Google buying Looker spotlights ThoughtSpot: Sudheesh Nair

The growth investors have increased attention toward us since the Google-Looker deal, but we will continue our focus on customers and GTM plans, says Sudheesh Nair, CEO, ThoughtSpot.

Google’s announcement last week to acquire Looker for USD 2.6 billion has warmed up the data analytics and BI space. 
Google would buy the privately held big-data analytics company Looker, for USD 2.6 billion in cash, in the first major acquisition for new Google Cloud chief executive Thomas Kurian.

The combination of Looker and Google Cloud will provide an end-to-end analytics platform to connect, collect, analyze and visualize data across Google Cloud, Azure, AWS, on-premises databases and ISV applications. 

A Quick Look at Looker

- Based in Santa Cruz, California, USA

- Founded in 2012, employs approx. 800 people

- Provides BI software & big data analytics platform

- Raised USD 281 million in venture capital

- Valued at USD 1.6 billion in last year’s funding round

A unicorn enterprise start up ThoughtSpot with its business intelligence and big data analytics platform helps companies and their users explore, analyze and share real-time business analytics data easily.

The search and AI-driven analytics company is rapidly expanding its operations, customer base and brand in the niche domain of augmented AI, and empowering C-suite executives and front-line employees with data-driven insights. 

In an exclusive interaction with IDG, Sudheesh Nair, CEO, ThoughtSpot shares his perspective on the Google-Looker deal’s impact on data analytics market. 

Edited Excerpts

What is your initial reaction to the Google-Looker deal, which industry analysts feel is overvalued by a billion dollars than the realistic acquisition cost?
My first reaction was one of pure joy. As someone who has been through the startup gauntlet before, I know how hard people have to work to achieve a good outcome, and I also know how few companies have a successful exit like this. So, yes, I was happy for the employees and investors of Looker. 

I don't think the deal is valued too high. Looker did well in the SMB and mid-market. And with GCP (Google Cloud Platform) still trying to catch up to AWS and Azure, it’s another reason for BI teams to utilize GCP resources. That growth will help justify the valuation.  

Does it add weight on ThoughtSpot now that with Looker Google can splurge more on marketing, sales enablement, customer acquisition, etc.? 

Not at all. We primarily target large enterprises, and rarely came across Looker in these deals. We are not competing in the BI 3.0 space. Rather, we are focused on transforming how businesses use data by making the entire data pipeline simple for business people, not just technical talent or power users. 

We focus on use cases like customer 360, fraud detection, anti-money laundering, inventory optimization, or AR management. We go for end-to-end solution implementation. 

If anything, Looker’s acquisition by Google will drive more interest in ThoughtSpot. ThoughtSpot is already a leader in the space, according to Gartner’s most recent magic quadrant. There's a lot for ThoughtSpot to do, but instead of worrying about what the competition is doing, we focus on changing how our customers use data and make decisions.  

Also Read: Businesses to succeed faster in fact-driven economy: Sudheesh Nair, ThoughtSpot 

What are the prime reasons for new data analytics companies like Looker, ThoughtSpot to blink on the radar of private equity/venture capitalist firms and technology giants?

“I don't think the Google- Looker deal is valued too high. Looker did well in the SMB and mid-market. And with GCP (Google Cloud Platform) still trying to catch up to AWS and Azure, it’s another reason for BI teams to utilize GCP resources.”

Sudheesh Nair

There is a lot of data being created – more so now than ever before and there has to be new ways to deal with it. Players like Tableau, Qlik and Looker are biting at the edges by optimizing the BI admin's or power user’s experience. 

But ThoughtSpot is completely uprooting the workflow by giving regular business people the ability to analyze data themselves, simplifying business processes, and thus, changing the way our customers operate their business.  

Are you planning a new GTM to counter this acquisition or will it be business as usual? 

Not much changes for us. I have seen increased attention from growth investors toward us since the deal became public, but our focus is and has always been on customers and GTM plans. 

We plan to be a global, sustainable, standalone company and we will continue to invest heavily in Japan, India, and other markets to make that a reality.  

ThoughtSpot’s latest release 5.2, which includes support for our mobile app will be a key milestone in our strategy. We also just announced our partnership with Snowflake supporting live queries in-memory, directly on their built for the cloud database. 


Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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