Throughout my tenure as Head of Data at Mattermark, the number one thing that kept me up at night was ensuring that my team had a recognizable positive impact on the business. The mechanisms whereby most teams deliver and communicate value are clear: sales representatives close deals, customer success managers improve retention, product engineers deliver new features. However, the same is not often true for data practitioners.

Some have demonstrated that data teams can drive ROI through product and marketing analytics, experimentation, operations research, financial reporting, and other outputs. Nonetheless, it’s still hard to do meaningful data work that is seen and acted upon by executive leadership. 

This challenge exists because data practitioners encounter so many obstacles on the path from data to insights to action (or more succinctly, the path to ROI). Their tools have poor ergonomics and force them to spend time on local environment setup, configuration, and/or data connections.  And while data teams increasingly include practitioners who use SQL and/or Python, few data tools support polyglot workflows, which limits collaboration among peers. Lastly, when data teams seek tools that transform their analysis into artifacts that the rest of the company can consume, there’s a big, gaping hole. They just don’t have platforms designed to transform their work into something that others can act on. 

But Hex changes things. They give data teams a space to transform data into analysis, and analysis into products, thereby maximizing their ROI and visibility. We led Hex’s seed financing because we are convinced that better data analysis and science leads to better organizational decision-making and product development.  

More specifically, we believe the following:

  • Data practitioners deserve better tools: Many companies have adopted tools that democratize access to data for non-technical users. However, self-service analytics has shifted the burden on data practitioners from responding to ad hoc requests to fixing faulty models and analysis. Now, it’s time to invest in better tools for analytically technical users. Data practitioners need tools like Hex with flexible, elegant interfaces, that minimize the need to manage infrastructure and config. Hex also supports data practitioners as the nature of their work and their skillset evolves.
  • Data work should be social: Data teams have shifted from “centers of excellence” where ICs work in bubbles to hub-and-spoke models where data practitioners interface both with their peers and other teams. Hex is the first data platform designed for modern data teams since it provides the right features to enable the interactions and collaboration that a hub-and-spoke model necessitates.
  • Data work should be conspicuous: Data practitioners don’t really need better scratchpads. They need platforms that highlight the brilliant work they’re doing. Nobody wants to make a decision based on a sprawl of cells, intermixing code, and unedited prose. In contrast, a well-designed data app or report can change the trajectory of a business forever. Hex enables data practitioners to do data work that will matter. 

To sum up, Hex helps data teams drive impact by improving productivity, facilitating collaboration, and making it easy to create beautiful, interactive data apps and stories. They enable data practitioners to focus on the challenging modeling and analysis that stimulates discussion and drives results while avoiding the more tedious and routine processes. In fact, Hex is the fastest way for data teams to deliver results at scale. 

Hex’s goals are lofty; if they succeed they will not only affect how data teams work but will also radically change how organizations make data-driven decisions and build products. But the Hex team, helmed by Barry McCardel, Caitlin Colgrove, and Glen Takahashi is prepared for this challenge. They clearly have the technical chops to realize this vision, but they also have those attributes that investors always seek but rarely find in founders: a heightened sense of urgency, strong user empathy, clear product intuition. Like any great data practitioner, they know when and how to ask and answer the right questions. They care deeply about the community for whom they build. 

As an investor, I often look for companies that will make the lives of my friends and former colleagues better. Hex has done exactly that.