People dressed up like ninjas holding swords.
ThoughtSpot officials say it takes ninja-like powers to use competitors' analytics platforms. PHOTO: glasgow's finest

ThoughtSpot, a business intelligence and analytics provider, has released an artificial intelligence-backed analytics platform on the heels of a $60 million funding round.

The funding — which closed in January but was announced for the first time today — brings the Palo Alto-based company's total funding to more than $160 million.

The new platform is called SpotIQ, powered by search analytics and AI and designed to deliver business and customer insights that factor in billions of data points for real-time insights in seconds.

We're Easier

Scott Holden, chief marketing officer of the 200-employee ThoughtSpot, said what differentiates his company's analytics platform is it does not require much training or advanced data scientists to uncover insights. 

He specifically called out Tableau Software, IBM and SAS for providing cumbersome analytics capabilities that take "data experts or data ninjas" to use the technology. ThoughtSpot has made bold claims since at least 2014, when CEO Ajeet Singh said his company could be the Tesla of business intelligence.

Gartner named ThoughtSpot a "niche player" in its Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms.

Its algorithms and AI-powered tech underneath the hood complement a search analytics experience much like Google. In a demo for CMSWire, this was clear as Holden searched terms that a marketer for a large telecommunications provider would use.

Screenshot of ThoughtSpot analytics platform.

Smarter Searches

Each search makes its AI capabilities smarter. 

SpotIQ also produces instant charts breaking down, for instance, top sales by region. ThoughtSpot's Insights features can segment data even further without prompting. In Holden's demo, it discovered data such as best-selling cell phone types, data usage and top-selling brick-and-mortar locations.

"It puts the power of 1,000 analysts in your hands," Holden said. He added ThoughtSpot wants to make business users actively-engaged analytics users. It will help them uncover anomalies, isolate trends, identify important indicators and segment data to help them understand what's going on.

Marketers and analytics users can "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" results to help the machines in the background get smarter about retrieving data.

SpotIQ will be included in the ThoughSpot platform for no additional charge and will be generally available on Sept. 30.

'Massive Opportunity'

Ajeet Singh headshot
Ajeet Singh

ThoughtSpot CEO and Co-Founder Ajeet Singh spoke about the company's plans for its latest funding round. Singh said it will use the funding to accelerate research and development for its AI-driven analytics platform, expand globally into Asia Pacific and hire customer success experts.

ThoughtSpot also closed a $60M series C funding in July of 2016. All of ThoughtSpot’s existing investors, led by LightSpeed Ventures, participated in the new funding round and were joined by Capital One Growth Ventures, as both a new investor and a new customer.

Singh told CMSWire there is a massive opportunity to transform analytics workflows and business data consumption just like the transformation we've seen in consumer applications, which have become fully self-service.

Other vendors push big data and analytics from the "scale" angle while ThoughtSpot, he said, is looking at the "human" angle.

"We think data is a human scale problem, and not just the infrastructure scale that big data has been focused on," Singh said. "We have been building a core platform ... and on top of that deliver search-driven analytics (debuted three years ago) and announcing AI-driven analtyics (today) .... There is a lot of hype around AI. We have been approaching it from an angle of trust."

ThoughtSpot includes options to show exactly where and how its AI-powered engines arrive at specific data.

Trust in AI

Company officials said ThoughtSpot has achieved 270 percent customer growth. 

Jaidev Shergill, managing partner of Capital One Growth Ventures, said ThoughtSpot helps non-technical teams analyze data using natural language search and get automated insights with SpotIQ. 

"This concept of trust is paramount for our customers," Holden said. "There is a lot of concern around it in general in AI today. These machines are just blackboxes. The way in which we've designed our technology is to take out the guesswork. It's not a blackbox. We show our algorithms use, and we are very transparent."