Getting Ready

Categories: General

In 2008, Amr Awadallah, Jeff Hammerbacher, Christophe Bisciglia and I started Cloudera. We believed that big data was a very big deal, and that the Apache Hadoop platform, originally described by Google and created as an open source project by Doug Cutting and Mike Cafarella, would transform enterprise data management. The software had already changed the game for consumer internet companies like Google, Facebook and Yahoo!. We could see that a flood of data was coming to banks, hospitals, utilities and retailers. It was clear to us that Hadoop was the only platform that could handle that flood.

It’s unusual for a company to grow from a venture-backed, early stage business, exploring the market, all the way to a long-term independent vendor whose stock is traded on the public markets. Failure is the most common outcome; acquisition by an established player comes in second. Nevertheless, independence was, from the very beginning, our ambition. We were the first company created expressly to deliver an enterprise offering built on Hadoop. We believed the market would be large. We believed then, as we do now, that the big data platform market will sustain a handful of dominant vendors in charge of their own destiny. We believed then, as we do now, that Cloudera could be one.

Today, we are announcing a $160M funding round to move the business further along that path.

This round is unlike any other we have closed. It was led by T. Rowe Price, an institutional investor that generally buys stock in the public market. T. Rowe was joined by three other top-tier institutional investors. Their interest in Cloudera and in the value we are creating suggest to us that sophisticated long-term investors see the same opportunities in big data that we do.

Our new institutional investors were joined by two strategic investors of whom we are equally proud. Google Ventures and MSD Capital both joined the round.

Google, of course, created the Google File System and MapReduce, the foundations for open source Apache Hadoop, and published a groundbreaking paper describing their work in 2004. Google Ventures is the investment arm of Google, backing privately-held companies; that endorsement and vote of confidence means a great deal to us.

MSD Capital is the private investment firm for Michael Dell and his family. Michael understands the server market. Broad adoption of an enterprise data hub, based on Hadoop, is driving a redesign and rebuild of enterprise data centers, replacing single-purpose centralized systems with large numbers of distributed, scale-out servers. That shift creates opportunity for both software vendors like Cloudera and companies that build and sell those servers.

The investments from Michael Dell and from Google Ventures build on the momentum and the reach of our industry-leading partner program. Big data is a big deal not because we say so, but because the industry does. Established vendors like Syncsort and Informatica and Microstrategy, emerging companies like Zoomdata and Trifacta, global SIs like Cap Gemini and TCS and platform players like Oracle and HP are investing, with us, in customer success. Today, Cloudera gets to double down.

The endorsement we’ve just gotten from the public market institutional firms tells us that investors want to see big data companies traded on the public market. Our strategic investors signal that there’s deep interest among dominant players in standalone companies offering an enterprise data hub built on Apache Hadoop.

This investment gives us resources to invest even more in our industry-leading product and the global open source Apache Hadoop ecosystem. It allows us to further promote the enterprise data hub around the world. We will invest in people, across the company, to make our customers even more successful with big data.

We are grateful, of course to our customers and our partners for their long commitment to Cloudera. We couldn’t have accomplished what we have without the world-class team we have assembled over the years, and I am (as always!) indebted to them. We are pleased and proud to welcome T. Rowe and our other institutional investors, and our strategic investors. Thank you for your confidence.



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