Happy Mode Year!

BY Steve Vassallo

In an internal investment memo I wrote back in 2015, when Foundation Capital led Mode Analytics’ Series A, I said, “there is a fundamental shift [happening] in the entire data management and analytics stack.” I predicted that this shift to cloud-based business-intelligence tools would lead to the creation of multiple billion-dollar analytics companies being created. With 2022 hindsight, I think that if anything, my expectations were set too low. And not just me but everyone in the tech ecosystem — we all collectively underestimated the market opportunity.

It’s now apparent that the trend towards data and data decision-making is irreversible and monumentally large. Large (and even not so large) businesses are awash in data and whether they sink or swim is contingent on how well they’re able to make use of that data. As we say on the enterprise team at Foundation: every company is becoming a software company; every business will be in the data business. And Mode is better placed than ever to become the best way to carry out and share analysis on top of the modern data stack.

In that original Mode investment memo, I also wrote, “The team has exceptional product instincts and understands the needs of citizen data scientists.” And what has remained constant since then is my conviction that the founders, Derek Steer, Benn Stancil, and Josh Ferguson, were genetically engineered to build Mode, a product by analysts for analysts. The team knew their audience deeply because they were them. They had an intuitive sense for the market opportunity that came from being practitioners. It’s one of the attributes of extraordinary founders that can’t be transplanted. They’d felt the pain of Mode not existing — so they built it.


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What they’ve built is nothing short of powerful. Mode is a tool for today’s data stack and a solution for a reinvented business analytics market. Derek, Benn, Josh, and their team have created a product deployed by over 600 customers as the lens into their cloud data warehouses and a platform that recognizes the centrality of the data scientist in driving collaboration and decision making in the enterprise. With Mode, businesses can go from vexing questions to penetrating insights faster than ever.

Another attribute of extraordinary founders is the ability to recognize and prioritize the changing needs of their company as it scales and evolves. As the Google founders did when they brought on Eric Schmidt as CEO and as the Snowflake founders did when they brought on Frank Slootman as CEO, Mode is expanding its executive management team to take the company through its next stage of rapid growth and beyond. Derek has been a driving force behind these efforts, including passing the torch to Gaurav Rewari, the company’s newly announced CEO.

If Derek, Benn, and Josh were genetically engineered to build Mode, Gaurav is genetically engineered to scale it. He is a proven industry leader with more than two decades of experience in business intelligence across companies at every stage. As an early employee and first product manager at MicroStrategy, Gaurav helped grow the company through its IPO. He was then the VP of product management at Oracle for its $2.5-billion analytics business. Gaurav went on to found two leading SaaS analytics startups, including Numerify, where he was also the CEO.

Mode’s founders accomplished the always impossible task of lifting their startup from zero to one. Now they’ve found in Gaurav a partner who can help them take the company from one to infinity. And I’m more confident and excited than I’ve ever been that Mode will be one of the great companies of the new data age!