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May 19, 2016

ThoughtSpot, Search Analytics Startup, Raises $50M

Citing the growing need for speed in accessing data for business intelligence applications, search-driven analytics specialist ThoughtSpot said it has more than doubled its equity investment total with the closing this week of a $50 million funding round.

ThoughtSpot said Thursday (May 19) lead investor General Catalyst Partners was joined by Geodesic Capital. Existing investors include Lightspeed Ventures and Khosla Ventures. The startup based in Palo Alto, Calif., has so far raised more than $90 million.

The company’s cofounders have strong ties to search giant Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) as well as database mainstays like Oracle (NYSE: ORCL).

ThoughtSpot said the new investment would be used to continue its global expansion, beef up its sales and marketing operations and advanced its search-based business intelligence technology. The company opened an office in London earlier this year and has secured its largest international customer to date, saying only the customer was from the European, Middle East and African region.

The company also said it has doubled the size of its sales and marketing team during the first three months of this year while a growing list of customers performs about 1 million annual searches on its business intelligence platform. New customers include retailers like Bed, Bath & Beyond and financial services firms such as Primary Capital Mortgage and Automated Financial Services.

ThoughtSpot and other search-oriented analytics vendors are seeking to make business intelligence applications as simple as an Internet search but with more details results. New investors cited the startup’s focus on “closing the ease-of-use gap” for business users. They also noted that the business intelligence market is primed for quantum leap in the speed of data access so business users get the data they need to make decisions while data analysts focus on advanced analytic use cases.

ThoughtSpot touts its relational search technology as reducing the time needed to prepare company data for analysis to seconds while helping business intelligence and enterprise analytics teams greatly reduce their reporting backlogs. The search platform connects to on-premise and cloud-based data sets and is said to deploy faster than legacy technologies.

Among ThoughtSpot’s co-founders, CEO Ajeet Singh and CTO Amit Prakesh, have broad industry experience. Singh previously cofounded enterprise data storage vendor Nutanix Inc., which launched an IPO late last year. He also helped launch Oracle database to the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (NASDAQ: AMZN). Meanwhile, Prakesh headed analytics engineering teams at Google AdSense and was a founding engineer on Microsoft’s Bing (NASDAQ: MSFT) search engine team.

Upstarts like ThoughtSpot must still overcome the perception that traditional search engine technology is being outpaced by SQL and emerging machine-learning tools. ThoughtSpot’s founders and investors counter that the company’s relational search approach also can deliver business intelligence while speeding up access to data via its “search-driven analytics for humans” approach.

The approach would allow business users to use familiar search tools to conduct enterprise analytics rather than waiting for reports. Search-driven analytics indexes company data in-memory from a range of data sources. It also indexes data schema and figures out how tables are related to one another so they can be combined “on-the-fly,” the company said.

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