Snowflake, the cloud-based data warehouse company, does not tend to make small rounds. The latest mega-round was announced on Friday evening. This was $ 479 million at $ 12.4 billion. This is triple the previous company valuation of $ 3.9 billion as of October 2018, and CEO Frank Slootman suggested that the company's next financial event is likely to be an IPO.
Dragoneer Investment led the round with Salesforce Ventures, a new investor. Existing snowflake Altimeter Capital, ICONIQ Capital, Madrona Venture Group, Redpoint Ventures, Sequoia and Sutter Hill Ventures were also involved. According to PitchBook data, the new round brings a total of over 1.4 billion US dollars.
All of these investments raise the question of when this company will go public. As expected, Slootman holds his cards close to his waistcoat, but recognizes that this is the next logical step for his organization, even if he is not feeling any pressure to take this step.
“I think we can pull this trigger in the early to mid-summer timeframe at the earliest. But whether we do it or not is a completely different question because we are in no hurry and we are not getting any pressure from investors, ”he said.
He admits that the pressure is to allow employees to get their equity out of the company, which can only happen if the company goes public. "The only reason there is always a sense of pressure is that it is important to employees, and I don't minimize it at all. It's a legitimate thing. You know, it's certainly an option in 2020, but it is also a possibility the year after. I don't see it later, ”he said.
The company's last round in October 2018 was $ 450 million. Slootman said he absolutely didn't need the money, but the capital was there, and the chance to build a relationship with Salesforce was also key to his thinking about this funding.
“At a high level, the relationship is really about having Salesforce data easily accessible in Snowflake. That is not possible today because there are many tools that can help you with this, but in this respect it is about achieving the smooth and smooth functioning that we think is really important, ”said Slootman.
Snowflake now maintains relationships with AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform and pursues a comprehensive content strategy in order to have as much high-quality data (such as Salesforce) on the platform. According to Slootman, this can create a network effect while helping to easily move data between major cloud platforms. This is a big problem as more and more companies are pursuing a strategy for multiple cloud providers.
“One of the most important architectural aspects of Snowflake is that it is extremely easy to exchange data with other Snowflake users once you are on our platform. This is one of the most important architectural foundations. So content strategy leads to network effects, which in turn means that more people and more data end up on the platform, and that serves our business model, ”he said.
According to Slootman, investors want to be part of his company because it solves some real data exchange vulnerabilities in the cloud market. The growth of the company shows that despite its size, it continues to attract new customers at high speed.
“We have just completed our last fiscal year, which ended last Friday, and our sales grew 174%. For the size we have, this is by far the fastest growing company on the market. So this is not an average asset.
The company has 3,400 active customers, whom it defines as customers who have actively used the platform in the past month. He says 500 new customers were added in the last quarter alone.