Big Data means Big Dollars for VCs

Contact: Brenon Daly

Just since last summer, the data-warehousing industry has seen a wave of consolidation sweep most of the sizable startups into the portfolios of larger vendors. While dramatically reshaping the industry, the concentrated dealmaking has also generated outsized returns for venture firms that have put money into some of the startups that are tackling the problems of ‘big data.’ By our calculation, the four recent data-warehousing exits – on average – have been 10-baggers for their backers.

The eight-month M&A spree started last July, when EMC reached for Greenplum. Two months later it was IBM’s turn to take out Netezza, the sole data-warehousing startup that had actually made it to the public market in recent years. In mid-February, Hewlett-Packard reversed its long-held strategy to stay with internal data-warehousing development and gobbled up Vertica Systems. And then just last week, the granddaddy of the industry, Teradata, snagged Aster Data Systems.

This run of deals has been a welcome development for venture capitalists, who have been starved recently for moneymaking exits. Consider this: the quartet of data-warehousing startups that have been snapped up have returned some $2.5bn to their investors, an astonishing 10 times the $245m that they collectively raised. (The total funding for the startups comes from The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase, which recently added venture information to many of the deal records.) Taking a dime and turning it into a dollar is a pretty nifty trick – and it’s one that most VCs haven’t been able to pull off across any sector of enterprise IT in a long, long time.

Select recent data-warehousing deals

Date announced Acquirer Target Price VC raised by target
March 3, 2011 Teradata Aster Data Systems $295m $57m
February 14, 2011 HP Vertica Systems $275m* (excluding earnout) $25m
September 20, 2010 IBM Netezza $1.8bn $73m
July 6, 2010 EMC Greenplum $400m* $90m

Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase *451 Group estimate