Business intelligence and analytics firm Pyramid Analytics raises $120 million
Business intelligence is an increasingly well-funded category in the software-as-a-service market. By processing large amounts of data to analyze and compare industries, BI promises to help identify, develop and create new revenue opportunities.
Pervasive BI remains elusive, but category statistics reveal that around a third of employees use BI tools for analytics to inform strategy. The big data and business analytics market could be worth $684 billion by 2030, according to Valuates Reports, if such shockingly high estimates are to be believed.
The segment contains too many vendors to count, including Noogata, Fractal Analytics, Tredence, LatentView, and Mu Sigma. Either way, there’s plenty of capital out there, as evidenced by Pyramid Analytics’ latest funding round. Pyramid, which markets itself as a “business intelligence” platform, today announced it has raised $120 million in Series E funding co-led by HIG Growth Partners, Clal Insurance Enterprises Holdings and General Oriental Investments for a valuation of “nearly” 1 billion dollars. Co-founder and CEO Omri Kohl said the new money will be used to expand Pyramid’s global presence, hire new employees and improve the company’s existing software products.
Pyramid got its start in 2009, when Kohl and co-founders Avi Perez and Herbert Ochtman entered into a development partnership with Microsoft that evolved into a full BI product. Ochtman previously co-founded several companies, including Urix, a health data analytics company, while Kohl launched his own startups, including the “micropayments” platform Pdway.
“In short, data teams in business analytics are stuck in the past. It is difficult to adapt data-driven decision-making in an increasingly complex world. Many tools are outdated, broken or just too complicated to use,” Kohl said. “We saw an opportunity to help businesses…transform the way people make decisions with data. We’ve built the roadmap for [Pyramid,] that combines data preparation, business analytics, and data science, with the power of AI and the security of governed self-service.”
Pyramid leverages machine learning and AI to automate some of the technical work involved in preparing business data, analyzing it, and creating and sharing reports and dashboards collaborative. The self-service, no-code platform also uses AI to provide explanations in specific areas of interest, leveraging a query engine that accesses data where it is stored.
Kohl calls it “augmented analytics,” a phrase he says captures the use of AI for “generating insights” to support how people make sense of data. “Data-driven decision making is now expected from the C suite and traditional BI tools fall short,” he added. “This is where business intelligence comes in, bringing together disparate data sources into an intelligent platform for automated insights.”
Customers, especially those in regulated industries, might rightly be concerned about how Pyramid handles their data. But Kohl says the company’s query engine, Pyrana, doesn’t need to move or transform data to perform operations on it.
“Pyrana brings analytics to data. [reduces] data latency and data volume limitations that are crippling for a remote employee. You can only upload a limited amount of data to a laptop. So only a subset of datasets can be used at a time,” he said. “Essentially, our customers leave their data where it is and bring analytics to their data.
The problem facing Pyramid and its competitors is one of expectations. Fifty-four percent of users responding to a SoftwareReviews survey said they were unhappy with BI vendors that underdelivered, expressing disappointment that the platforms failed to deliver new insights or find business improvement opportunities. In many cases, features widely advertised by BI vendors are achievable with existing platforms such as Microsoft Power BI, Qlik and Tableau.
Some executives are also loath to adopt a BI tool they don’t trust. A 2021 survey published in MIT Sloan Management Review found that many businesspeople choose to make their own decisions when receiving suggestions from an AI system, regardless of the historical accuracy of the system.
Kohl insists that Pyramid is different, pointing to its strong growth in recent months. The company has 2,450 customers (albeit a mix of direct and indirect customers), including the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and revenue is up 100% year over year. Investors are obviously confident – Series E was oversubscribed by $20 million.
“Differentiation is key – quality and completeness are key. We are fiercely independent for a reason. We want to stay true to our promise to customers to provide a rich analytics canvas, similar to how Adobe created a suite for data-driven projects,” Kohl said. “We offer both strong augmented analytics capabilities and a full suite of traditional analytics capabilities.”
Jerusalem Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital and Viola Growth also participated in Pyramid’s Series E, which brought the company’s total to $211 million. Pyramid currently has 245 employees spread across London, New York and Tel Aviv, and the company expects to have nearly 350 by the end of the year.