Buzzy AI startup Databricks just got another $400 million, valuing it at $6.2 billion - and the CEO says that an IPO isn't imminent, the money is just because of 'crazy demand'
- Databricks, the fast-growing AI analytics startup, has raised another $400 million in a Series F round led by Andreessen Horowitz. The San Francisco-based company is now valued at $6.2 billion.
- Databricks also announced that Dave Conte has been named chief financial officer. Conte had been CFO at Splunk and led the data analytics firm public in 2012.
- Databricks co-founder and CEO Ali Ghodsi said an IPO is "not imminent" but, "it's not hard to imagine that this is something that's going to happen down the line," as he noted that Conte, their new CFO, "has a lot of experience with the public market."
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Databricks, the buzzy AI analytics platform backed by leading VCs like Andreessen Horowitz and Microsoft, just got another major funding boost and named a high-profile CFO, in what appears to be a strong signal that it's contemplating an IPO.
Databricks has raised $400 million in a Series F round led by Andreesseen Horowitz and with new investors, including Black Rock and T Rowe Price. The San Francisco-based startup just doubled its valuation to $6.2 billion with this round, too.
Databricks also announced that it has hired David Conte as its CFO. Conte had served as CFO of the data analytics company Splunk, which he joined in 2011, a year before it went public. Conte had retired in May.
Databricks co-founder and CEO Ali Ghodsi said that despite the company's maturity, and its big new valuation, an IPO is "not imminent."
But he also noted Conte's background, saying his new CFO joined Splunk when they had $100 million in revenue and left them when they were close to $20 billion of market cap.
Databricks hired the CFO who took Splunk public
"He took them public, and has taken other companies public," he told Business Insider. "So he has a lot of experience with public markets. It's not hard to imagine that this is something that's going to happen down the line."
In any case, raising capital does not appear to be a problem for Databricks, which just raised $250 million in February. Ghodsi there was so much interest in the new round they could have raised up to $900 million, but opted to take in only an additional $400 million.
"We shared numbers and forecasts for everybody on what we're going to do, and we completely blew those numbers out of the water," he said. "And it's largely thanks to this crazy demand."
Asked about recent disappointing debuts of other famous unicorns, such as WeWork and Uber, Ghodsi said he was not concerned. The demand for Databricks' offering is strong, which even makes them confident about sharing financials that other unicorns may be reluctant to disclose.
In February, Databricks disclosed an annual rate of $100 million. The startup just updated that to $200 million.
"It's easier to do when the numbers are great," he said.
Databricks now has more than 5,000 customers
Databricks is part of a growing trend of cloud startups that use AI to manage and draw valuable insights from massive amounts of data. The company now has more than 800 employees and more than 5,000 customers, including Comcast, Shell, Expedia and Bechtel.
The San Francisco-based startup has big plans for the funds aimed mainly at boosting its R&D efforts and for aggressive international expansion. Databricks will invest 100 million Euros in an engineering hub it launched in Amsterdam called the European Development Center.
It will also set up dedicated engineering teams for its open source technologies focused on data management and machine learning.
The company also plans to expand to key international areas, including Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America.
Databricks has a major development center in San Francisco. But Ghodsi said expanding in Europe is important "given some of the issues with visas and Green Cards in the US."
"It's great to have a second large development center," he said. "This gives us some alternatives."
Ghodsi was born in Iran and fled with his family to Sweden during the 1979 revolution. He grew up and was educated in Sweden where he started a career in academe. He joined UC Berkeley in 2009 as a visiting professor, and ended up being part of major projects focused on developing new cloud technologies, particularly in data processing and AI.
He was involved in the development of Apache Spark, the major open source project for analyzing large amounts of data.
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