them into active APIs, and deploy it to any system at a click of a button.

“[The insurance company] now have the ability to re-rate its whole book in a matter of a few minutes, which used to take essentially a couple of weeks,” Brisco told Hongkong Business in an interview.

“What we're trying to do is remove complexity which exists within enterprises, whether it's large or small,” he added.

Brisco said Coherent helps companies save up by 95% to 99% of the cost they would usually incur if they have done the spreadsheets to APIs process manually. 

Brisco said the use of Coherent Spark also allows for a seamless way of work for both a company’s business and IT teams as it can be used by even people who are not overly technical.

“Coders and non-coders alike can accelerate digital transformation and cloud migration programs,” Brisco said.

“It also frees up already-stretched IT teams to focus their specialised and scarce resources on truly innovating for the business,” he added.

With everything done in a single click, Brisco said what is left to do for businesses is to just tag key inputs and outputs of how their logic or model works.

Future plans

Brisco said Coherent is already working to improve the infrastructure of their platform, to make it more accessible and easier to use.

“I want to work with clients and partners on how we can expand its features capabilities and its use cases,” the Coherent CEO said on future plans for the startup.

On the business side, Brisco said talents who will focus on engineering sales, and product and customer success will be brought to their team. He also unveiled plans to further expand in Asia and in North America and increase the startup’s distribution scale.

Coherent has raised a total of USD$89m for its Series A and Series B funding rounds.

Its Series B funding, which raised USD$75m, was led by Maverick Capital, including Maverick Ventures, with participation from Owl Rock, a Blue Owl division, GreatPoint Ventures, and existing investors Cathay Innovation and Franklin Templeton.

When asked why they decided to invest in the startup, Albert Koh, investor at Owl Rock, a Blue Owl division, said: “Coherent Spark bridges the gap between the fast deployment of business applications and the familiarity of using spreadsheets, and Coherent is uniquely positioned to enable enterprises to accelerate their digital transformation and drive quicker time to value.”

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