On June 18th, Infostrux CEO, Goran Kimovski (Kima) sat down with S. Somasegar (Soma) to discuss Soma’s experience and lessons as a board member and early investor in Snowflake. Kima and Soma discuss the concept and value of the data cloud and why data exchange will be as important as data warehousing. As an active angel investor and seed investor, Soma describes what makes a great investment and what he looks for while investing in both enterprise and consumer segments.
Kima: I know you have a particular interest in companies that are seeing potential in using data, machine learning, and AI to accelerate innovation. Let’s put Snowflake aside for a moment, do you think there is an area, or segment, where you think that potential has already been realized, or is about to make a difference?
Soma: Broadly speaking, we use the term intelligent applications. In the last 10 or 12 years, it’s all been about SaaS. People are moving away from the on-premises model, it’s all going to be delivered as a service from the cloud. That is what we have seen for the past decade or so.
Moving forward, what we think is going to happen is every application that gets built today, or that’s going to be running off any scale or size, is going to be what we call an intelligent application. By intelligent application, we mean that every application is going to access some data, build a continuous learning system using that data through machine learning or AI, and continuously improve the application with more data. There’s a flywheel that builds a continuous learning system. We think every application in every vertical and every use case in enterprises and businesses is going to be an intelligent application.
It starts with thinking about the future of work – how do we build next-generation productivity tools for my employees, how do we better engage with our customers, how do we better understand our customers, or how do we better serve our customers?
If you look at pretty much every aspect of what enterprises are trying to do today, there is data and there is an opportunity to use it through machine learning and AI. How can we be smarter about both understanding and being able to respond to more appropriate delivery in the process?
It’s something that we’ve seen happening in the last 3 – 5 years. But it’s still very early days in terms of scratching the surface and the progress companies have made. In the next decade or two, it’s all going to be about how our applications in enterprises are going to be more intelligent.
We are very excited to be investing in, broadly speaking, what we call intelligent applications.
Kima: I love that framing. Machine learning and AI are tools. They are ways to make intelligent applications. There are probably other ways we can make intelligent applications that are not invented yet, and hopefully platforms like Snowflake enable that. Data becomes central so if you start building applications on top of a platform like Snowflake, it’s all about data, the computer is in the background, it’s there when you need it. It’s really not about computers, it’s about data.