With new analytics software coming out every few months we need a new way to separate the good from the great. One way is to look at traction and another is to look at how user friendly it is. At Sisense, they get a big check mark next to both. With their easy to use platform they are making data analysis simple and are saving you the headache of huge budgets and hires.
After closing a sizable round of funding, Sisense CEO Amir Orad tells AlleyWatch how the funding went down as well as how they are making a difference.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We closed a $50 million series D round of funding, led by Bessemer Venture Partners and joined by all existing key investors (DFJ Growth, Battery Ventures, Genesis Partners and Opus Capital).
Tell us about your product or service.
Sisense business analytics software is empowering everyday business users to manage, analyze and visualize complex data within a single-stack environment, on low-cost, commodity machines. The company’s In-Chip™ analytics processes data 100X faster than competitive solutions, eliminating the need for cumbersome data preparation, large operational budgets or specialized IT skills.
While I didn’t start the company, I can explain what attracted me to lead Sisense. As a serial entrepreneur, I was looking to build independent market leaders and looked for five criteria when looking at Sisense (and other companies):
- Large market – the business analytics market is valued at $33B
- Disruptive technology – Sisense easily met this criteria with its In-Chip™ analytics and full BI stack
- Momentum – the company already had good customers and technology successes
- Strong team – I fell in love with the team in place at Sisense, a great passionate team of founders and thought leaders
- Strong market need – With more data available today than ever, there is a strong need for a solution that business users can get value from, without the cumbersome data prep and IT involvement that’s typically associated with BI.
Most of my peers, including a lot of very successful CEOs and investors, thought no such company exists. But I knew I found it when the Sisense board approached me, and I knew this would be my next venture to take Sisense to the next level.
How is it different?
We’re disrupting the market by making business analytics dramatically easier for both business users and IT teams. Sisense eliminates the data preparation that is typically required for business analytics solution and eliminates the need for high cost, scarce IT resources, enabling business users to harness the power of data analytics. We’re the only business analytics company that can deliver real, production analytics for any company in a 90-minute guided web session.
Our In-Chip™ analytics processes data 100X faster than competitive solutions, eliminating the need for cumbersome data preparation, large operational budgets or specialized IT skills.
What market are you targeting and how big is it?
We are on track to capture a sizable chunk of the $33 billion business analytics opportunity.
What’s your business model?
We are a recurring revenue business. We charge an annual license fee. This model keeps us very focused on customer delight and renewal.
Given that the company has now raised a significant amount of capital (~$100M), strategically what changes do you foresee?
No strategic changes. The funds will be used to accelerate our growth plans, helping businesses of all sizes simplify business analytics for complex data. This infusion of capital will be used to expand business operations in support of the company’s rapid growth, including 100% revenue growth for the fifth consecutive year, record customer acquisition and consecutive quarters of negative net churn. We’re also planning to use the funding, in part, to open a UK office to better service our growing presence in Europe.
What was the funding process like?
The funding process was comparatively fast, taking only 3 months. We were oversubscribed with interest from multiple VC’s but ultimately chose Bessemer to lead the round. We believe they are a strong partner that takes the company to the next level in terms of its growth opportunities and plans to build a large, public entity.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
We went through significant technical due diligence, convincing both Bessemer and a cadre of technology experts about the distinctive capabilities of In-Chip™ analytics. We have built a truly disruptive technology that changes the game and it people are always skeptical at first; the outcome of that diligence, though, is another clear proof point of Sisense’s unique position and opportunity in the business analytics space.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Investors were attracted to Sisense because of the combination of our disruptive technology, strong leadership team and large market opportunity.
Bessemer Venture Partners was attracted to Sisense’s disruptive, market-leading analytics technology, which puts the power of data directly into the hands of business decision makers, eliminating the need for cumbersome data preparation, large operational budgets or specialized IT skills.
This is the third time that Bessemer Venture Partners has invested in a company that I am involved with. Past companies have included Cyota, where I was cofounder and Billguard, where I sat on the board. Cyota was later acquired by RSA Security in 2005 for $145 million.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Continue to aggressively grow the business and double again in 2016.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Continue executing and growing your business while always “selling” the value you provide to clients and potential investors. While financing is critical it is not the goal but a means to an end, don’t change your entire strategy because of one comment an investor will make.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We have built a great senior leadership team with rich experience growing private and public companies, including acquisitions and IPOs. We’ve recently hired a CFO, Todd Sloan, who served as CFO at NetRatings (NTRT), About.com (BOUT) and Tremor Video (TRMR), among others. We are very focused on scaling the business and continuing to provide value to our clients.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?
The Dead Rabbit is right under our office – we love going out there.