Investing in Census

The new world of business growth, not just enterprise growth, has been optimized, fine-tuned, and is driven by data, tremendous amounts of data. The enterprise go-to-market funnel used to be: marketing makes leads, leads turn into opportunities and sales gets engaged, customer buys, customer uses product. Today, thanks to that tremendous amount of data, the funnel has changed. Marketing is almost entirely focused on getting prospective customers to start using the product, and then executing on marketing campaigns directed at existing users to drive an upgrade funnel through a bottom-up self-serve sales motion. After the initial sale, a post-sales customer success team will engage customers smartly on renewing, teaching how to best use a product, or engaging on upgrading to get new features. 

The stack of tools to collect and store data has been maturing for some time. Companies use products like Stripe, Mixpanel, Fivetran, dbt, and Databricks to generate, collect, load, transform, and store mountains of information on user behavior, application performance, feature interactions, and much more. Most of the tools to date have been focused on generating and storing the data. Later, data scientists analyze and generate reports from that data in an ad hoc, offline way to inform product decisions, marketing programs, etc. But connecting the data to actual production business systems to make the analytics actionable has been missing, until now.

Census allows teams to unify data from different sources, synchronize it, and most importantly, tie it to critical business systems so that data can instantly be actionable. Census is how companies who aspire to be data-driven actually become driven by data! 

This holy grail of making data actionable by tying it into the critical business systems that power a company – turning the data warehouse into a “central nervous system” for the business – is what’s driving incredible growth at some of the most important startups in Silicon Valley, including Canva, Drizly, Figma, Notion, Loom, Clearbit, and many more. These companies represent the vanguard of the new models for engaging customers – where a great product is tied with a great customer experience – powered by Census.

I met Boris and his team more than two years ago, soon after I joined Andreessen Horowitz, and leading their seed round was my very first investment after joining the firm. Backing a repeat team of fantastic entrepreneurs with a great idea in a category near and dear to my heart was a no-brainer. At the time, Census was somewhere between vision and prototype. The Census team has come a long way since then solving a real problem, going after a huge opportunity, and assembling a rapidly-growing list of fantastic customers. I’m incredibly proud of what they’ve accomplished since we first invested, and today they announced their Series A led by Sequoia Capital, along with us, of course, which you can read about on the Census blog here.



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