I always have mixed feelings about competitive blog posts and to keep my life simple and the blog pure, I generally try to avoid doing them. However, for a bevy of reasons related primarily to how Adaptive Insights chooses to compete with Host Analytics, I have made and will continue to make a few exceptions.
From the day I joined Host Analytics, Adaptive made a deliberate FUD campaign against Host Analytics and aimed very much at the company.
- They’d point out I was a new CEO and that new was scary. They’d forget to say experienced CEO who already grew a company to $80M, knew the BI/EPM category, and was running a $500M division at Salesforce.
- They’d say we had scary management turnover. They’d forget to say that I was building a new team to take the company to the next level and rather than examining the simple fact of change, you should evaluate whether the change was good or bad. The real question was whether the team I was building was well suited to moving the company forward. Did the people have the right experience? Had they built startups before? Did they know the category?
- They’d talk about their funding and tell customers (crossing the defamation line in my humble opinion) that we were risky to buy from due to financing issues. Anaplan shut that down pretty fast after raising a $100M round and to date Crunchbase reports that Host Analytics has raised $86M and Adaptive $101M — no big difference there.
- They’d boast that they hired our former people. They’d forget the part about “that we didn’t want.” In my tenure we’ve never hired someone in the reverse direction, and I don’t expect we will. Our aim is to be “the Hyperion of the cloud” and you don’t get there with low-end people pumping low-end product.
Adaptive’s argument was simple: customers should (1) buy from the company who’s raised the most money in the space and (2) not buy from a company if they have had senior management changes. Thus, I am pleased to report by Adaptive’s own “insights” (i.e., reasoning), that customers should not buy from them.
If you want the company whose raised the most capital, it’s not Adaptive, it’s Anaplan at $144M.
Note that I never made the argument that most money is best. Business Objects was grown to $1B+ in revenues on something like $4M in VC. Tableau is worth $8B today and was built on $15M in (as I hear it, unneeded) VC. In my opinion, when it comes to startups and VC, the Goldilocks rule applies: neither too much nor too little — but just right.
If you want to avoid companies with management turmoil, consider the following:
- By my count, Adaptive Insights is on its fourth CEO since 2011. Count: (1) the interim guy whose name I can’t remember, (2) Rob Hull who I believe acted as interim at some point, (3) John Herr who was exited in July 2014, and now (4) retired East Coast venture capitalist Tom Bogan.
- Long-time SVP of Sales Neil Thomas left the company this past November after 8 years.
- President and CRO Keith Nealon, appointed to much fanfare in July 2014 is now gone after just 9 months. His movement to the “advisor” section of the management page and reference as “former” confirms this.
Quick: what’s the #1 reason people with quotas suddenly leave companies?
I will try to avoid the tendency to editorialize about the subjective question of whether the new team is the right one, with the right experience, in the right categories, et cetera and simply observe this fact: if you believe Adaptive’s argument that you should not buy from companies with management changes, then you shouldn’t buy from Adaptive.