Summary:

Hadoop vendor Hortonworks has closed a fourth round of venture capital worth $100 million. It follows up on news last week that competitor Cloudera had closed its own $160 million round. Everyone agrees there’s huge opportunity in Hadoop, but capitalizing on it takes capital.

Rob Bearden at Structure Data 2014.

Hadoop vendor Hortonworks has raised $100 million in a new round of venture capital led by BlackRock and Passport Capital. The company’s existing investors — Dragoneer, Tenaya Capital, Benchmark, Index Ventures and Yahoo — also participated in the latest round. Hortonworks CEO Rob Bearden said in an interview that the new funding will help Hortonworks scale its engineering efforts, grow the company’s ecosystem and scale its global operations.

Hadoop vendors need to raise a lot of money because they’re in a capital-intensive market. Bearden said Hortonworks invests a lot of resources developing new features and open source technologies that can handle much more volume than previous data-management platforms, as well as working with partners to create tight integrations and reference architectures. After that, it needs to turn everything into a consumable product and work deeply with customers to get it deployed.

“It’s a huge commitment from an engineering perspective to build an enterprise data platform,” he noted.

Rob Bearden at Structure Data 2014.

Rob Bearden at Structure Data 2014.

Hortonworks’s has raised a total of $198 million in venture capital since it launched in mid-2011. Its largest competitor, Cloudera, has raised $300 million since launching in 2008, including a $160 million round it announced last week. MapR, another company focused solely on selling Hadoop software, has raised $59 million since its launch in 2011.

However, Bearden says there’s a big difference between Hortonworks and its competition. While other Hadoop vendors have built some of their own tools and are occasionally position themselves as potential disruptors of existing markets, Hortonworks has maintained its focus on developing technologies within the Apache Software Foundation and doing everything it can to empower its industry partners (e.g., data warehouse and analytics vendors). The strategy helps Hortonworks boost sales through those channels and also makes life easier for its customers.

“We don’t force the customer to make a hard decision of ‘I’m going to unplug one and move to another and hope it all works,'” Bearden said.

Of course, vehement support for their own approaches and harsh characterizations about the competition are par for the course in the Hadoop space. Considering the amount of money at stake, this shouldn’t be surprising. In an interview at our Structure Data conference last week (embedded below), Bearden said he expects the Hadoop market will be worth about  $25 billion in the next few years and he expects Hortonworks itself is headed toward an IPO and $1 billion in annual revenue by 2017 or 2018.

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