Alation today announces the finalization of $9M in Series A funding led by Costanoa Venture Capital and Data Collective Venture Capital, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Bloomberg Beta and General Catalyst Partners. The funding will be used both for product development and the expansion of Alation’s sales and marketing operations. Still in stealth mode, Alation intends to enhance the ability of organizations to access and retrieve data. Based on the premise that organizations continue to struggle with respect to locating data housed within their own infrastructures, Alation intends to improve data accessibility as well as to help customers more effectively understand the quality and significance of their data. Alation CEO Satyen Sangani remarked on Alation’s value proposition as follows:
Organizations still struggle with quickly finding, understanding and using the right data. Data-driven enterprises have voracious appetites for information and continue to make massive investments in data management platforms like Hadoop and business intelligence software like Tableau. While these technologies help with computation, storage, and visualization, ironically they make it harder to navigate the ocean of data. Alation helps people get to key insights faster.
Although business intelligence platforms such as Tableau facilitate data visualization and analysis, Sangani notes, organizations continue to wrestle with the problem of maneuvering within their “ocean of data” and finding the right data for analysis. Led by a team of founders with prior experience at Oracle, Google and Apple, Alation is gearing up for a general availability release of its platform in mid-2015. As told to Cloud Computing Today by CEO Satyen Sangani, the company’s solution focuses on structured and semi-structured data and claims several large, data-driven companies within its roster of customers. Expect more details regarding Alation to emerge within the upcoming months as it comes out of stealth and takes the wraps off its platform for managing big data complexity and increasing data accessibility more generally.
On February 18, Recovery as a Service leader Axcient announced the finalization of $25M in Series E funding in a round led by Industry Ventures with additional participation from existing investors Allegis Capital, Peninsula Ventures, Scale Venture Partners and Thomvest Ventures. The round validates the business model of Axcient’s cloud-based recovery as a service platform as exemplified by 50% year over year growth in customers signed in 2014, Axcient’s acquisition of DirectRestore, more than 30 releases and enhancements to the Axcient business recovery cloud and the release of the second generation of Axcient’s virtual appliance. The $25M in funding will also be used to fund a novel method of compensating channel partners that Axcient will use to enhance distribution of its product. Whereas SaaS solutions have typically struggled to achieve traction in a VAR sales partner model because of low monthly margins for sales professionals, Axcient proposes to offer channel partners up front compensation for the sale of its business recovery cloud solution. Axcient brands the up front compensation model under the acronym SaaS: FLO that stands for SaaS Fully Loaded Option. Axcient’s strategy of expanding its sales pipeline by means of partnerships with VARs under the terms of an innovative compensation model promises to increase its market traction in a landscape that includes the likes of more established cloud-based business continuity brands such as Symantec and EMC. In a phone interview with Cloud Computing Today, Axcient’s Director of Product Marketing Daniel Kuperman noted that although Axcient faces the challenge of educating its VARs about the business and technological benefits of its cloud-based recovery as a service platform, it stands to benefit immensely from the potentialities implicit in introducing the agility and operational simplicity of its platform to a wider range of customers. Assuming Axcient can succeed at training its VAR ecosystem, it stands poised to consolidate on its successes in 2014 and continue to stake out a leadership position in the rapidly growing cloud-based recovery as a service space, particularly because of the richness of its technology for empowering customers to perform granular recoveries of specific files and folders in addition to larger swaths of infrastructure. Wednesday Series E round brings the total capital raised by Axcient to roughly $85M.
On Thursday, Sauce Labs announced $15M in Series D funding from existing investor Toba Capital, the investor that led its Series C funding round of $5M. The additional funding will be used to enhance the company’s platform for mobile testing as well as continue to support its web-based application testing and support for the open source project Appium. The funding will also help drive an expansion of the company’s development team, infrastructure and international presence. Sauce Labs delivers a cloud-based testing platform that allows customers to automate parallel testing of web and mobile applications across different browsers, operating systems and environments. By automating the testing process and helping customers interpret testing results, Sauce Labs shortens the time to market for applications and dramatically increases application quality as measured by their ability to perform across a variety of end user environments. Thursday’s funding raise follows upon a year in which the company experienced 2014 revenue growth of 145% driven by significantly increased penetration into the enterprise market. Current enterprise customers include Salesforce, Bank of America, Twitter, Workday and Liberty Mutual. With an additional $15M in the bank, customers should expect the introduction of even more richness and sophistication to the Sauce Labs mobile and web application testing platform, and particularly the mobile platform as it responds to the dramatic proliferation of mobile apps across a variety of devices and operating systems.
