Software-defined storage company Cloudian closed a $94 million Series E funding round, bringing its total haul to $173 million.
This investment marks the largest single round to date for a distributed file systems and object storage provider, said Jon Toor, chief marketing officer at Cloudian.
“It exceeds all of our previous funding rounds combined,” he said. “This is a watershed moment in storage — it’s not very often you have a new class of storage take hold like this. This is the first we’ve seen that this is something the investment community can consider to be commercially exciting.”
Cloudian formed in 2011 to commercialize object storage, which manages data as objects as opposed to files or blocks, and it’s typically used in the cloud. “It’s the type of storage used in Amazon, Google, and Microsoft [public clouds], but we deploy it in the data center,” Toor said. “That was a new idea in 2011, but it’s gone mainstream now.”
The funding is also significant because the majority comes from new investors, Toor added. Digital Alpha, Eight Roads Ventures, Goldman Sachs, INCJ, Japan Post Investment Corporation (JPIC), NTT DoCoMo Ventures, and Wilson Sonsini (WS) Investments, participated in the Series E round.
The company plans to use the funding to expand its worldwide sales and marketing efforts and increase its engineering team. “We’re now coming up on about 250 customers, and all of them need enterprise-class support,” Toor said. Customers include Motorola, T-Mobile, Public Health England, American College of Radiology, Shutterfly, Vox Media, and NTT.
The funding news follows an already busy year for the company.
In March, Cloudian purchased Infinity Storage, a Milan, Italy-based firm whose founder pioneered software-defined file storage. The companies had partnered on a product that uses Infinity’s file software built into Cloudian’s scalable object storage platform.
And in January, Cloudian updated its scalable platform to support object and file storage in on-premises data centers and in Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform public clouds. It allows enterprises to manage cloud and on-premises storage assets through a common API.
“Cloud is definitely a part of everyone’s life now and regular storage wasn’t intended to solve the problem of integrating with the cloud,” Toor said. “We have cloud integration built in. We can connect to the cloud just as easily as we can connect to any other application and therefore you can make the cloud a part of your storage environment seamlessly.”
IPO Up Next?
Obviously, a massive late-stage funding round spurs initial public offering (IPO) talk, and Toor says Cloudian is headed in that direction. “We’re looking toward IPO as being our exit,” he said. “We think Cloudian has the potential of being the next great storage company.”