$50 Million C Round Led by Accel Partners: What does it really mean?

First, the facts: today, DataGravity announced that we raised $50 million in additional operating capital. The round was led by Accel Partners, with our existing investors, General Catalyst, CRV and Andreessen Horowitz participating in the round, as well. Ping Li of Accel Partners will join our already world-class board of directors. Ping adds a wealth of experience in building first-class enterprise companies to DataGravity. He and the entire Accel Partners organization share the same values around building sustainable companies that bring unique value to their customers and partners. The Accel team measures success as we do, by counting happy customers. Accel’s strong expertise in helping to build top-notch storage, big data and security companies makes it the ideal partner. We’re excited to have Ping and Accel Partners joining our mission.

Now, onto the heart of the matter; what does it mean?  When I sat down to write this blog about raising additional operating capital, I put my normal filter on, which is the “so what?” filter.  “So what” does raising $50 million mean? Who outside the company and some friends and family really cares? Well, if it was just about bragging rights, I could have convinced myself not to write this blog. Sounds good, I am done.

Seriously though, raising the additional capital means a few things. It validates that our elite set of investors believes in the DataGravity mission to change the storage landscape from one that focuses on speeds and feeds and whose definition of intelligence is graphing the speeds and feeds overtime and mining logs to help diagnose issues, to one that addresses the challenges of living in today’s data-driven world.

It’s essential that companies can effectively and intelligently manage their data growth. To do this, they need to know what’s in the data and who is accessing it. Luckily for me, it takes more than just age to decide to delete unused things or to move them to cold storage. You need to know what’s in the data, if it’s core intellectual property (IP) or perhaps data that could be needed for pending litigation or an initiative that will restart soon, so keeping it may make sense. Companies also need better ways to protect their data.

The wizards of balancing recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) can finally retire to a life where this is no longer an issue, and they can focus more of their time providing business value from the data with which they are entrusted. The days of assuming that data security and data privacy just mean you need to protect outside people from gaining access to your data are gone. Protecting the perimeter is essential but not sufficient. Understanding where data privacy issues reside, addressing them and limiting the exposure are essential. Also, knowing who’s accessing the data, as well as when and why is vital. Data breaches are serious events. They affect company reputations and people’s lives, and they can also impose hefty fines.

I suspect the most common reason for data breaches is due to human error, followed by an unfortunate chain of events. No spy novels or made-for-TV movie. Something as simple as someone cutting and pasting the output of a SQL query to a report he was writing and mistakenly saving it to the public share could cause exposure. Locking down the data won’t work, so there needs to be a balance between tightening controllers. Things are going to happen, so there needs to be well-planned containment in place for when there is an issue. Having this information will help with compliance reporting, as well, and can also be used to better understand how data is being utilized, shared and repurposed within a company.

Existing storage arrays can’t help address these issues. It’s not because there isn’t a belief that these issues are important; it’s because they weren’t designed with the realities of living in a data-driven world. DataGravity had the luxury of seeing the current and pending challenges companies would face, and we built a data-aware platform first. Our data-aware platform, the DataGravity Discovery Series, provides enterprise-class storage with built-in data services to address the challenges of today and those we can expect in the future. By putting these services next to the data, we can leverage key metadata such as people, content and time to answer complex questions. We can also remove the complexity, performance bottlenecks, cost and disruption of trying to stick together multiple products in the network or infrastructure.

So back to the question: what does raising $50 million mean?

Customer response to data-aware storage has been extremely positive. No one has viewed this as a foreign concept. In my view, sometimes the obvious is revolutionary. One question that has come up is:  Why haven’t people done this before? The simple answer is that Moore’s Law had to catch up to data growth, and a new storage architecture had to emerge. Another question that is often asked  as we work with partners and customers is: How do we know the company will be here next year? Well that question is now answered. DataGravity is well capitalized to continue on our mission. Why now you may ask? We had the opportunity to add another great firm, Accel Partners, to our team, so it was a no-brainer.

Our plans going forward remain the same:
–    Deliver exceptional service to our customers at every level;
–    Fully commit to and support our channel partners; and
–    Continue to innovate on all four pillars of data-aware storage, with a focus on providing customers with tools they need to be successful.

Everyone at DataGravity wants to thank you for helping us change the role of storage, so that it can help bring sanity to the lives of people navigating in a data-driven world.

  Like This

Paula Long

Paula Long is the CEO and co-founder of DataGravity. She previously co-founded storage provider EqualLogic, which was acquired by Dell for $1.4 billion in 2008. She remained at Dell as vice president of storage until 2010. Prior to EqualLogic, she served in engineering management positions at Allaire Corporation and oversaw the ClusterCATS product line at Bright Tiger Technologies. She is a graduate of Westfield State College.