Seattle-based enterprise data storage startup Qumulo today announced the finalization of $40M in Series B funding in a round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers with additional participation from existing investors Highland Capital, Madrona Venture Group and Valhalla Partners. The funding will be used to accelerate product development and expand Qumulo’s sales and marketing efforts. Still in stealth, Qumulo tackles data management problems specific to storage infrastructures for massive amounts of data. The company aspires to become the “company the world trusts to store, manage, and curate its data forever” as noted in its mission statement. In a phone interview with Cloud Computing Today, Qumulo’s CEO Peter Godman remarked that the condition of possibility for the retention of “data forever” involves the ever depreciating cost of storage-related hardware infrastructures. That said, industry-wide and global cultural expectations to retain data forever create a veritable constellation of problems related to data retrieval and archiving of billions or trillions of files within cost-effective, scalable storage platforms. Today’s funding raise brings the total capital raised by Qumulo to $67M. Sujal Patel, founder of Isilon, the storage vendor acquired by EMC for $2.5 billion, will join Qumulo’s board of directors and complement a leadership team that includes storage experts from Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google. As Qumulo emerges from stealth to provide more details of its product offering, the industry should expect dramatic innovation in enterprise-grade scale-out NAS that forthrightly tackles thorny problems related to the curation and organization of massive amounts of data on storage infrastructures designed for big data sets.
Neo Technology today announced the finalization of $20M in Series C funding. Today’s Series C funding raise was led by Creandum with additional participation from Dawn Capital. Existing investors Fidelity Growth Partners Europe, Sunstone Capital and Conor Venture Partners all participated in the round. The funding will be used to expand sales operations, enhance product development and build the open source community supporting the Neo4j platform and its attendant partner ecosystem. The funding comes hot on the heels of a year of explosive growth for Neo Technologies and its vendor-led open source graph database, Neo4j. Neo Technology’s CEO and co-founder Emil Eifrem remarked on the company’s growth as follows:
There are two strong forces propelling our growth: one is the overall market’s increasing adoption of graph databases in the enterprise. The other is proven market validation of Neo4j to support mission-critical operational applications across a wide range of industries and functions.
Eifrem notes how Neo Technology’s growth has been fueled by increasing enterprise-wide adoption of graph databases in conjunction with Neo4j’s consistent demonstration of its ability to support a variety of production-grade environments. In a phone interview with Cloud Computing Today, Eifrem further remarked how one of the challenges for Neo Technology consists of developing an incisive sales outreach strategy given that almost every enterprise could benefit from the adoption of graphing technologies. Eifrem elaborated that Neo Technology has chosen to tackle the challenge of prioritizing its sales outreach efforts by focusing on use cases that include data-driven recommendations (in e-commerce and social networking, for example), master data management, identity and access management, graph based search, network and IT operations, the internet of things and pricing, while nevertheless remaining open to other client requests and interests. Since the launch of Neo4j 2.0 last January, Neo4j has experienced over 500,000 downloads and boasts thousands of enterprise-grade deployments featuring organizations such as Walmart, eBay, Earthlink, CenturyLink, Pitney Bowes and Cisco. Based on its impressive record in 2014 and the explosive proliferation of use cases for graphing technology, 2015 could well represent an inflection point for Neo Technologies as it consolidates its leadership in the graph database space by using its additional funding to gain more market traction while continuing to educate the industry on the value proposition of adopting Neo4j.
Big data analytics food startup Hampton Creek has raised $90M in Series C funding in a round led by Horizons Ventures and Khosla Ventures with additional participation from Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin. Salesforce.com founder and CEO Marc Benioff and other private investors. Hampton Creek uses advanced analytics to identify plants that enable the production of egg-free food products that contain fewer artificial ingredients, taste better and are healthier than their competitors. The funds will be used to advance its research and development efforts and accelerate the distribution of its products in collaboration with other major food vendors. In particular, Hampton Creek intends to use the funding to expand its market presence in Asia by distributing an eggless scrambled egg product that responds to consumer and watchdog concerns about the lack of sanitary conditions in which eggs are harvested in Asia. To date, Hampton Creek’s products include Just Mayo and Just Cookies. The company intends to release Just Pasta and Just Scrambled in 2015. Meanwhile, on Thursday, multi-billion dollar food conglomerate Unilever recently dropped its October lawsuit against Hampton Creek that claimed Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo, eggless mayonnaise product is not mayonnaise because it lacks eggs. In dropping its lawsuit, Unilver backpedaled and praised “Hampton Creek’s commitment to innovation and its inspired corporate purpose,” while noting the sharing of “a vision with Hampton Creek of a more sustainable world.” Hampton Creek has now raised a total of $120M that includes $23M in Series B funding from earlier this year.
On Friday December 12, Hortonworks finished its first day of trading with a share price of $26.48, roughly 65% more than the IPO price of $16 per share. Hortonworks plans to raise $100M by means of 6,250,000 publicly available shares. Friday’s impressive showing bodes well for the Hadoop infrastructure and analytics market in 2015, particularly given that Hortonworks competitors are gearing up to execute IPOs in 2015 or shortly thereafter. Cloud monitoring and analytics vendor New Relic similarly gained in its first day of trading by rising 48% from $23 per share to $33.02 by the end of the day. The results represented a huge coup for venture capitalist Peter Fenton of Benchmark Capital, who serves on the board of directors of both companies. Whereas Hortonworks raised $100M in its IPO, New Relic raised $115M. The real winner in both of these IPOs, however, is Yahoo given that Yahoo owns roughly 20% of the shares of its spin-off Hortonworks and 16.8% of shares of New Relic.