Cloudera Hints At IPO By Hiring A New CEO Who Took His Last Company Public Then Sold It For $1.5 Billion


Cloudera Tom Reilly


Cloudera's new CEO Tom Reilly

Cloudera is one of the most watched big data startups in the Valley and it just took another step towards an IPO by hiring Tom Reilly as its new CEO.


Reilly was formerly the CEO of security company ArcSight, joining in 2006, two years before taking ArcSight public. Two years later, in 2010, he sold ArcSight to HP for $1.5 billion, a 24% premium for shareholders. All-in-all, a successful outcome for ArcSight investors.

ArcSight shares one interesting investor with Cloudera, too: In-Q-Tel. That's the CIA's venture capital firm.

Cloudera helps enterprises build big data projects using a technology called Hadoop. The company has raised a lot of capital, $141 million, since it was founded in 2008, including a huge $65 million round last December on a $700 million valuation.

That's more than any other big data startup in its niche.


So we would expect that investors will at some point be looking for an IPO or sale that will give them a nice return. We suspect IPO, because in 2012, cofounder and ex-Yahoo engineer, Amr Awadallah told us the plan.

"We are building this to be a huge, huge company," he explained at the time. "My preference is to go public but it could be a big suitor taking it."

Cloudera's current CEO Mike Olson is sticking around as chief strategy officer and chairman. In his blog post today, he echoed the hint for an IPO.

"We’re building a company that we expect to stay independent and to lead the market for many years to come. ... Tom led Arcsight through its IPO to industry leadership in mission-critical, bet-the-business security. He knows the enterprise. He’s a been-there, done-that executive."

Huge is entirely possible. Forrester predicts that enterprises will spend $2.2 billion by 2018 on Cloudera's market niche. Plus Cloudera actually employs the guy that created Hadoop, Doug Cutting.


This isn't the first time Cloudera has moved executives. Cofounder Christophe Bisciglia left in 2010 amidst rumors that he was being pushed out.

We reached out to Cloudera for comment.