Hightouch, The Data Activation Platform, Acquires Workflow Automation Startup Workbase

Tech Industry

For B2B SaaS companies relying on product-led sales growth as their revenue strategy, being able to retrieve customer data on-demand is critical. Data that is collected in customer data warehouses can be put to work by revenue operations and other data-driven teams. Hightouch, the data activation platform startup, has recently acquired Workbase, a workflow automation company, for an undisclosed amount. The acquiring company states, “Workbase’s entire full-time team will join forces with Hightouch.” Both the co-founders of Hightouch (Josh Curl, Kashish Gupta and Tejas Manohar) and Workbase (John Tan and Ed Parsons) have plenty to share about the acquisition, respectively.

Frederick Daso: How did you realize that Hightouch would give Workbase the greatest chance of success in realizing its mission for its customers?

John Tan and Ed Parsons: We started hearing more and more about Hightouch in the market. Many of our customers wanted us to connect to Hightouch. They provided a flexible data activation layer on top of data warehouses, whereas Workbase provided components to make that data easy to use for RevOps and GTM teams.

Workbase saw a world where channels like Product-Led Growth would mean that RevOps teams needed an intuitive way to interface with the Modern Data Stack. When our two teams shared our long-term vision, we soon realized the possibilities.

Daso: Given your focus on revenue operations for product-led sales companies, will Workbase’s main focus be on that particular business case, or will there be other opportunities to chase after post-acquisition?

Tan and Parsons: There will be other opportunities to chase. The breadth of domain-specific data in data warehouses is growing every year. That means more and more business teams will look to build processes and workflows on top of those central repositories.

For example, even at Workbase, customers were already using us for complex account scoring and operational cost monitoring, among others, on top of traditional product-led Sales use cases. We will continue to push on this vision at Hightouch.

Daso: In the past, Hightouch defined itself as a pioneer in operational analytics; however, one notices that the startup calls itself a “Data Activation” platform. What necessitated that change in definition, and thus, perception?

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Kashish Gupta, Tejas Manohar and Josh Curl: Category creation is a journey.

When we first launched Hightouch, customers called us “Reverse ETL” since we synced data from the data warehouse into SaaS tools, the “reverse” of ETL tools like Fivetran that worked in the other direction. We ran with the term because it “clicked” but knew it didn’t make sense for our category name to be the “reverse” of something else long-term.

We played with the term “Operational Analytics.” Still, we consistently got feedback from our customers that the term was confusing, as people thought it described their business operations’ analytics.

Overall, we found the term “Data Activation” to align with what our product does. Overall, it is clearer to customers– Hightouch helps you activate the data from your warehouse by making it available in places where you can take action. It also nicely contrasts with “Data Analytics.” We’ve had a lot of success testing the term in sales for a few months now and decided it was time to take the category to market with a big splash.

Daso: As Hightouch has grown, what new use cases have the team observed where various business-oriented teams could not “activate the data in their warehouse,” and how does Workbase help address those issues?

Gupta, Manohar and Curl: The biggest trend in B2B SaaS is product-led growth (PLG), where the self-service product first handles inbound demand, and sales teams prospect out of the online customer base. The difficulty is that traditional sales & marketing tools like Salesforce and Marketo don’t have deep native integrations with your data warehouse, where product usage data lives. It is hard for business-oriented teams to leverage rich customer data for go-to-market motions.

Both our teams have the vision to make this highly intuitive to the business user. For example, a RevOps team may want to set up a series of triggers for product qualified leads – when a free tier customer hits a certain usage threshold, or multiple users are getting invited to an account. This logic requires running several queries on warehouse data.

Daso: What does Hightouch hope to learn from the Workbase team’s expertise and depth to create products and services that help Hightouch customers summon data when they need it during customer success calls or for general sales processes?

Gupta, Manohar and Curl: Workbase focused on making it easy for Revenue Operations teams to activate their data warehouse for specific business use cases like Product-led Sales. For example, they notify sales reps when a high-value prospect logs into their app. While the existing Hightouch product can accomplish many similar use cases, our product was built for data teams and required more technical “know-how.” As we scale Hightouch, we want to build simpler flows for business teams to set up common use cases on top of their data warehouse. We believe that the Workbase team’s wealth of knowledge, perspective, and technical expertise will accelerate our progress to building the Data Activation platform for not just data teams– but all teams.

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