VC Firm Targets $100 Million Fund Toward 'Big Data' Startups


The quest to develop technologies for managing and analyzing "big data" is attracting the attention of the venture capital community.

Tuesday Accel Partners launched a $100 million fund to provide financial backing for companies developing technology "at every level of the Big Data stack," the company said in a statement.

"Accel's Big Data Fund aims to fund transformative companies throughout the Big Data ecosystem, from next-generation storage and data management platforms to a wide range of revolutionary software applications and services, including data analytics, vertical applications, mobile, and many more," Accel said, describing the fund's goals in a statement.

"Big Data is the future of IT and we believe Big Data will drive the next-generation of multi-billion dollar software companies," said Ping Li, an Accel Partners executive who focuses on investments in early-stage and growth software and digital media companies, in the statement.

Businesses today are struggling to find ways to store and manage – much less search, analyze and make use of – the huge volumes of data being generated today by operational IT systems, ecommerce systems, social networks, RFID sensors, and others.

A staggering 1.8 zettabytes of data will be generated worldwide this year, according to market researcher IDC, and that number will increase 50-fold by 2020. Gartner calculates that the amount of digital data is growing 59 percent every year.

While handling the sheer volumes of data is a challenge, the complexity of the data is also increasing. In addition to transactional/numerical data that can be handled with mainstream relational databases, "big data" also includes documents, e-mails, Twitter feeds, photographs, medical images and more.

A great deal of the "big data" development activity today is centered on Hadoop, the Apache Software Foundation's open-source framework for developing distributed, data-intensive applications. Accel Partners is a backer of Cloudera, which develops Hadoop-based software and services.

"Big Data consistently drives innovation across our existing portfolio companies today and with the Big Data Fund we are empowering a new set of entrepreneurs to be able to catch this wave," Li said. "As Big Data platforms such as Hadoop and others continue to gain rapid adoption and become more mainstream, we are seeing an exciting wave of next generation business applications emerge."