HootSuite Raises $165M In Series B Funding

Social media management startup HootSuite recently announced the finalization of a whopping $165 million in Series B funding in a round led by Insight Venture Partners with additional participation from Accel Partners and OMERS Ventures. HootSuite is one of the five vendors initially selected by Twitter as Ads API Partners to enable customers to manage advertising campaigns from within the HootSuite platform instead of logging into Twitter. Additionally, HootSuite uses its dashboards and analytics to enable brand management across other social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Foursquare. The company recently announced revenue growth of 300% for Q2 of 2013 in comparison with Q2 of 2012, over 7 million users worldwide and integration with 56 applications.

As a result of the investment, Jeff Lieberman, Managing Director of Insight Venture Partners, Ryan Sweeney, Managing Partner at Accel and John Ruffolo, CEO of OMERS, will join HootSuite’s board of directors. HootSuite’s finalization of Series B funding builds upon previous funding rounds of $1.9M and $20M that brings the total funding raised by HootSuite to $187M. The funding will be used for global expansion that includes hiring resources in Latin America and Europe. The investment may also be used to finance strategic acquisitions in the social media management, dashboards and analytics space. In an interview with TechCrunch, HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes noted that the funding round takes the pressure off the company to prematurely evolve into an IPO or an acquisition.

HootSuite is currently “cash flow neutral” and, according to Ad Age, charges “enterprise clients anywhere from five figures annually up to the high six figures.” A recent article in Business Insider by Jim Edwards estimated that HootSuite’s revenue is anywhere between $50 million and $200 million based on some back of the envelope calculations that include the data point that the company has 246 Fortune 500 customers as noted by CEO Holmes in an interview with Bloomberg. Since HootSuite’s revenue is a fraction of Twitter’s advertising revenue, Edwards intuited that it would not be unreasonable to conclude that Twitter’s advertising revenue is on the order of $1 billion. As rumors of Twitter’s IPO proliferate and Facebook’s share price passes its initial IPO price, the industry should expect HootSuite to consolidate its early traction in the Twitter and Facebook advertising space. The company’s roster of customers includes PepsiCo, Fox, Sony Music, the National Hockey League (NHL) and Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.

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Oracle Partners With Cloudera For Newly Available Big Data Appliance

On Tuesday, Oracle declared the availability of the Big Data appliance that it introduced to the world at its October conference Oracle Open World. The appliance runs on Linux and features Cloudera’s version of Apache Hadoop (CDH), Cloudera Manager for managing the Hadoop distribution, the Oracle NoSQL database as well as an open source version of R, the statistical software package. Oracle’s partnership with Cloudera in delivering its Big Data appliance goes beyond the latter’s selection as a Hadoop distributor to include assistance with customer support. Oracle plans to deliver tier one customer support while Cloudera will provide assistance with tier two and tier three customer inquiries, including those beyond the domain of Hadoop.

Oracle will run its Big Data appliance on hardware featuring 864 GB main memory, 216 CPU cores, 648 TB of raw disk storage, 40 Gb/s InfiniBand connectivity and10 Gb/s Ethernet data center connectivity. Oracle also revealed details of four connectors to its appliance with the following functionality:

• Oracle Loader for Hadoop to load massive amounts of data into the appliance by using the MapReduce parallel processing technology.
• Oracle Data Integrator Application Adapter for Hadoop which provides a graphical interface that simplifies the creation of Hadoop MapReduce programs.
• Oracle Connector R which provides users of R streamlined access to the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS)
• Oracle Direct Connector for Hadoop Distributed File System (ODCH), which supports the integration of Oracle’s SQL database with its Hadoop Distributed File System.

