Alteryx boss warns of software ‘sub-prime unicorns’

David Reed, director of research and editor-in-chief, DataIQ

“In their race to become unicorns - a company with a $1 billion valuation - software companies are making sub-optimal choices. As a result, they are becoming sub-prime unicorns,” George Mathew, president and COO of data blending and analytics vendor Alteryx, has warned. “Successful businesses are not about short-term valuations, but long-term customer growth.”

Mathew described Alteryx as the "flagship software company” in the portfolio of investors Iconiq Capital, Insight Venture Partners and Meritech Capital Partners. The market for predictive analytics has been forcast to reach $7.8 billion worldwide by 2020, ensuring strong interest in start-ups and vendors with a footprint in this sector. 

But Mathew said his business is taking care of the basics, rather than chasing a high valuation. “What we’ve focused on is building a customer-oriented, profitable company over time, as opposed to one that is looking to become a unicorn,” said Mathew.

Alteryx has gained significant market traction through its focus on enabling line-of-business users to self-serve analytical queries and by its ability to pull data from multiple sources. Mathew points to another reason for its adoption: “Excel needed a BFF. Our customers are running our solution alongside because it passes the 1 million row limit and allows you to follow insights back up to the data. That is where our success has been and why we are adding hundreds of new clients quarterly.”