As we close an incredibly active year in the world of data infrastructure, it was a particular treat to host at Data Driven NYC two of the most thoughtful founders in the space, for an in-depth conversation about key trends.
Tristan Handy, is the Founder & CEO of Fishtown Analytics, makers of DBT. DBT is one of the most popular, open-source, command-line tools that enable data analysts and engineers to transform data in their warehouse more effectively. Based in Philadelphia, the company raised both a $12.9M Series A and a $29.5M Series B, back to back in 2020. Tristan also does a great weekly newsletter, The Data Science Roundup.
Jeremiah Lowin, Founder & CEO of Prefect. Prefect is the new standard in dataflow automation, trusted to build, run, and monitor millions of data workflows and pipelines. As another leader in the open-source world, Prefect powers data management for some of the most influential companies in the world.
We had a wide ranging conversation, covering lots of topics: the modern data stack, data lake vs data warehouse, empowering data analysts, workflow automation etc.
“It wasn’t a walk in the park. Today, Gong is a super hot company. But at that time, we got a lot of no’s, by not stupid people. There were a lot of objections, like salespeople are going to hate it as a big brother, and Google and Amazon will compete with you“, says Amit Bendov, the CEO of Gong.
From those early days of facing skepticism, Gong has indeed become a hot startup loved by customers and ushering its own category, revenue intelligence. It’s also had tremendous fundraising success with VCs, raising $305M in less than 18 months, including a $200M round on a $2.2B valuation, announced in August 2020.
We were thrilled to welcome back Amit at Data Driven NYC, where he had spoken a few years ago, when he was CEO of SiSense.
Sisense is a fast-growing business intelligence startup that was ranked #31 in this year’s Forbes Cloud 100, and reached unicorn status at the beginning of 2020 through a $100M Series D led by Insight Partners.
We’ve had Sisense speak twice at Data Driven NYC over the years, first CEO Amit Bendov (now CEO of Gong) (video of the talk here) and then new CEO Amit Orad (video of the talk here).
With all the recent progress, we were particularly excited to hear the update and welcome Ashley Kramer, who recently joined Sisense as Chief Product and Marketing Officer, after a very impressive run at Amazon, Tableau and Alteryx.
We covered a bunch of topics, including:
What does “Business Intelligence” actually mean?
The convergence of BI and data science
How does Sisense position in the context of the consolidation of the BI industry (hint: multi-cloud and focus on different personas, including business users, data analysts and more technical folks)
Where Sisense sits in the modern data stack
How Sisense has been building data network effects with its knowledge graph
Dashboards are great, but embedded analytics are better
As always, Data Driven NYC is a team effort – many thanks to Jack Cohen for co-organizing, Diego Guttierez for the video work and to Karissa Domondon for the transcript!
David Cancel puts the “serial” in serial entrepreneur. David has founded a total of five software companies over the years, which he says make him “certifiable”. The list includes Performable, which was acquired by Hubspot, where David subsequently spent three years as Chief Product Officer.
In 2015, David left Hubspot to start Drift, a Boston-based conversational AI platform for marketing and sales. The company has grown very rapidly and now has a whopping 50,000 customers. Drift has raised a total of $107M from a number of venture firms including Sequoia, General Catalyst and CRV. The company has also been recognized as a Forbes Cloud 100 company.
David also has built a very strong presence and brand in the entrepreneurial community. He writes a popular newsletter, ‘The One Thing’ and hosts a long-running podcast, ‘Seeking Wisdom’. He’s very involved in a number of startups as advisor and angel investor. He’s also an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School.
David and I had a really interesting, wide-encompassing conversation at our most recent Data Driven NYC event, where we covered a range of topics including:
Building a global SaaS brand with 50,000 customers in an astonishingly short amount of time
How Drift was founded to take advantage of a fundamental paradigm shift
Creating a new type of CRM, driven by conversational data, with automation at the core
One of the biggest recent trends in the data world recently has been the rapid emergence of the “modern data stack”.
This stack is largely centered around the cloud data warehouse, with its massive scalability and elasticity capabilities. Snowflake’s blockbuster IPO this week, and the underlying performance of the company, demonstrate the level of excitement from both customers and investors about the data warehouse.
But the modern data stack is more than just the data warehouse, there’s a whole pipeline involving other technologies, where data gets collected, stored and analyzed. Downstream from the data warehouse, you find business intelligence solutions, as well as some machine learning platforms, to analyze the data. Upstream from it, you find solutions that focus on extracting data from various sources and loading it into the data warehouse (ETL/ELT).
This is where Fivetran comes in. A fast-growing company with a unicorn status, it automates data integration from source to destination, through a large library of connectors.
It was very fun to host Fivetran’s CEO, George Fraser, at our most recent Data Driven NYC event. We had a great conversation, both very approachable for a non-technical audience but also interesting for more technical folks.