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Fivetran accelerates time to market for Daydream, an early-stage startup
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Fivetran accelerates time to market for Daydream, an early-stage startup

Fivetran accelerates time to market for Daydream, an early-stage startup

Software company enables customers to easily connect their SaaS platforms to its application for AI-enriched financial analysis.

By Theo Hopkinson, August 2, 2021

“Any way you can cut down on engineering is crucial for an early-stage startup. You have limited time and limited resources, so finding a shortcut takes so much pressure off your engineering team and allows them to focus on building out other aspects of the platform that are differentiators—such as delivery models, UI, pricing structure and other advantages. The integration between our platform and Fivetran is incredible.” Shubham Sinha, Head of Engineering, Daydream

Key results:

  • Fivetran cut at least a month off the launch timetable for this early stage startup

  • Fivetran helps Daydream deliver a product that answers critical business questions

  • Fivetran saves Daydream hundreds of engineering hours

  • Relying on Fivetran to handle sensitive customer data from dozens of SaaS platforms allows Shubham and the engineering team to focus on building value for Daydream’s customers

  • Fivetran’s pre-built dbt transformation packages relieve Daydream of having to design all of the transformations required for many of its data sources

  • As new CRM, ERP, accounting and other business systems come to market, Daydream can trust that Fivetran will build out its connector library to include these new solutions and platforms

Data Stack:

The Situation

Daydream is an early-stage startup that gives stakeholders across modern businesses the financial insights they need to make better decisions. The company’s business modeling and planning tool democratizes access to financial information by bringing together processes and data sources that are typically siloed—helping users to view data holistically, create insights and make data-based, informed decisions that enable agility. The platform's simple-yet-powerful collaboration flows and AI-powered insights help teams keep tabs on their business health, understand trade-offs, spot opportunities and double down on the growth initiatives that matter most.  

Above: Daydream forecasts key metrics with data from Fivetran data connectors

 

The Problem  

Shubham Sinha, Head of Engineering for Daydream, faced a critical decision. Success for his early-stage startup hinged on its ability to move massive amounts of data from its customers’ cloud-based business systems, each with their own login credentials and access challenges, into the Daydream platform for analysis.

Shubham faced two pathways for accessing and ingesting sensitive customer data. Daydream could either:

  1. Ask its customers for login credentials to their business systems – a potential security risk for its users and liability for Daydream – and use custom-built data pipelines to onboard data

  2. Rely on Fivetran to broker the credential sharing exchange and onboard data using its pre-built data pipelines.

Maintenance also posed a challenge. Each cloud platform has its own APIs, processes and data structures—many of them requiring custom integrations through scripting. Each connector could take weeks to develop. And once Shubham’s team had developed its connections, they would then need to manage and update them every time one of those business systems pushed a software update. Any potential downtime would result in an inability to deliver critical insights to customers.

“Building custom scripts just wasn’t feasible for a lean engineering team,” says Shubham. “It would take two weeks to develop each connector, which is fine if we’re just talking about several integrations. But our customers’ financial information is scattered across dozens of critical business systems in the cloud. We needed a way to pull in data from all these sources without burdening the engineering team.”

The Solution

Time to market is critical for a startup, so Shubham decided that it would be best to rely on an existing data integration solution to handle data migrations and daily syncs. He investigated several solutions that could be built into the Daydream stack– but many of the tools required a long on-boarding process and custom integrations that would take time to develop—time Daydream didn’t have. 

Shubham then signed up for a free trial of Fivetran. Within minutes he was experimenting with the hundreds of integrations already built into Fivetran’s connector library–ranging from Salesforce to Stripe. Shubham investigated the technical details of how the data syncs work, was impressed, and realized the technology would be a great fit for how he envisioned bringing data into the Daydream analytics platform he was building.

Shubham and his team were able to build the Daydream platform directly on top of Fivetran’s data pipelines within weeks. Now, every time a new customer creates an account with Daydream, a new Fivetran account is automatically created as well. The system then takes the customer through a setup wizard that discovers the various platforms the customer uses for CRM, ERP, accounting and other critical systems. Using REST APIs, Fivetran then pulls in and syncs data from SaaS platforms that the customer has granted Fivetran access to. Fivetran consolidates that information in Daydream’s platform, where it can be accessed and analyzed by its customers. By creating separate accounts for each of its customers in Fivetran, Daydream is able to easily segment its customers’ data, helping it meet security and compliance requirements.

Before extracting data from its customers’ SaaS platforms, Daydream needed to first solve for authenticating into those sources. Using Fivetran Connect Cards – an embeddable setup form – Daydream customers can securely pass their login credentials to Fivetran when connecting a data source to the Daydream platform.

Daydream and Fivetran Connect Cards:

  • Integrated instructions and set up tests make it easy for customers to connect any Fivetran-supported data source to Daydream

  • In case of a connection failure, actionable feedback to troubleshoot is provided without users needing to reach out directly to Daydream

  • Connect card is easy to embed with only two calls to Fivetran’s REST API and a redirect URL to display the setup form

The Connect Card popup allows the Daydream user to input login credentials for their chosen data source directly and initiate the sync, avoiding the need to share sensitive login info with Daydream.

“The integration between our platform and Fivetran is incredible,” Shubham says. “We rarely have to go into the management console to make any changes or troubleshoot events—and we certainly don’t give customers access. We set it in motion, and Fivetran just works. It runs itself.”

To get data closer to being analysis-ready, Daydream uses Fivetran’s dbt transformation packages. These packages automatically apply helpful aggregations and transformations to the raw data, creating a new set of tables containing the transformed data. Once the new tables are created, Daydream transforms the data further with its proprietary models. 

Fivetran’s pre-built transformation packages relieve Daydream of having to design all of the transformations required for many of its data sources, allowing them to focus on optimizing their proprietary models or further develop other aspects of the Daydream platform.

The Outcome

Relying on Fivetran to pull data from dozens of SaaS platforms allows Shubham and the engineering team to focus on other aspects of building out the Daydream platform—empowering a true customer-focused launch strategy based on discovering and solving businesses’ most pressing pain points. Not having to worry about data integrations, syncing and cleanup enables innovation in other areas while accelerating time to market. In fact, Shubham credits Fivetran with cutting at least a month off the launch timetable—an incredible advantage when building a new platform from scratch.

“Any way you can cut down on engineering is crucial for an early-stage startup,” Shubham says. “You have limited time and limited resources, so finding a shortcut takes so much pressure off your engineering team and allows them to focus on building out other aspects of the platform that are differentiators—such as delivery models, UI, pricing structure and other advantages.”

Daydream's platform takes the raw data synced by Fivetran to generate critical business insights through metrics and its ML-based forecasting, enabling companies to keep track of their business goals while having access to their own live data.

Shubham also credits Fivetran for making the Daydream platform more scalable. As new CRM, ERP, accounting and other business systems come to market, Daydream can trust that Fivetran will build out its connector library to include these new solutions and platforms. Very little, if any, internal engineering resources will be needed to add these connections to the Daydream platform—allowing the startup to expand its reach and provide additional coverage for customers without disrupting existing workflows.

“It’s a big advantage to be able to just hand that off to Fivetran, which already has the expertise, infrastructure and credibility to grow the connector library,” Shubham says.

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