VCs pour money into data startups during 2012

Venture capitalists made more big data investments in 2012 than in any previous year, according to a report released Thursday from CB Insights and law firm Orrick.

“As evidenced by financing and deal activity, Big Data is gaining steam,” the report stated. The number of big data venture deals in 2012 rose by nearly 20 percent as compared with the previous year, going from 132 deals to 164. In the fourth quarter of 2012 alone, there were 49 venture deals for big data plays.

Among them are Basho, ClearStory Data, Continuuity, Drawn to Scale, Mortar Data and WibiData.

Despite the bump in number of deals, the total amount of money VCs threw at big data startups in 2012 — $1.39 billion — was down by nearly 7 percent year over year. The median deal size decreased slightly, from $6 million to $5.7 million.

The recipients of the biggest big data investments of 2012 were, in descending order, Cloudera ($65 million), Palantir Technologies ($56.1 million), Rocket Fuel ($50 milion), 10gen ($42 million) and Nimble Storage ($40.7 million).

Which VC firms closed the most big data deals last year? SV Angel, which invested in 14 companies. Sequoia Capital and IA Ventures tied for third, with 13 deals each, followed by New Enterprise Associates with 12 and First Round Capital with 10.

The percentage of deals for big data infrastructure in relation to all big data funding continued to fall, while big data analytics has risen to a high of 48 percent of all deals. (The other category listed in the report is big data applications.)

By far, California has been the leading state for big data venture deals in the past five years, with 230 in 2008-2012. New York, with 67 in that same time window, and Massachusetts, with 57, lag far behind.

Assuming the trend lines continue, then, you would be most likely to get funded if you run a big data analytics company in California.

As for 2013, the report cites a few big data investments VCs have already made so far: Sailthru and Nomi.

Others include Ayasdi and Think Big Analytics, whose founder and CEO, Ron Bodkin, will speak at GigaOM’s Structure:Data conference in New York in a few weeks.

In addition to Bodkin, entrepreneurs from other venture-backed big data startups who will speak at the conference include Justin Sheehy, chief technology officer at Basho; Jonathan Gray, Continuuity’s founder; Bradford Stephens, Drawn to Scale’s CEO; and Doug Daniels, chief technology officer of Mortar Data.

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock user extradeda.