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Why an American unicorn is drawn to NRW

Christian Werling, Regional Director DACH (©ThoughtSpot)

Christian Werling, Regional Director DACH (©ThoughtSpot)

A startup with a real mission: ThoughtSpot's technology aims to contribute to a more fact-driven world and enable analysis on a "human level". The American unicorn is already the leading provider of search and AI-based analysis in the American market. Christian Werling, Regional Director for ThoughtSpot Germany, Austria and Switzerland, explains in an interview what exactly ThoughtSpot's business model is and why the company has set up its DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) headquarters in Duisburg.

  • What exactly does ThoughtSpot do? 

ThoughtSpot is a provider of search and AI-based analytics software. The company was founded in 2012 by a team of software engineers who previously worked for Google, Oracle, Microsoft, Yahoo and other Silicon Valley companies, with the goal of creating a more fact-driven world in which data and insights are immediately available to all employees, regardless of their technical skills. The solution allows users to simply enter any data-related question into the application's search bar, calculate the answers and display them in the most appropriate visualization depending on the type of data, just like in a Google search. 

In the context of digital transformation, a tool like ThoughtSpot, which allows the democratization of data, is in great demand. In autumn 2019, the company moved into its DACH headquarters at the Accelerator Startport in Duisburg's Inner Harbor.

  • You also want to conquer the European market with your innovative business model and have opened your DACH headquarters in NRW – how did this location decision come about? What are the main advantages for your company in particular

The dynamic business location North Rhine-Westphalia is perfect for our growth development in the DACH region. As the largest industrial region in Europe, there are many companies in NRW that would like to accelerate their digital transformation with the help of further insights from their own data and that we can support in the process.

In times of a shortage of skilled workers, the broad-based university landscape and the large talent pool are of course ideal. With two international airports, the region is also perfectly connected – which is very important for an international company like ThoughtSpot. The central location within Germany enables us to reach our customers and partners quickly. In fact, due to our growth, I am unfortunately, or fortunately, more on the move than in our great new office. 

Companies such as PAYBACK GmbH and Uniper are already among our customers in Germany. Companies from the region also use ThoughtSpot to get a quick and easy overview of their company data. Our new location will enable us to exchange information even better with our customers and partners.

  • NRW.INVEST accompanied you along this path – how helpful was this support?

NRW.INVEST provided us with intensive support in selecting the right location and helped ThoughtSpot to network with relevant players in the North Rhine-Westphalian digital scene. It is thanks to NRW.INVEST that we were ultimately able to move into the attractive office space here in Duisburg, Europe's largest inland port.

  • The new ThoughtSpot headquarters is located in Duisburg's Accelerator Startport, a platform for young startups. What is your first impression of the location?

First of all, of course, you have to mention the great location. From our office we have a unique view of the whole Ruhr region. With its restaurants, bars and cafés, there is a pulsating atmosphere here that is simply fun. In addition, there is the first-class infrastructure that Startport offers us and the synergies of the Starport ecosystem from which we benefit. With Startport we are in very good hands!

  • Your company has had a very successful year. What do you want to do next, in the DACH region in particular?

Our growth in the region is set to continue in the future, and we at ThoughtSpot are relying heavily on our partners for this. We will continue to look for potential partners here.

We will certainly continue to grow in terms of personnel as well. When I started my job at ThoughtSpot, I was pretty much alone in Germany. A year later and our full service team consists of 15 people from sales, customer support and engineering.

As an endurance athlete, I know that sometimes it takes a lot of stamina and patience to reach a goal. But in my wildest dreams I never imagined that we would achieve so much in just one year. So we will certainly not rest on our laurels, but continue to bring fundamental innovations to the market.