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What is SignalFuse and why should we care?

Silicon Valley is chock-full of stealthy startups —  some more interesting than others. SignalFuse, based on its pedigree, is one of the more intriguing of these mysterious companies. The company just received $8 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz co-founder  Ben Horowitz, according to an SEC filing posted Wednesday night.

SignalFuse co-founder Karthik Rau has said nothing about its plans, but a Silicon Valley source said the San Mateo, Calif. company is building technology that takes time-series data from multiple systems, analyses it fast and puts it into trend lines. “It’s like Splunk but in real time,” the source said. The trend lines are roughly analogous to what Bloomberg does with stock data — it tracks prices and movement to show volatility over time. Those patterns can then be used to predict future problems, according to the source. If that is true and if they can execute, SignalFuse is attacking a big, important problem.

But what really has piqued interest are the people at the top.  The resumes and reputations of Rau and his co-founder Phillip Liu are stellar. Rau, who as a 27-year old worked for VMware(s vmw) co-founder Diane Green during his six-year tenure at the company, is viewed as instrumental in growing it from a hypervisor vendor with $100 million in revenue into what has become a bigger-than-$4-billion platform provider. He helped lead the effort to build out VMware’s infrastructure business which included vCenter, vMotion, and the tiered vSphere Virtual Infrastructure packages.

Rau worked with Liu before that at Loudcloud, the Marc Andreessen startup which became Opsware. There, Liu was chief software architect and when HP bought Opsware, he was named a distinguished technologist for HP Software. At Facebook, Liu then worked for Jonathan Heiliger, former VP of technical operations and infrastructure, as a software architect who helped design Facebook’s Amazon(s amzn) EC2 equivalent for the company’s data centers and built out its IaaS platform.

That’s a pretty impressive pool of talent in two founders — it will be really interesting to see what they and their team come up with.

Officially, here’s all that the company has to say from its nascent web site. 

“We are a stealth-mode company led by former Facebook and VMware executives that has raised $8M in venture financing from Andreessen Horowitz. We are hiring world-class engineers who want to work on hard problems with smart peers and build software that will be used by millions of people. If you are passionate about distributed systems, data science and statistics, or simple and elegant user interfaces, we’d love to hear from you. We are based in downtown San Mateo, 2 blocks away from the Caltrain station.”

This is one Valley startup that will be engrossing to watch unfold.

This story was updated at 8:34 p.m. PST April 3, 2013 with new information on funding from an SEC filing.

Feature photo courtesy of Flickr user ryanmilani

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