Tech Leadership and Innovation

Informatica CEO plots data-centric return

Amit Walia has taken Informatica public again, but the company is different this time around

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Apple did it and Microsoft is in the midst doing it but successful second acts in the lives of American technology enterprises are rare. Tech companies that rise to prominence tend to rely on one major success and subsequent minor hits or diminishing returns. Against this familiar setup, enter Informatica, a company enjoying a remarkable renaissance that goes against the usual tech-sector lifecycle trajectory.

Informatica made its name in ETL (extract, transform, load), the tripartite process of taking polyglot data types and wrangling them into a unified data store. But in 2015 it took its business away from the public markets and went away to do its own internal transformation. Informatica left the markets as a traditional software company and came back to them, having traded NASDAQ for the New York Stock Exchange, in 2021 as a cloud-focused, more modern-looking organisation.

“We asked ourselves ‘if we were a startup walking into this, what would we do?’” recalls Amit Walia, CEO since January 2020. Walia describes the “1.0” version of the company as a “single product, on-prem company specialising in ETL” and the “2.0” upgrade capitalising on “a significant opportunity in the data space with a multi-product, cloud-first approach, AI platform leadership and a 100% subscription model with over $1bn [in annual subs-based revenues].” Today, he says, “data integration just one of the seven things we do” alongside data cataloguing, master data management, data analytics, data governance, data quality and data marketplaces.

A pause for breath

The break from NASDAQ gave Informatica the space to “reinvent and grow”, Walia says, having been acquired by private-equity company Permira, an outfit with one of the most progressive reputations in a PE sector that was once seen as a shark pool but is increasingly becoming a nurturing zone that helps companies to go again. “PE has many shapes,” Walia says. “Some could have been cost-cutting but I said ‘if that happens, I’m out’. Permira is very growth-oriented.”

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