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May 8, 2018

ThoughtSpot Eyes Exit with Latest Funding Round

George Leopold

(Alexander Supertramp/Shutterstock)

ThoughtSpot, the AI-based analytics platform developer founded by Nutanix Inc. co-founder Ajeet Singh, announced what it claims is the second-largest U.S. AI funding round so far this year.

The enterprise search and self-service analytics startup looking to unseat established players like Tableau Software and Qlik said Tuesday (May 8) it raised a hefty $145 million in a Series D funding round. ThoughtSpot has so far raised $306 million. The startup is expected to go public, following analytics rivals such as Tableau.

The oversubscribed funding round and strong financial results from AI-driven data and analytics vendors highlight the growth potential of the estimated $200 billion analytics sector. Tableau (NYSE: DATA), for example, reported a 12 percent jump in annual revenues earlier this week.

ThoughtSpot’s latest funding round was led by Khosla Ventures and LightSpeed Ventures along with new investor Sapphire Ventures, the investment arm of SAP (NYSE: SAP).

ThoughtSpot, Palo Alto, Calif., said it would use the cash infusion to expand its global operations while recruiting hard-to-find and high-priced AI developers. Along with new offices in Japan and India, the company is launching localization efforts in a variety of languages, including Simplified Chinese.

ThoughtSpot and other search-oriented analytics vendors are seeking to make business intelligence applications as simple as an Internet search but with more granular results. Investors have 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.

Along with Ajeet Singh, another co-founder and company CTO, Amit Prakesh, have broad industry experience. Singh previously cofounded enterprise data storage vendor Nutanix (NASDAQ: NTNX), which launched an IPO in 2016. 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.

“With the new funding, we’ll continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible with self-service analytics for our customers, partners, and the industry at large,” said Singh, who also serves as ThoughtSpot’s CEO.

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