ServiceNow doubles down on customer experience with Catalyst investment

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New York-based Catalyst, a startup providing enterprises with an intelligence layer for customer retention and growth, today received a strategic investment from ServiceNow Ventures, the venture capital arm of enterprise automation major ServiceNow.

While the companies did not share the exact specifics of the transaction, Edward Chiu, the CEO and co-founder of Catalyst, did confirm to VentureBeat that the funding takes the company’s total capital raised to $74 million. Prior to this, Catalyst had also received investment from Ali Ghodsi-led Databricks in a venture round.

The company plans to use the funding to build out its product and reach more enterprises, while ServiceNow plans to bring Catalyst’s data and intelligence capabilities into its Now Platform to help enterprises deliver improved customer experiences.

“Both companies are looking beyond just solving ‘productivity’,” Chiu told VentureBeat. “By combining Catalyst’s prowess in data to enhance processes and ServiceNow’s robust automation platform – imagine faster customer complaint resolutions and improved customer interaction experiences.”


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Customer intelligence for retention, upsell

As the economic picture continues to look murky, enterprises are not only looking to add new customers but also searching for ways to retain the ones they already have and upsell to them — which is where Catalyst specializes.

The company offers a SaaS platform that aggregates customer data from multiple sources into one view and provides sales and success teams detailed insights into customer maturity, health and upsell potential. 

“We help enterprises organize all of their customer data from CRMs like Salesforce, customer usage data from platforms like Databricks, Redshift and BigQuery and any other user data (like support tickets, emails) that may live inside tools like Mixpanel, Zendesk, Jira and Gmail,” Chiu said.

Catalyst Expansion Signal
Catalyst platform

Once the data is organized, the platform performs analytics, powered by Databricks’ lakehouse and AI engine, to identify which customers are ready for upsell/expansion and which ones are at risk of going away. It also pairs the insights with automation capabilities to automatically take necessary actions — like sending targeted emails — for each customer at the right time.

Since its launch in 2016, Catalyst has roped in more than 200 modern software companies, including the likes of Yext, Canva, Braze, Fivetran and Carta. It saw a record 81% QoQ growth in the last quarter, Chiu said.

ServiceNow to leverage Catalyst’s smarts

With the latest investment, ServiceNow plans to bring Catalyst into its Now Platform. This will give businesses the ability to leverage Catalyst’s proprietary customer data and insights within ServiceNow Customer Service Management and Creator Workflows and deliver seamless experiences to their end customers. For Catalyst, this will expand the company’s enterprise reach.

ServiceNow’s Assist Virtual Agent will tap Catalyst’s customer health data to deliver quicker and more efficient resolutions.

“Catalyst is a standout in the customer experience category and has helped many organizations gain new insights and unlock new revenue potential. We’re excited to partner with Catalyst to find new ways to drive productivity and efficiencies across the enterprise, and to play a role in their continued growth,” Victor Chang, vice president of ServiceNow Ventures, said in a statement. 

What’s in the pipeline for Catalyst?

With the increased reach from ServiceNow and the capital support, Catalyst plans to accelerate product innovation and grow its customer base. 

The company is working on automating communications with its customers on the key value it delivers — which has historically been done through in-person meetings — as well as simplifying user experience through conversational AI, enabling users to understand their customer health without navigating to different places in the interface.

“This is the future that modern enterprise customers of Catalyst expect,” Chiu said, adding the core vision is to make the leading platform for all things post-sales, just like Salesforce is the leading platform for sales. 

In this customer growth and retention segment, Catalyst competes with multiple players, including Vista-aquired Gainsight, PlanHat, StepFunction and Totango.

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