Contact: Ben Kolada
After last year’s storage and data-warehousing feeding frenzies provided outsized returns to target companies’ venture investors, a new breed of ‘big data’ vendors is renewing venture capitalists’ interests. So-called NoSQL and NewSQL database firms had already been catching investors’ attention, securing millions of additional dollars in VC financing. Eventually, we expect the fast growth that drew interest from VCs to also draw interest from corporate buyers. However, the price potential acquirers will have to pay is constantly rising.
VCs are attacking big data pains again, this time by investing in a number of promising database startups. 10gen, Couchbase and Neo Technology, for example, each secured more than $10m in financing in the third quarter. The size of these recent rounds, which were almost certainly substantial up-rounds, is due in part to the fact that some of these startups have already proven themselves and are posting triple-digit growth rates. My colleague Matt Aslett recently wrote that Basho Technologies is aiming to increase its revenue seven-fold this year. And we’ve got our thumb on the pulse of another startup that expects to nearly quintuple its annual revenue, surpassing its initial 300% growth projection.
While most of the NoSQL and NewSQL startups are still in the single-digit millions of revenue, continued growth rates will likely increase their current valuations. Further, additional venture investments needed to fuel that growth will lead to even wider gaps in valuations between potential acquirers and sellers. In our recent survey of corporate development executives, half of respondents expected the valuation gap between buyers and sellers to widen. And from our view, already sky-high valuations in hot sectors such as big data and cloud computing will almost certainly rise, regardless of what happens in the public markets. If so, potential suitors such as Oracle, Informatica or Teradata will have to reach deeper into their pockets to snare promising database properties.
Select recent NoSQL venture investments (rounded to nearest $m)
Source: 451 Group research, listed by size of round