Today we officially welcome our newest portfolio partner, Hakkoda — a data engineering consultancy specializing in Snowflake.
Those following Tercera closely may notice that Hakkoda doesn’t completely follow our typical investment pattern. As a growth equity investment and advisory firm, we typically invest in later stage IT services companies — companies that have been around for a few years, have built a solid foundation for the business, found market fit and are looking at their next phase of growth.
Hakkoda is different. Hakkoda is a company that has been built from the ground up, post-pandemic, to be the epitome of a third-wave cloud consultancy.
This announcement has been a long time coming — the team has been operating in semi-stealth mode since July — and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome Hakkoda’s founding team to the Tercera family!
Tercera’s journey to the snowiest place on Earth
When we were forming the thesis for Tercera, we spent more than a year researching the cloud ecosystems we believed would fuel the next generation of IT services. Snowflake was at the top of that list.
In 2020, Snowflake and its data cloud platform had taken the enterprise IT world by storm. In less than a decade, the company had grown to nearly half a billion dollars in revenue and amassed almost 5,000 customers. Its IPO in Sept 2020 is still the largest software IPO on record. It was clear that Snowflake was going to be a key player in the new enterprise IT stack and could be a huge opportunity for service providers in that ecosystem.
So we set out to find the right partner to invest in. We spent months mapping the existing services partners around this young, fast growing company, and speaking with Snowflake about what they were looking for in the ecosystem. We quickly realized this was going to be harder than expected.
While there were plenty of partners out there, none quite fit the bill. They were either large global service providers where Snowflake was one of many data partners, or small boutique consultancies that were either diluted, too narrowly focused, or lacked the vision, experience or passion to grow as fast as we knew this market would demand.
So we started thinking about what it would take to build one from scratch. A Snowflake pure-play that could reinvent data engineering services, the same way Snowflake reinvented the database. Now we just needed the right team to make it happen. Luckily, that was a little easier.
Architecting the right team
When thinking of the perfect CEO to lead this venture, we immediately thought of Erik Duffield, a Boulder-based serial services leader who knows cloud and data inside and out, and one of the most visionary leaders we know. Erik and I first met at Appirio, where he ran our global services team. He eventually took over my role as Appirio’s CEO post acquisition, when I moved into the Global Culture Officer role at Wipro, and was at that point a General Manager and Managing Director at Deloitte Digital.
The challenge was convincing Erik to see the opportunity in this space and leave Deloitte. Luckily, Erik was already incredibly passionate about the space, which was a helpful start. He had been leading the team developing software on Snowflake at Deloitte and saw the potential it had to change the way companies used and created value from their data. He was in!
Erik then went on to recruit what we collectively refer to as the Dream Team — his co-founders Ha Hoang, Ryan Tucker, Kim Heger, Bob Hardin and Patrick Buell.
Ha had helped build Appirio’s Cloud Management practice, growing it from a nascent part of the business to a significant contributor to Appirio’s bottom line. Ha had left to become the global head of technology operations at McKinsey, running client-facing cloud services. She is now Hakkoda’s COO and a member of Hakkoda’s board of directors.
Ryan, who is now Hakkoda’s Chief Revenue Officer, once ran global sales and alliances for Appirio’s second largest cloud practice and was a Managing Director at KPMG.
Kim, who is now Hakkoda’s Chief Talent, Culture and Wellness Officer, had run the change management function at Appirio and its Worker Experience strategy group before leaving to become a Chief People Officer at Leapgen.
Bob, who is now Hakkoda’s EVP of Industry Solutions and Strategic Accounts, had led Appirio’s Health & Life Sciences practice and was RVP for Customer Solutions at Polsource.
Patrick, who is Hakkoda’s VP of Consulting, worked with Bob and Erik at JCB Partners, a specialized data warehousing and analytics firm before it was sold to Perficient, and led Kaiser Permanente’s Innovation lab and Architecture teams.
It’s been proven time and time again that the right leadership team can make every difference, which is why we’re so excited about this rock-star team.
What’s possible with the right team and focus
It’s been amazing to see what the team has accomplished in such a short amount of time.
They quickly rallied around a name — Hakkoda, which is derived from the Japanese mountain range of the same name that is one of the snowiest places on earth (more background here)
They began building out the company’s center of gravity in Latin America (LATAM). While the team would optimize for remote work in true third wave style, Hakkoda’s delivery team and customer innovation center is being built out in Costa Rica. A choice that sets Hakkoda up to take advantage of the growing engineering talent in that region and its close proximity to U.S. customers.
The team discovered their mission, identified their values, created and tested their service offerings, and in less than five months, has grown the company to 26 employees.
They’ve already begun work with a number of customers including US Foods. The VP of Analytics and Data Science at US Foods is on record in today’s announcement, saying Hakkoda’s unique model and data engineering expertise provided value in a matter of days.
Hakkoda has also partnered closely with the Costa Rican government and organizations such as Rocket Girls to find, train and inspire the next generation of data talent, and has built deep relationships within Snowflake.
There is still much to be done, but in my view, the speed and care at which this team is moving proves just why we put so much emphasis on the power of focus and great leadership.