ThoughtSpot: Democratizing access to data

In the early days at PayPal, key decisions were empirically driven, and the leadership team expected every employee be just as analytical. As a result, the entire team became facile with the metrics driving the business and insisted that regardless of seniority, each employee make rational calculations on their own. To enforce this norm, almost every all-hands meeting consisted of distributing a printed Excel spreadsheet to the entire company to conduct line-by-line reviews of performance (this is only a modest exaggeration!). Even after PayPal’s IPO, this level of data-driven transparency was so ingrained in our culture that we compelled our legal counsel to allow us to continue 95-percent of this practice (albeit stripping the explicit revenue line from the printout).  

In stark contrast to the transparent data-driven culture at PayPal, many entrepreneurs I meet are frustrated their colleagues do not make decisions in the best possible way. To address this, many of the companies I counsel are striving to create a transparent culture where each member of the team is fully informed. These goals, however, are often limited by software. Over the last decade, many great tools have emerged to allow some teams within companies to improve decision-making, yet none of the software has been effective at redefining how companies operate.

Today, I’m excited to announce KV’s investment in ThoughtSpot, a company that will transform how businesses use and interpret data. ThoughtSpot combines the best practices of the consumer web, which all employees understand how to navigate, in order to manipulate and digest massive amounts of enterprise data. Nevertheless, queries are effortless and fast, driven by a simple user interface that rapidly renders results that are easy to grok at a glance. 

I don’t often lead investments in companies selling to enterprise, but ThoughtSpot has the potential to dramatically impact the culture of companies by truly democratizing access to data. While existing business intelligence tools require technical expertise to convert raw data into meaningful information, ThoughtSpot empowers employees at each level and every area from customer support to marketing and sales to be their own data analysts. The data transparency will enable each employee to become effective decision-makers or mini-CEOs. As an executive, ThoughtSpot is the product I always wanted to deploy and am thrilled to help make it available to everyone.