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Dremio raises $135M to boost data lake transformation effort

The CEO of Dremio outlines why the vendor is growing as organizations increasingly rely on cloud data storage to fuel business intelligence and analytics.

Dremio today marked the next major phase of the data lake engine vendor's evolution, raising $135 million in a Series D round of funding.

The challenge of using data lakes effectively is a big opportunity for vendors and enterprises alike.

Dremio, based in Santa Clara, Calif., is among the vendors looking to help organizations enable data lakes to more effectively be used for data intelligence.

The Dremio platform provides a data lake engine that gives organizations the ability to rapidly organize and query information stored in data lakes.

Last year was a busy time for Dremio, appointing new CEO Billy Bosworth in February. Bosworth was previously CEO of database vendor DataStax.

Dremio also released multiple updates to its core platform over the course of the year. In October 2020, Dremio released the Fall 2020 update, with enhancements designed to accelerate cloud data lakes for business intelligence use cases.

In this Q&A, Bosworth details the challenges and opportunities of the data lake market.

Why are you raising money now and was it influenced by the Snowflake IPO (initial public offering)?

Billy Bosworth: When we looked at our operating plans and multiyear projections, we wanted to take a look at a number that would be interesting enough to us to be able to fund very aggressive growth.

Headshot of Dremio CEO Billy BosworthBilly Bosworth

This was an opportunistic round of funding as we had just raised $70 million in March 2020. Everything we're focused on right now is purely about scaling the company. We're not looking at any timing for an IPO.

What the Snowflake IPO did was it put an exclamation point on cloud-based analytics. If you really boil it down to what's the biggest trend that Snowflake's success really accentuates, it's that the most important data to be analyzed is very aggressively and rapidly moving into cloud platforms. For that, Dremio offers a solution that really simplifies the data workflow and avoids needless copying of the data and moving of the data into data warehouses.

What has your first year as CEO of Dremio been like during the coronavirus pandemic and how has it been different from your experience leading DataStax?

Bosworth: I joined at the end of February, and I only had two weeks in the office. Then the restrictions started here in Santa Clara and so I've only been in the office with the team physically for a couple of weeks out of the 11 months I've been here.

We went into what I would call very prudent growth operations there for about a three-month period in March, April and May. Then once we saw that people were settling into the new normal during the pandemic, we saw our business start to return to normal as well.

I have been in data and databases and associated with data companies for almost 30 years now. So, for me, living in any form of the data space is a very comfortable position. Growing a company and scaling a company, I do think there are advantages to having done that one once before when it comes to things like fundraising and building an executive team.

Where are the key challenges that organizations face with data lakes today?

Bosworth: This trend emerged from the bottom up, meaning what really started it was the ubiquitous use of the cloud storage layer. It's infinitely scalable and when you look at IT budgets, it's extraordinarily easy to administer, so the data just kept landing there.

Before you know it, you turn around and you see that all of a sudden, the default data bucket for your company has become data lake storage. That was new; normally businesses always thought first about how to get data into a database. Then all of a sudden there it is, all this data in massive quantities waiting to be used.

When we looked at our operating plans and multiyear projections, we wanted to take a look at a number that would be interesting enough to us to be able to fund very aggressive growth.
Billy BosworthCEO, Dremio

The real problem from the top down was -- 'I've got all this data now sitting there that I never planned on actually sitting there and every team in the company is using it, and they're using it increasingly fast, so how do I respond to that? What is the most efficient way to make use of that data going forward?'

That's where people are waking up to the realization that it's a good idea to keep that data in an open format, so that a bunch of other cloud services can use it without having to make additional copies and without moving it all over the place.

That's why Dremio has become interesting for them, because we can help solve that workflow problem of not having to create those additional copies and that additional data movement. That's what's ultimately on their mind. They've got this groundswell of data from the bottom up, a business need to move very quickly and lots of teams that want access to the same data.

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