A fact completely dominated the market of storage start-ups in 2014: the monster unique financial round of $900 million received by Cloudera, in in enterprise analytic data management powered by Apache Hadoop. That the highest amount historically for a round in the storage industry. More than that, no start-up ever got more than that in total investment, all rounds included. Last year top round was $150 million for Pure Storage, $100 million for Box in 2013.
Hadoop is one of the most exciting IT technology today, another proof being the successful IPO of Hortonworks in December 2014.
This Clouderra's financing round includes the previously-announced $160 million of funding from T. Rowe Price and three public market investors, Google Ventures, and an affiliate of MSD Capital, L.P., the private investment arm of Michael Dell and his family, and a significant $740 million equity investment by Intel that gives them 18% share of Cloudera.
Also the global sum received by Cloudera up to now, 1,041 million, was never reached by any other start-ups. Former record was $544 million by Pillar Data then acquired by Oracle in 2011.
Of course this exceptional round had a big impact on our comments below for 2014.
In 2014 we counted 55 investment rounds initiated by storage start-ups, a small number.
It was 77 in 2013 and an historical record of 80 in 2012. This decrease is not really bad news for storage, still one of the most dynamic sectors in the IT industry, continuing to be appreciated by VCs that dream of what got some of them following the acquisitions of firms like 3par, Data Domain and Isilon few years ago at more than $2 billion, or few successful IPOs.