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Will MapR Be the First Hadoop Vendor to IPO?

2014-30-June-Wall-Street-Bull.jpgGoogle Capital doesn’t invest in that many companies, in fact, before today there were only six.

And when do they invest, they’re hardly silent partners.

“We have the capability to use our money, our time, our effort, our expertise, our brain power, and the Google brand to help build great companies,” said David Drummond, chairman of Google Capital. Drummond is also Google’s senior vice president, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer.

While that statement doesn’t tell us much about how quickly Google Capital expects to realize a return on its investments, the particular partner they assign to a startup may be telling.

This morning Gene Frantz, a general partner at Google Ventures, who specializes in late stage startups, takes a seat on MapR’s board.

MapR, for anyone who doesn’t already know, is a San Jose, Calif.-based enterprise software company that develops and sells Apache Hadoop-derived software.

Investing in MapR

Frantz brings a lot more than his expertise to MapR, there’s also a pile cash.

And while we don’t know exactly how much cash, consider this: Google Ventures is the largest investor in MapR’s latest round of funding which totals $110 million. Other investors include Qualcomm through Qualcomm Ventures, its investment arm, along with Lightspeed Venture Partners, Mayfield Fund, NEA and Redpoint Ventures, all of whom participated in MapR’s earlier round.

The total funding from the aforementioned investors is $80 million.

But that’s not all the money MapR needs to have on hand as it works toward its exit, so they’ve also taken on a debt facility of $30 million with Silicon Valley Bank.

Why go to the bank for cash when there are so many willing investors?

“It’s what’s most efficient,” said Jack Norris, MapR’s Chief Operating Officer. And though Norris doesn’t quite articulate this, the reality is that the arrangement lets the founders retain greater control. It also doesn’t dilute the value of employee shares as much.

With an installed base of more than 500 paying licensees, MapR sits pretty on a stable foundation — consider that 90 percent of its revenue comes from software. Contrast that with its closest competitors Cloudera and Hortonworks whose revenue models are more services-oriented, they’re cash efficient by design.

Crunching Data from the Internet of Things

Qualcomm, one of MapR’s other investors is a strong player in mobile and IoT leader Qualcomm. The company is clearly taken with MapR’s technology. Albert Wang, director, Qualcomm Ventures says that MaprR provides companies with immediate business benefits.

What Will MapR Do with $110 Million?

“We’ll continue to build out the company,” siad Norris. They’ll do that primarily through organic growth as well as marketing and engineering.

“What we’re focused on is meeting customer needs,” he added.

Are they also prepping for an exit? Norris says that they should be financially and operationally by Q2 2015, but that it will depend on market conditions.

Title image by Tutti Frutti / Shutterstock.com

 
 
 
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