Getting actionable business information into the hands of users who need it has always been a challenge. If you have to wait for experts to help you find the answers, chances are you’re going to be too late. Enter Tellius, an early-stage startup building a solution to help business users find the information they need when they need it.
Today the company announced an $8 million Series A led by Sands Capital Ventures, with participation from Grotech. Today’s investment brings the total raised to $17 million, according to the company.
CEO and founder Ajay Khanna says the company is attempting to marry two technologies that have traditionally lived in silos: business intelligence and artificial intelligence. He believes that bringing them together can lead to greater wisdom and help close the insight gap.
“Tellius is an AI-driven decision intelligence platform, and what we do is we combine machine learning — AI-driven automation — with a Google-like natural language interface, so combining the left brain and the right brain to enable business teams to get insights on the data,” Khanna told me.
The idea is to let the machine learning teams and the business analysts continue to do their thing, but provide an application where business users can put all of that to work. “We believe that to go from data to decisions, you need to know not only what happened, but why things change and how you can improve your company,” he said.
The product takes aim at three employee groups. The first is the business user, who can simply query the data with a natural language question to get results. The second is a data analyst, who can get more granular by choosing a specific model to base the query on, and finally a data scientist who can enhance the query with Python or Spark code.
It connects to various data sources, including Salesforce and Google Analytics, data lakes like Snowflake, csv files to take advantage of Excel data or cloud storage tools like Amazon S3. It comes in two versions: one that the customer can connect to the cloud infrastructure provider of choice, and one which they run as a service and manage for the customers.
Khanna says that as companies struggled to change the way they do business during the pandemic, they needed the kind of insights his company provides, and business grew 300% last year as a result.
The startup launched in 2016 after Khanna sold a previous company, which allowed him to bootstrap while in stealth. They spent a couple of years building the product and brought the first version of Tellius to market in Q3 2018. That’s when they took a $7.5 million seed round.