Summary:

Cloud storage player gets $13.6 million from newbie OpenView Venture Partners and existing investors with the conspicuous exception of Amazon, which ponied up $9M last time out. Sonian will use the money to bring CAD and medical images into its managed/searchable cloud service.

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Sonian CEO Jeff Dickerson

Sonian CEO Jeff Dickerson

Sonian has netted $13.6 million in funding to expand the scope of documents it can put and manage in public clouds. The Series C round was led by new investor OpenView Venture Partners, with existing backers Summerhill Venture Partners and Prism VentureWorks also participating.

But more noteworthy than who is participating, is who is not: Amazon. The gigantic public cloud giant chipped in $9 million in Sonian’s last round.

Amazon’s absence this time out could be because Sonian, Newton, Mass., now works now with Amazon rivals IBM SmartCloud and Rackspace although the company did not comment on that.

Dickerson said Amazon remains a great partner. “We closed a big deal with the USDA with [Amazon]. They’re number 1 in cloud, in volume, features and functionality. We continue our strategic relationship with them but will take no investment from strategic partners — and that includes IBM and Rackspace,” he said. “We want to archive the world’s digital information — we started with email — that’s a no brainer and we’ll continue the migration of that information to the cloud where we make it searchable with our own technology,” Dickerson said.

Sonian’s technology puts customer email and other files into the most inexpensive cloud it can find and uses its own search, indexing and storage management to keep those files usable and discoverable for compliance and other purposes.

Dickerson said the company  can wring every bit of price out of the public cloud, using spot auctions, whatever tools are available. “Our own viewer manages our instances and maximizes our dollars for every instance we have out there — that’s our advantage,” he said in an interview Tuesday.

The new money  brings the total raised including angel investment to about $30 million  and will fuel the company’s efforts to add more data types — CAD drawings, medical images — to the mix. It already handles 400 file formats, and ingests 14 million documents a day on average, Dickerson said.

Its search capabilities may be slick but there’s a growing number of cloud players that also parlay back-end public clouds while adding their own management and other perks: Sonian has some big cool partners which should help it gain entry to business customers, but it also has lots of competition.

Feature photo courtesy of Flickr user 401K

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