According to a MarketsAndMarkets report, the global business intelligence (BI) market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.6% to reach $33.3 billion by 2025. Sunnyvale-based ThoughtSpot is among the leading players in the market that hopes to make analytics easier for all users.
ThoughtSpot was founded in 2012 by Abhishek Rai, Ajeet Singh, Amit Prakash, Priyendra Deshwal, Priyendra Deshwal, Sanjay Agrawal, Shashank Gupta, and Vijay Ganesan to allow people to explore, analyze, and share real-time business analytics. It was set up to help customers analyze data faster by answering natural language questions about the data without expecting them to have to know how to formulate an SQL query.
It wanted users to be able to enter search questions in their normal language, while ThoughtSpot translated that question into SQL and then quickly displayed a chart with data related to the question. ThoughtSpot also uses artificial intelligence to understand the user’s intent to help find the answer closest to the context of the search. Its SaaS platform for search and AI-driven analytics connects to cloud data sources like Snowflake and Amazon Redshift so that users can identify insights from all their cloud data.
It positions itself as the ‘Google for numbers’ as it wants to deliver users key facts via search. But it distinguishes itself from Google by not only giving the users the answers to the queries they are searching for but also using AI to offer alternative questions and results that may be helpful. ThoughtSpot believes that traditional BI tools act like dashboards and typically offer users a template for which to present historical, aggregated data. ThoughtSpot goes a few steps ahead and apart from helping answer what happened using the historical data, it seeks to answer questions such as what-if and what-next using its AI capabilities.
Recently, ThoughtSpot also announced the acquisition of New York-based SeekWell. Founded in 2018 by Michael Ritchie, SeekWell allows customers to operationalize their analytics and use SQL to push cloud data insights to business applications. The acquisition will allow customers to use natural language search to pull data from cloud data warehouses, use applications such as Google Spreadsheets to modify the data, and then sync it to business applications like Salesforce both seamlessly and automatically. With the complete integration of SeekWell into ThoughtSpot, customers will be able to use search to find data in the cloud, enable modification through productivity apps, and sync it with business apps.
ThoughtSpot has been privately held so far. It has raised $563.7 million in funding from investors including Snowflake Ventures, Next Play Capital, General Catalyst, Silver Lake Waterman, Decacorn Capital, Sapphire Ventures, Jai Das, Future Fund, Glade Brook Capital Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Khosla Ventures. Its latest round was held earlier this month when it raised $20 million from Snowflake at an undisclosed valuation. In a round held in 2019, ThoughtSpot had raised $248 million at a valuation of $1.95 billion.
ThoughtSpot does not disclose its detailed financials. It has been reporting stellar growth and had announced a 108% growth in revenues to $100 million in 2019. Growth has slowed down in the recent past with reports suggesting a rate of 88%. The company also announced 10% layoffs last year to manage costs and uncertainties during the pandemic.
ThoughtSpot is not the only player in the BI race and has big vendors like Salesforce and Microsoft gunning for the market as well. In 2019, Salesforce had announced a $15.7 billion acquisition of ThoughtSpot’s rival Tableau, marking its big entry into the market space. Microsoft, meanwhile, pushes forward its Power BI offering as part of a bundled enterprise solution, making it tougher for other vendors to enter the space.
Additionally, there are others like Qlik and Alteryx that are dedicated to cloud-based analytic solutions. Alteryx has been focused on the consumerization trend and is bringing three key changes to the analytics market — personalization, sophistication, and socialization to revolutionize how managers use analytics in their day-to-day jobs. Instead of focusing on allowing managers to do generic top-down analytics, it wants to allow them to be able to analyze data bottom-up, using a highly personalized analytic application.
ThoughtSpot believes that it offers a much more useful product than its rivals as it doesn’t believe in sending out dashboards to employees where adoption is anemic, instead it sends out insights that offer more value to end users.
ThoughtSpot has not yet filed for an IPO, but was looking at a possible listing this year. The company is working toward ensuring that all its metrics for public investors are ready by Fall 2021.