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The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same...

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I am excited to unveil the details of our Series B round. And I’m particularly proud of the tremendous progress we’ve made as a company since we burst onto the scene from stealth mode a little more than a year ago.

Our product has reached market fit in record time and our seasoned team has built a company that can scale and whose culture is centered around customer success. This didn’t happen by accident.

I’ve been in this space a long time and I’m starting to see some recurring patterns. In life and tech, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Let me explain.

Our absence of visualization is not a bug

During our Series A round, when my team and I pitched AtScale as the open software platform that makes any BI tool work with Big Data natively and without data movement, many Silicon Valley aficionados told us that our vision wasn’t complete enough.   When benchmarking us against our peer group, they noticed AtScale was the only company in its category that didn’t plan on building a closed data-processing layer and its own proprietary visualization layer.  “Why go after this massive market if you are not at least going to build a BI front-end?” many asked.  

No matter how much we explained that customers didn’t want another BI tool or that they didn’t want to move data out of Hadoop to lock it into proprietary platforms, the investment community’s need to conform was too strong.  By now, you know the end of this story: we found great investors who believed in our vision and we launched. Our business grew exponentially, beyond my wildest dreams and despite the naysayers.

Irrationally Predictable

Fast-forward to today: our company raised a Series B in a matter of weeks, during one of the most complicated financial conditions in years. What was hard for us to do in an easy market, became easier in a difficult market. Why?

Investors are rational: They have now seen that our strategy matches market needs better than previous options. Major enterprises have quickly onboarded AtScale’s platform and have been very vocal about the value of our approach. To be honest, we didn’t want to raise capital. But the inbound interest we received and the great options that came our way made it easy for us to consider the opportunity to scale our operations more rapidly.

Customers are rational:  The demand for our approach has grown more than 5X over the last 12 months. In the first 3 months of this year, more than two-thirds of our business came inbound. Hadoop maturity is on the rise and the sophistication of customers is increasing. ETL and Data Science projects have shown their limits. It’s now time to turn Big Data onto the end user. Doing so effectively requires speed, simplicity and security. AtScale provides all of that, without disrupting a company’s current BI or Data platform investment.

A New Definition for Business Intelligence

AtScale’s ascension is the symptom of a much bigger trend: the definition of “Business Intelligence Platforms” is changing. You might have noticed that Gartner updated their Magic Quadrant this year. You might have read some of Forrester research too; a Modern Business Intelligence platform is no longer defined by the amount of closed and proprietary technology it provides.
A Modern Business Intelligence platform is defined by its ability to:

  • Add business value without ripping or replacing key components of a company’s data strategy.  If  your company has made the choice to provide self-service and live access to Tableau and Excel, a BI for Big Data solution that does not integrate with that strategy, will delay time-to-value.  A Modern BI Platform needs to integrate natively with SQL and MDX tools.  Without new drivers, new clients or new interfaces.  A Modern BI Platform may in fact not have a visualization layer.  But that is precisely because, by doing so, it enables your company’s choices and competencies so you can further add business value.
  • Harness Open-Source innovation without requiring companies to learn the intricacies of the Hadoop Ecosystem.  If you have decided to look at multiple options to accelerate access to Hadoop, a BI for Big Data solution that forces your team to commit to one closed stack, will prevent innovation.  As you might have seen in our recent benchmark, Impala, Spark and Hive all play a role in helping organizations build sound data strategies.  As new technologies emerge like Presto or Pinot, your company should be able to leverage new technologies with little overhead.  A Modern BI Platform needs to integrate and use all open-source data technologies as they align to your strategy.  A Modern BI Platform might not have its own datastore or data-processing layer.  But that is precisely because, by doing so, it enables users to leverage the industry’s latest efforts and innovation (as opposed to the slower, proprietary and closed progress made by an individual company).

As you can see, I’m fairly passionate about this topic.  So, please put us to the test, challenge my assumptions and let us know how we can help by starting here

For the actual press release on our announce, please click here.


Topics: Hadoop, Business Intelligence, Big Data

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