The Future of Decision-Making: 3 Startup Opportunities


As organizations continue their digital transformations, the way they make decisions changes. In particular, organizations are:

– Pushing decision- making further down in the organization, empowering everyone in an organization to make decisions rather than waiting for decisions to “flow down from headquarters”.
– Making smarter decisions using relevant, timely insight based on actual data, rather than relying on top-down strategy or static rules or experience or gut instinct.
– Making more decisions, including automating some decisions altogether—think of Amazon continually updating prices for its products throughout the day.

In this conversation, a16z Enterprise Deal Partner Jad Naous talks with Frank Chen about how decision- making is changing, and how this is creating opportunities for startups to re-tool the entire business intelligence data pipeline. To support this new style of decision- making, we need to store, analyze, and report on data in a fundamentally different way.

The good news is that startups and open source projects are starting to enable this new style of decision making. We describe three categories of startup opportunities:

– Providing platforms,tools, and services such as Data Bricks’ Unified Analytics Platform, Imply’s Druid, Optimizely, Instabase, Gigster and Sigopt to enable this new style of decision making
– Providing “full stack” solutions for specific roles in an organization, such as sales (, marketing (ActionIQ,, support (PagerDuty, Dialpad), R&D (Github), legal (Everlaw), HR and finance (Accolade), and so on
– Providing “full stack” for specific industries, such as automotive (DeepMap, Applied Intuition), financial services , energy, mining (KoBold Metals), logistics (Samsara), government (OpenGov), defense (, retail, and technology