DataStax, the commercial face of the open source Apache Cassandra database, announced $106M in Series E Funding, bringing their total to date to over $190M in funding. Today’s round was led by Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers with additional investors including ClearBridge, Cross Creek and Wasatch, PremjiInvest and Comcast Ventures.
Existing investors including Lightspeed Venture Partners and Scale Venture Partners also participated in the funding round.
The company was started in Austin, TX in 2010 by Matt Pfeil, the chief customer officer and Jonathan Ellis, the company CTO when the founders recognized a market need for an enterprise-grade company on top of the Cassandra project. While early need involved the old “throat to throttle” technical support, over time they have added to the Cassandra product to help companies build applications on top of Cassandra. They also have a commercial customer support product.
Ellis says we are in the age of data and Cassandra can help process it. “We are in data age. Data is good for end user, because the more data they have, the richer the experience .”
One customer, Comcast wanted to change set top boxes, so they designed new ones with few moving parts, making it less prone to breaking and combined it with software to enhance the end user experience using Cassandra and DataStax to provide information you care about, such as sports scores from your favorite teams scrolling across the top of the screen, regardless of what you’re watching.
Ellis says the company remains a big contributor to the open source project, but they are offering a better experience for a fee. While there is a free version available, they have customers willing to pay. Ellis says DataStax enterprise delivers security, search, repair expert, best practices tools, applications and monitoring tools, all of which aren’t available in the free project.
One thing venture capitalists look for aside from founders with a good idea is a customer base waiting for a product and Ellis says they were fortunate enough to have customers lined up for the product the week they opened. There was pent-up demand for a commercial product and Ellis and Pfeil took advantage by building a product that people needed.