Big Data

MapR's $50M funding round could prove the maturity of the big data market

MapR Technologies, a startup in the open source big data space, recently raised $50 million and may be gearing up for an IPO, which points to growth in the market.

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Image: iStockphoto/DenisIsmagilov

Big data platform vendor MapR Technologies announced that it raised an additional $50 million in funding on Tuesday, as it gears up to go public. The news, coupled with the company's record-breaking quarter, could point to a growing maturity in the big data market as it continues to permeate the enterprise.

The latest funding announcement joins previous rounds raised by the company—including a $110 million round in 2014—bringing the total amount of equity financing to $194 million, with additional debt financing as well. Australia's Future Fund joins existing investors like Google Capital New Enterprise Associates and Redpoint Ventures, among others, on the round.

"This new funding strengthens our balance sheet as we look ahead to an initial public offering," said John Schroeder, founder and CEO, MapR Technologies.

For those unfamiliar, MapR offers an enterprise distribution of Apache Hadoop for big data deployments. Hadoop is often considered the big data platform of choice, but it is open source, so companies like MapR build in additional features and capabilities that make it enterprise-ready.

MapR's core product is the MapR Converged Data Platform, which leverages Hadoop and Apache Spark—an open source framework that uses cluster computing to process big data workloads. The MapR Converged Data Platform offers features like "global event streaming, real-time database capabilities, and enterprise storage for developing and running innovative data applications," according to the company's website. Essentially, the company tries to make it easier to deploy Hadoop in production.

SEE: Quick glossary: Big data (Tech Pro Research)

The Hadoop market, and the companies that have built products around it, is quickly becoming a standard in big data strategies across many verticals. Right now, there are three key companies leading that market forward: Cloudera, Hortonworks, and MapR.

Cloudera was the earliest to market of the three, and has raised the most money. It also has a large partner ecosystem. Hortonworks was the first to go public, filing for an IPO in 2014, while MapR continues to grow steadily and add new features. Hadoop and its ability to make big data more usable, combined with these companies and their abilities, make Hadoop more appealing to the enterprise and prove that the market for big data solutions in business is maturing.

However, with that maturity comes challenges. When Hortonworks went public, it was predicted that the IPO could trigger an acquisition or IPO of one of the other main Hadoop vendors. But, that never happened. Instead, the stock dropped and many wondered whether or not there was any real substance to the big data buzzword. At the time, MapR's Schroeder even tried to distance his company from Hortonworks, calling out unsustainable growth in the public market.

But, that was then and this is now. Although MapR initially began IPO talks back in 2014, with the latest round it seems that the company is inching closer to a public play. Also, Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly recently hinted at his company's potential for an IPO as well.

Although the current market is only two years removed from Hortonworks' attempt as a public big data provider, that's a long time in the tech world. With MapR's recent funding, and Reilly's secretive hints about Cloudera, this time around big data could be ready for the public market.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. MapR Technologies recently announced a $50 million funding round, bringing its total equity financing to $194 million and increasing the runway toward an IPO.
  2. MapR sits among Cloudera and Hortonworks as the top platform providers of Hadoop distributions in the enterprise, and the company continues to grow.
  3. MapR and Cloudera could both be heading for an IPO, proving the maturity of the big data market for the enterprise.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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