Seam wants to make customer data accessible to every business user

As data access becomes increasingly tied to business success, making data available to all business users, regardless of their data-wrangling skills, has grown in importance. The founders of Seam, an early-stage startup, experienced the need to make data more accessible firsthand when they were at Okta, and decided to launch a company to solve this problem, especially as it relates to customer data.

On Tuesday, they announced a $5 million seed to make their vision a reality, and that they are making the product available to the public for the first time.

“We’re building what we’re calling the AI interface for customer information. And our mission is really to give anyone regardless of their technical ability, what we’re calling business users, the opportunity to use data to answer any questions they have,” company CEO and co-founder Nicholas Scavone told TechCrunch.

The way they are doing that is via a generative AI prompt interface that lets people ask questions about customer data and get answers back without understanding SQL queries. “Our solution to this is really to build kind of an end-to-end system that gives you a simple chat interface where you can have a conversation with your data in natural language, specifically around the sales and marketing systems,” he said.

The problem with current systems is that in order to get information out of your data warehouse — Seam is built on top of Snowflake — it requires you to know SQL, and that creates friction for most business users, requiring them to go to a data analyst to get the information they need to do their jobs. Generative AI systems offer the ability to turn a plain language query into SQL code automatically and return an answer. He says he and his co-founders recognized this capability was a business opportunity.

“Whenever you see friction like this in a business process, you understand that there’s an opportunity, and that discovery happened to time well with this AI technology shift. All of a sudden it was feasible to solve this problem with natural language without knowing SQL,” he said.

They launched the company in March 2023 and spent a year building. It took a long time to build because they were trying to simplify something incredibly complex, something that a whole team at Okta struggled with. “I think that it took that long because there’s an incredible amount of data infrastructure that we had to set up. We had to integrate with more than 20 applications. We had to make sure that pipelines can be created via one click,” he said. And it was a lot of work trying to automate what it took a bunch of highly skilled people to build prior to this.

With the product together, they are looking to scale their market now. “We’re starting to really scale. Our platform is sturdy, it’s production-grade, we’re working with some great enterprises. So that’s how I would kind of look at the future for us,” he said.

The $5 million seed investment was led by Bessemer Venture Partners with participation from Colle Capital, F7 Ventures, Ritual Capital and Umami Capital. The company also received investments from a number of industry angels.

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