ThoughtSpot Nabs $145M To Democratize A.I.-Driven Data Analysis

ThoughtSpot, which enables its clients’ ordinary staffers to conduct advanced data analysis to inform their business decisions, announced today that it has raised $145 million in a Series D funding round.

The big funding infusion will help ThoughtSpot expand its global customer base, and it’s also good news for the company’s R&D and commercialization centers in Palo Alto, Seattle, Dallas, and Bangalore, India. ThoughtSpot is planning big investments in the engineering centers to continue improving ThoughtSpot’s A.I.-based analytics service. With the new money, ThoughtSpot’s fundraising total now adds up to $306 million.

Palo Alto, CA-based ThoughtSpot, which was founded in 2012, is among the companies trying to democratize access to A.I.-enhanced data analytics tools by making them easy to use for workers who aren’t data scientists. In a 2016 interview with Xconomy, co-founder and CEO Ajeet Singh said novices could begin using his company’s high-powered search engine after half an hour of training.

Customers still use ThoughtSpot’s search engine to find answers to questions they know how to ask. In addition, the company’s AI-driven analytics engine, SpotIQ (a recent feature developed in Seattle), automatically offers up answers to relevant questions that a non-technical business user wouldn’t know to ask, ThoughtSpot says.

For example, a merchandising team interested in iPhone sales might know to ask for the top sales regions for the product. But SpotIQ, given the mere query “iPhone,” would answer thousands of questions to find data points and context that could be relevant to the team’s marketing goals. As part of the big picture, for example, SpotIQ might volunteer the information that Android phones sell better among women between the ages of 24 and 35 who live in cities on the coast.

ThoughtSpot’s new capital will allow it to extend the possibilities for this “self-service analytics,” Singh said in a statement about the fundraising.

Earlier ThoughtSpot investors Lightspeed Ventures, Future Fund, Khosla Ventures, and General Catalyst joined in the Series D funding round, along with new investors including Sapphire Ventures.

Data analytics companies have been popping up to serve businesses that realize they’re sitting on valuable caches of information—strewn among their desktops, cloud storage accounts, and devices—that could reveal patterns and insights to aid in corporate planning. ThoughtSpot says it’s competing in a $203 billion analytics industry where demand for data analysis is overwhelming traditional business intelligence team members. Those professionals could hand off analytical chores to frontline workers if a service were simple enough to use.

Among ThoughtSpot’s rivals is Google, which rolled out an accessible machine-learning analytics service called Cloud AutoML this year; Redwood City, Ca-based Interana, which concentrates on understanding consumers through behavioral analytics; and Boston-based startup Indico, which lifts data from images and text documents that aren’t usually structured to be mined by search engines.

ThoughtSpot, which now has more than 275 employees, says it has attracted a roster of brand-name clients, including Amway, Bed Bath & Beyond, Capital One, Celebrity Cruises, Chevron, and ServiceNow.

Customers pay for subscriptions to ThoughtSpot’s software, and they also pay for the volume of data analyzed. The volume fee starts at $70,000 for 250 gigabytes of cached data. ThoughtSpot says 80 percent of its customers are spending at least $100,000, and several are spending $1 million or more.

Photo Credit: zayatsandzayats, Depositphotos

Bernadette Tansey is Xconomy's San Francisco Editor. You can reach her at btansey@xconomy.com. Follow @Tansey_Xconomy

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