Cloud data warehouser Snowflake has just trousered another $450m

Startup now valued at $3.5bn


Cloud data warehouser Snowflake has raised nearly half a billion dollars in its latest tranche, taking total funding to $923m.

Its previous biggest round was $263.5m in January, a mere eight months after raising $105m. Its total cash raised in January was $473m and now it has raised almost as much again – at $450m – in a single round.

Previous investor Sequoia Capital led the round with contributions from Altimeter Capital, Capital One Growth Ventures, ICONIQ Capital, Madrona Venture Group, Redpoint Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures and Wing Ventures.

One new investor got a slice of Snowflake's pie, Meritech Capital.

The company was valued at $3.5bn – a triple unicorn. CEO Bob Muglia told us: "Our post-money valuation is now $3.9bn making Snowflake amongst the top 25 most highly valued private US tech companies. This funding is also the fifth ever largest private company financing in enterprise software."

Snowflake said it would use the cash to continue to expand its multi-cloud strategy, meaning perhaps that Google Cloud Platform support is coming, or support for some other public cloud.

Funds will also be ploughed into sales team expansion, growing engineering function with a California office in San Mateo, a new one in Bellevue, Washington and a planned one for Berlin, Germany.

But Snowflake already has lots of cash. We asked Muglia why this round is needed?

"The primary driver of this new funding is to be able to meet and respond to overwhelming customer demand, and deliver on our mission of enabling every organisation to be data-driven," he enthused.

"Our active 30-day customers tripled to 1,000 over the last 12 months, including the likes of Netflix and Yamaha.

"This extra funding will also drive new areas of development and innovation for Snowflake," he told The Reg. "Helping drive this will be the  doubling of our sales presence from five countries last year, to nine countries this fiscal year and rising to more than 20 countries in our next fiscal year. Our field sales reps will also more than triple this fiscal year."

Snowflake quoted IDC numbers, saying the data warehouse market was expected to grow by more than 40 per cent, from $14bn in 2017 to $20bn in 2020.

With such funding largesse, it seems Snowflake could afford to price for affordability.

Snowflake is available on AWS and Azure and has a partnership with Qubole so its customers can use Apache Spark in Qubole with data stored in Snowflake.

Investors are seemingly convinced it could do damage to the on-premises data warehouse business and can compete with current cloud-resident data warehouses.

Snowflake's on-premises competitors include Teradata and Netezza. In-cloud competitors include Amazon's Redshift, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Teradata's Vantage running in the public cloud and Oracle's Autonomous Data Warehouse.

An in-cloud data warehouse can scale up compute resources more than an on-premises warehouse with a finite number of servers at its disposal. On-premises warehouse suppliers like Teradata are retooling for the cloud; its recently launched Vantage runs in the Teradata cloud and the AWS and Azure public clouds but is some years behind Snowflake as a public cloud product.

Snowflake, as you'd expect, claimed it is built for the cloud whereas Oracle and other originally on-premises kit is retooled for the cloud. Fighting words...

A Fivetran test in September compared Redshift, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Presto, Google Big Query and Snowflake, and showed Snowflake doing well, but the report needs to be studied closely to see which data warehouse might be best for which situation. ®

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