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ThoughtSpot Taps Former MuleSoft, Salesforce Exec Vahalia To Be Its New Global Channel Chief

Vahalia is focused on broadening ThoughtSpot’s alliances with cloud service providers and systems integrator partners as the data analytics software company looks to help customers leverage the “full data stack” for innovation and competitive advantage.

ThoughtSpot has hired former MuleSoft channel executive Kuntal Vahalia as its new global channel chief, charged with overseeing the cloud analytics company’s worldwide channel programs and alliances with systems integrators and the major cloud data service providers.

Vahalia, who started this week as senior vice president of worldwide channels and alliances at the fast-growing data analytics company, is charged with managing ThoughtSpot’s global partner, alliance and channel programs as part of the company’s go-to-market team.

In an interview with CRN, Vahalia said he was attracted to the new job because he saw in ThoughtSpot many of the same qualities he saw in MuleSoft: A fast-growing company with technology that has the potential to generate significant change among its users.

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“I wanted to join a firm that can really drive transformational impact through the industry. And I think ThoughtSpot can do that,” Vahalia said. “I felt the timing was right on a personal level for me to go build something again. ThoughtSpot just made sense. I signed up for the company as much as for the role.”

Vahalia worked at MuleSoft, a software integration platform developer, for more than eight years as vice president of global strategic channels, alliances and global OEM, and as vice president of global partner practice development. Before that he worked at Salesforce for more than nine years in various sales, service, and customer engagement posts. (Salesforce acquired MuleSoft in May 2018.)

At both companies he reveled in their rapid growth. “I haven’t woken up a single day and not delivered 50 percent growth for the business,” he said.

ThoughtSpot is one of the most visible companies within the competitive data analytics technology space with its search-based business intelligence software. Founded in 2012, the San Jose, Calif.-based company raised $100 million in a Series F round of funding in November, putting its valuation at $4.2 billion. (In March 2021 Snowflake acquired a stake in ThoughtSpot with a $20 million investment.)

More recently ThoughtSpot has emphasized its cloud-based analytics offerings, using the tagline “the modern analytics cloud” company. Cloud products now make up two-thirds of its annual recurring revenue and in the last year cloud ARR grew more than 175 percent.

“Where customers are now spending their time is really trying to figure out the full data stack,” Vahalia said, noting that data volumes continue to grow exponentially and businesses and organizations are trying to find the best ways to turn that data into insights, innovations and competitive advantage. “We could completely democratize how users consume analytics.”

Vahalia’s appointment consolidates under one position the management of ThoughtSpot’s channel partner program and management of the company’s key alliances with Google Cloud, Snowflake, Databricks and others. He reports to Chief Revenue Officer Spencer Tuttle and is part of ThoughtSpot’s go-to-market management team.

“In every customer conversation I have, it’s clear to me that innovative leaders recognize they have to build their businesses on data in entirely new ways if they want to not only survive, but thrive today and into the future,” Tuttle said in a statement announcing Vahalia’s appointment. “Kuntal has the vision and proven track record to bring together the best players in the industry to create meaningful solutions that help customers deliver outsized outcomes. With the power of data upending the status quo, we’re lucky to have Kuntal on board to ensure our partner ecosystem delivers the same experience and results to our joint customers as they look to dominate the decade of data.”

Previously channels and partners were overseen by channel chief Toni Adams, who left to join Starburst one year ago, while alliances were overseen by business development senior vice president Seann Gardiner, who took a position with Weights & Biases in October, according to his LinkedIn page.

“End to end, we think the [channel] ecosystem is going to be a key part for our strategy going forward. This is an ecosystem play,” Valhalia said.

“There is so much innovation already happening,” Vahalia continued, specifically referring to the major cloud platform vendors and companies like Snowflake and Databricks. “We can ride that wave because we can add differentiated value across all those industry leaders.”

(This week ThoughtSpot announced that its analytics platform was one of several data analytics products designated as Google Cloud Ready – BigQuery under a new Google program around the cloud giant’s BigQuery cloud data warehouse.)

Systems integrator partners are the other major component of ThoughtSpot’s go-to-market equation. In addition to providing implementation and related services, Vahalia said systems integrators add value within the data stack with partner-attached IP, and work with customers to leverage technologies like ThoughtSpot to drive change management.

“SIs have value in that, have deep expertise in that,” the channel executive said. “At the end of the day, systems integrators are setting and owning the mindshare of our customers. They are the ones driving some of the next-gen outcomes. They are the ones delivering the modern data stack, end-to-end, for our joint customers.”

Vahalia said over the next few weeks he intends to meet with members of the channel organization and with partners, immerse himself in better understanding ThoughtSpot’s technology and the company’s go-to-market plans in different geographies, and begin developing plans for the company’s fiscal 2023 that starts in August.

“My first priority is, ‘Let’s go learn the business,’” he said.

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