Databricks Invests In Catalyst, Targeting The Elusive Customer Intelligence Category

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New York-based Catalyst, a company mobilizing customer data for enterprise growth, today announced it has received strategic funding from Databricks Ventures, the venture capital arm of Databricks.

While the amount infused remains undisclosed, the move marks Databricks’ first investment in the growing customer intelligence category. Prior to this, the Ali Ghodsi-led data and AI company had primarily backed prominent data stack players such as dbt Labs, Matilion, and Alation. 

Catalyst said the investment would deepen the integration between its offering and Databricks’ lakehouse, enabling a better user experience for their joint customers. 

Catalyst offers customer intelligence for retention, upsell

Founded in 2016, Catalyst is an SaaS platform that aggregates customer data from multiple sources into one intuitive view and provides sales and success teams detailed insights into customer maturity, health and upsell potential.


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“We help enterprises organize all of their customer data from CRMs like Salesforce, customer usage data from platforms like Databricks, Redshift and BigQuery, and any other user data (like support tickets, emails) that may live inside tools like Mixpanel, Zendesk, Jira and Gmail,” Edward Chiu, Catalyst’s CEO, told VentureBeat.

Once this data is organized, Catalyst performs analytics, powered by Databricks’ lakehouse and AI engine, to identify which customers are ready for upsell/expansion and which ones are at risk of going away. It also pairs the insights with automation capabilities to automatically take necessary actions — like sending targeted emails — for each customer at the right time.

With this investment, Catalyst is expanding its engagement with Databricks, enabling joint customers to directly integrate the data they have in their Databricks lakehouse. The company says this will simplify the user experience and enable customers to get more value from their existing investments in Catalyst and Databricks. 

As part of this, Chiu said, Catalyst and Databricks also plan to launch a product feature where AI-driven predictive intelligence will provide signals when a customer is ready to spend more money. The feature will be called Expansion Signal. 

Catalyst Expansion Signal


While companies like Gainsight and Totango operate in the same space as Catalyst, Chiu claims they are legacy solutions built on outdated architecture and not modern in their data ingestion workflows. He said Catalyst’s integration with Databricks can onboard/implement customers within weeks, as against more than six months taken by other solutions. 

This results in faster ROI, which is critical in the current economic scenario where companies are struggling to get new customers and looking to extract more revenue from existing ones. 

Notably, the CEO added that Catalyst is the only platform that proactively tells enterprises which of their playbooks are actually generating positive results in customer adoption or increased spending. 

Prior to this investment, the company had raised a total of $65 million and its last public valuation was $245 million.

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