The following is a guest blog post from Bob Kelly, Managing Partner at Ignition Partners, a leading early-stage B2B investment firm with offices in Seattle and Silicon Valley.
As Google Cloud Next ’19 kicks off in San Francisco next week, I’ve been thinking about how far cloud capabilities have evolved since my early days at Azure. The AI/ML-driven application world has been promised for so long, and we’re only just beginning to see it unfold. Google’s focus on data-driven applications and its unique relationship with Trifacta are indicators, in my opinion, of the coming explosion of intelligent applications.
That last point is critical to us at Ignition Partners, as our investment focus has moved “up the stack” over the past few years to intelligent apps, either vertically-focused or horizonal/role-based. As we think about these investment opportunities, we devote a lot of time to better understanding how data can create a competitive advantage for companies.
In the past, getting the data right was an open question. Today, however, this problem has largely been solved by Trifacta, one of our portfolio companies that is leading its category and experiencing tremendous growth. Trifacta was born out of the realization that data professionals historically spent 80% of their time preparing data, and only 20% of their time analyzing it. That’s not only backward–it’s highly inefficient.
At a time when data is one of the most valuable assets for companies in every industry, a limited ability to use and understand data is a serious disadvantage.
The data preparation pioneers
Over the past several years, Trifacta has developed the leading platform for data wrangling, which is the process of curating and preparing data so that it can be analyzed. Trifacta gives anyone the ability to wrangle all kinds of data, from structured to unstructured. The “anyone” piece is big deal, because for too long, the only people who could successfully wrangle data were data scientists and people who knew how to code.
Trifacta democratizes data by giving everyone the ability to work with it. The company believes that having access to huge data sets, and the ability to wrangle it and ask questions in natural language, is truly transformational. It removes the gating process that previously kept data confined to a small section of the business, and opens it up for anyone to use and learn from.
Google takes notice
We’re not the only ones excited about Trifacta’s potential; Google is on board, too. It made a corporate investment in Trifacta in 2018, and subsequently asked Trifacta to white-label its
solution and offer it as Google Cloud Dataprep. That marked the first time Google licensed a 3rd party product and made it part of its core business model. The solution was announced at Google Cloud Next ’17; the public beta went live around this time last year.
Today, there are 43.5K users on Cloud Dataprep, a number that has grown 77% since September 2018. In that same time frame, the number of total jobs executed on Cloud Dataprep grew by 182% to 1.96 million jobs. By the time Google Cloud Next begins, that number will be well past 2 million.
I can’t think of a better partner for Trifacta than the data company.
Getting to “ah-ha” faster
Collecting data isn’t the challenge. The challenge is what to do with it once you have it. Trifacta helps companies answer that question much more easily, by making it possible to curate data from different sources, clean it, and make sense of it–fast.
Google’s customers are using it to ask questions like: What ads are working? Which cohorts are they working for? What’s not working, and why?
Companies in other industries are asking different types of questions.
Better data, better decisions, better world
Adam Wilson, CEO of Trifacta, likes to say that the company is “the decoder ring for data” – and we’re seeing companies use it to decode customer insights, business opportunities, delivery models, and much more. Here are two examples of how that plays out.
GSK is a pharmaceutical company that wants to dramatically shorten clinical trials, which often drag on for 10-12 years. GSK believes that clean, raw data is critical in making this happen. They’re using Trifacta to allow their clinical researchers to capture and wrangle data themselves, rather than waiting for patients to self-report. The result: They can better understand what’s in the data, and how to use it – which speeds decision-making and allows their projects to move ahead faster.
NationBuilder offers a community outreach platform that helps power smarter campaigns and lower the barrier to leadership. Their data helps political candidates understand how to best prioritize their activities, which means data quality is a top priority. Trifacta is a critical part of the NationBuilder solution, giving their customers the confidence they need to make smart decisions.
Are you building an intelligent application?
If you have an application that would be improved with Trifacta, and are going to be at Google Cloud Next ’19 – drop me a line at Bob@Ignition.vc. Our team at Ignition is dedicated to investing capital, time, and expertise to help companies like Trifacta build a better world. If you’re building something that will help transform the way people work, whether vertically focused on a specific industry or on a role or function that cuts across industries and companies, we’d love to hear from you.