For decades, VCs have been debating the same old question: which matters more — founding team or market? In truth, this question invites a discussion that is more aesthetic than productive. At least that’s how we felt until we met the Hightouch team, who swiftly settled the matter. Why argue the merits of an exceptional team or a giant market when the obvious option is to simply back a company with both.
Today, we’re elated to announce that Amplify is leading Hightouch’s $12 million Series A and joining them on their journey to transform how businesses operationalize their data.
We were fortunate to get to know the Hightouch founders over the past years. Before Hightough, Tejas Manohar and Josh Curl were highly-regarded early employees at Segment, where they got their first glimpse of the problem that would later animate their startup. After Segment, Josh and Tejas teamed up with their close friend, Kashish Gupta, who was previously at Bessemer Venture Partners. From the start of our partnership, we’ve witnessed them bring incredible enthusiasm, dynamism and speed to execution, from hiring, to engineering and product velocity. Frankly, it was some of the best we’ve ever seen.
Over the last few years, our team began to develop a thesis around “Reverse ETL,” as Snowflake and competing cloud data warehouse offerings swept the market. Our resolve only increased as seed investors in dbt Labs, which gave us a front row seat to this market shift. The data warehouse isn’t new, of course, but it’s received, over the last few years, what amounts to a battlefield promotion, given its centrality to the data strategy of enterprises, both large and small. Combined with tools like Fivetran and dbt, it is fast becoming a full-fledged operational platform. The world, meanwhile, is still digesting the implications of the transition to cloud-native data warehousing, some of which won’t be evident for years. What’s clear now, however, is the role Hightouch will play in the new data stack.
As businesses ingest data from their many systems of record (e.g., Salesforce, Marketo, and so on), the cloud data warehouse becomes, for lack of a better term, a “system of systems of record.” But such a system is useful only insofar as you can get data in and out. Fivetran has notably solved the former problem. Hightouch has its sights trained on the latter.
In a nutshell, Hightouch lets you egress your data from the warehouse to business tools. But its potential goes well past just moving data from point A to B. Simply put, it lets you build entirely new business workflows and make existing ones far more powerful.
Vertical software like Salesforce, Marketo, Zendesk and others are only as good as their data, which is more often than not deeply siloed. The data warehouse, for its part, breaks these siloes, setting the stage for Hightouch, which lets anyone in the business mix and match data from the warehouse to their tool of choice using a plain ol’ SQL query. All of a sudden, every column in the data warehouse can be used by any team to enrich any workflow inside any tool.
Take, for example, the customer support team, which can now enrich and sort Zendesk tickets by key product usage data, or the sales ops leader, who can now re-prioritize leads in Salesforce with an in-house machine learning model (represented by a column in the data warehouse). Such jobs, which previously would have taken months and required an army of Mulesoft consultants, can now be done by a business analyst in mere minutes. It is hard to understate the power this unlocks for a business.
The Hightouch team has made impressive strides towards realizing this vision. Their product has matured from serving smaller startups last summer to serving publicly traded enterprises today as the category’s leader. Customers we’ve spoken with rave about the velocity of new features and functionality, to say nothing of the performance characteristics and secure-by-design approach. This product execution has been rewarded with 37% month-over-month revenue growth since Q2, with Hightouch boasting brand name customers including AutoTrader, Blend, LucidChart, Plaid, and Retool. Perhaps most impressively, they built a world-class team of engineers and domain experts who are as obsessive as the founders about building the next great data platform.
Ultimately, we couldn’t be more excited to partner with such a dynamic team that is fundamentally reshaping how enterprises build and share business-critical workflows and integrations. We believe Hightouch is building THE developer platform that operationalizes the data warehouse thereby unleashing the full power of organizations’ data. And in that process, they’re settling that age-old venture capital debate: market or team? The answer: obviously both.