Big Data Startup DataStax Raises $45 Million Series D Round, Sets Sights On IPO


DataStax, a next-generation database startup that's making noise about stealing customers from Oracle, announced a $45 million series D funding round Tuesday and is preparing to go public.

"We are putting lots of internal policies and mechanisms in place [for an IPO], and that's exactly the path we are on," Billy Bosworth, DataStax CEO, said in an interview.

Bosworth said DataStax doesn't have a time frame in mind, and market conditions would have to remain favorable for the IPO plans to go ahead.

DataStax, the commercial arm of Apache Cassandra, an open source NoSQL database built for cloud and big data apps, has plenty of business to focus on in the meantime.

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Unlike traditional relational databases, which store data on a single machine, DataStax's NoSQL-based Cassandra database stores data across multiple machines, which allows it to scale to huge proportions.

Twenty companies in the Fortune 100 are now using DataStax's NoSQL database. Adobe and eBay are also customers, and Netflix uses DataStax to run the user interface for its streaming video service, storing data about movie ratings and descriptions, Bosworth said.

A big focus of DataStax's marketing is how its customers have dropped Oracle for Cassandra and found it cheaper, more scalable and more resistant to downtime.

Bosworth, who started his career doing Oracle database development work, says Cassandra is disrupting Oracle in the enterprise in much the same way as Oracle disrupted the mainframe two decades ago.

"Companies are simply hitting a wall with the Oracle technology," he said.

Companies that have migrate their apps to Cassandra are adding new functionality, increasing service-level agreements and increasing capacity beyond what they were doing on the Oracle database, Bosworth said.

DataStax's paid product, called DataStax Enterprise, is an extra-secure version with full support for enterprises whose needs go beyond what's available in the community-supported version of Cassandra.

With DataStax Enterprise, "you can move massive parts of your system but still fulfill your service-level agreement," Bosworth said.

The Cassandra database's distributed architecture helped many customers stay online during Hurricane Sandy, and that resiliency is one of DataStax's key selling points for enterprises, Bosworth said.

DataStax sells DataStax Enterprise direct and also does engagements with global systems integrators like Accenture, as well as boutique players in Europe, Bosworth said.

"We deal with a lot of mission critical enterprise projects," he said. "Our core competency is database, so we rely on partners for integration, business intelligence and services."

The latest funding round, led by Scale Venture Partners with participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Crosslink Capital, Meritech Capital Partners, DFJ Growth and Next World Capital, brings DataStax's total funding to date to $84 million.

PUBLISHED JULY 23, 2013