Dropbase can flip your messy spreadsheet into queryable SQL database

It’s common for a tech firm to be born by chance. Famously, Slack was created as a byproduct of a now defunct gaming firm. Equally, when Dropbase founders Jimmy Chan and Ayazhan Zhakhan have been within the Y Combinator Winter 20 batch, they have been testing the product they’d constructed on the time and unintentionally stumbled upon the factor that will grow to be Dropbase.

The 2 founders have been struggling to maneuver spreadsheet knowledge right into a SQL database the place they might work with it. Despite the fact that they have been technical folks, they couldn’t get every thing working with out a number of tinkering. They created a software to make it simple to pull and drop a .csv file onto a Postgres database and begin querying it.

Chan says it was form of a eureka second for them, as they realized that in the event that they have been having hassle doing this, a number of different folks could be too, and so they shifted gears to create Dropbase.

“We have been pondering that there must be a better approach to simply do it. I simply wish to drag and drop a .csv file right into a SQL database straight. And that’s once we got here up with the title Dropbase, as a result of you’ll be able to drag it right into a Postgres database, and we simply offer you credentials for the database and so you’ll simply immediately have entry to that .csv file in your hosted cloud database. In order that’s how we began with this,” Chan advised TechCrunch.

They needed to overcome some massive obstacles that anybody who works with knowledge could be acquainted with, similar to reconciling variations in the identical knowledge that may confuse a conversion filter. “After you drag and drop a .csv file, there’s often nonetheless a number of points with the file. Typically totally different components of the world encode .csv information in another way. As an example, in France, they use semicolons as a substitute of commas. And so firstly, we do inference. We take a look at a pattern of the info and we attempt to guess what’s one of the best ways to open the file,” he stated.

He stated one other subject is that the info isn’t all the time within the format you anticipate it to be within the desk, so how do you get it constant? They got here up with the notion of checks to guarantee that the info is in the fitting format to get previous the conversion filters, however Chan says these transcend easy syntactic checks.

Dropbase database table with checks showing email address in incorrect format.

Picture Credit: Dropbase

“They’re really semantic checks. So what I imply by that’s that we’re not simply checking whether or not your postal code is of a sure format, however we will test whether or not your dates are inside a given vary, or they’re after a sure time or earlier than a sure time, or in case your numbers must be a minimal of one thing. So it’s a little bit bit extra [sophisticated] checking,” he defined.

He says that after they present the consumer the problems, they will clear up any remaining issues, after which load the database and it’s accessible for querying in SQL. “The benefits of having knowledge in a SQL database is that you may shortly question it. That’s the very first thing. The second factor is that you may join it to a downstream software like a BI software or one other knowledge software in a easier approach. And you may construct extra historic datasets over time,” he stated.

More moderen options within the product embrace a brand new software referred to as Dropmail, which permits customers to e mail a .csv file to show it right into a SQL database, and the power to host your personal knowledge with Snowflake integration.

The corporate has raised a $1.75 million pre-seed spherical to date led by Google’s Gradient Ventures, with participation from YC and others.

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