Oracle’s announcement of the availability of its Big Data appliance comes as the battle for Big Data market share takes shape in a landscape dominated by the likes of Teradata, Microsoft, IBM, HP, EMC, Informatica, MarkLogic and Karmasphere. Oracle’s selection of Cloudera as its Hadoop distributor indicates that it intends to make a serious move into the world of Big Data. For one, the partnership with Cloudera gives Oracle increased access to Cloudera’s universe of customers. Secondly, the partnership enhances the credibility of Oracle’s Big Data offering given that Cloudera represents that most prominent distributor of Apache Hadoop in the U.S.

In October, Microsoft revealed plans for a Big Data appliance featuring Hadoop for Windows Server and Azure, and Hadoop connectors for SQL Server and SQL Parallel Data Warehouse. Whereas Oracle chose Cloudera for Hadoop distribution, Microsoft partnered with Yahoo spinoff Hortonworks to integrate Hadoop with Windows Server and Windows Azure. In late November, HP provided details of Autonomy IDOL (Integrated Data Operating Layer) 10, which features the ability to process large-scale structured data sets in addition to a NoSQL interface for loading and analyzing structured and unstructured data. In December, EMC released its Greenplum Unified Analytics Platform (UAP) marked by the ability to load structured data, enterprise-grade Hadoop for analyzing structured and unstructured data and Chorus, a collaboration and productivity software tool. Bolstered by its partnership with Cloudera, Oracle is set to compete squarely with HP’s Autonomy IDOL 10, EMC’s Greenplum Chorus and IBM’s BigInsights until Microsoft’s appliance officially enters the Big Data doohyoo (土俵) qua sumo ring as well.

Puppet Labs Secures $8.5 Million in Series C Funding With New Investors Cisco, Google Ventures and VMware

Puppet Labs announced the closure of a Series C funding round valued at $8.5 million. As a result of the funding raise, new investors Cisco, Google Ventures and VMware join existing investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, True Ventures, and Radar Partners. Since its formation in 2005, the company has now raised a total of $15.75 million. The new round of funding is intended to support a market in which “demand for our products is outstripping our ability to satisfy it through organic growth alone,” according to Puppet’s CEO Luke Kanies. Kanies further noted that VMware, Google and Cisco represented ideal partners to accelerate the adoption of its IT automation and management software because of their deep relationships in the virtualization, cloud computing and IT vendor landscape.

Puppet Labs provides software that enables system administrators to effectively manage increasingly heterogeneous IT environments featuring legacy systems, private clouds, virtual machines and public clouds, all of which collectively serve the needs of multiple constituencies with varying application needs and role-based access privileges. Puppet Enterprise 2.0 delivers a visually intuitive graphical interface that enables system administrators to discover existing resources, benchmark resource utilization against a desired baseline, configure and deploy new resources to increase scale, and launch critical updates, all within a matter of seconds, without adding headcount. Puppet Enterprise 2.0 also features provisioning capability for Amazon EC2 and VMware instances as well as unauthorized access and change of setting tracking for compliance purposes.

The Series C funding raise marks the culmination of a momentous year for the company. Puppet Labs outgrew its open source roots in January with the launch of the first commercial edition of its product, Puppet Enterprise. In September, the company launched Puppet Enterprise 2.0 and now claims over 250 customers including Twitter, Zynga, Oracle/Sun, Match.com and Constant Contact.

Karim Faris, partner at Google Ventures, remarked on the promise of Puppet Labs and its recent investment as follows:

“Global companies need efficient solutions to manage their on-premise and cloud infrastructures. The Puppet Labs team has demonstrated the market traction and leadership to capitalize on this tremendous opportunity, and we’re looking forward to working with them to grow the business.”

The widespread commercial interest in Puppet Labs underscores the need for technology to manage increasingly complex IT environments that feature a combination of traditional and cloud based applications. The success of Puppet Labs over the past year suggests that, alongside cloud security and mobile device management, Puppet’s specialization in technology orchestration and management increasingly ranks as one of the auxiliary technologies likely to mushroom alongside the proliferation of virtualization and cloud computing in contemporary enterprise IT environments.