Cloudian, Inc. closed $60 million in new funding, bringing total funding to $233 million.
The round includes participation from Digital Alpha, Eight Roads Ventures Japan, INCJ, Intel Capital, Japan Post Investment Corporation, Silicon Valley Bank, Tinshed Asia, Wilson Sonsini Investments, and strategic investors.
This latest investment reinforces start-up’s leadership position, accelerates its hybrid cloud platform capabilities and prepares the company for its next phase of growth.
The company also announced Bob Griswold as COB of directors.
“As organizations move to the next level of digital transformation, they increasingly seek technologies that deliver hybrid cloud data management at limitless scale across all platforms,” said CEO Michael Tso. “Cloudian’s cloud-native data management software lets our customers simplify operations and creates new opportunities to derive value from data.”
Griswold brings to the role an experience as an investor and strategic advisor. His prior roles include VP of strategy and planning at HPE, SVP product line management at Seagate, and VP, chief strategist for enterprise, commercial and small business at Cisco.
“I am thrilled to join Cloudian at this pivotal moment in the storage industry,” he said. “Cloudian is exceptionally well positioned to capitalize on today’s transition to cloud-native technologies, and I believe strongly in the company’s strategy and its enterprise-proven platform; so much so, that I personally invested in the current funding round.”
Company’s hybrid cloud data management software transforms any compute platform – including standard servers, VMs, containers or public cloud – into a pool of S3 API-compatible object storage resources that can be co-located with data sources and data consumers. Scalable to hundreds of petabytes and beyond, the Cloudian architecture creates a global federation of local storage assets that can be easily integrated with public cloud platforms for consolidated data management.
Global businesses such as media, healthcare and manufacturing manage increasingly vast quantities of data at hundreds of locations. Within these organizations, 95% of new workloads deployed in 2025 will employ cloud-native technology, according to Gartner, driving a rapidly growing need for multi-cloud infrastructure that can provide a unified platform for these modern applications. Cloudian meets this need with a native S3 API data management platform and a unified management framework that spans all Cloudian instances, organization-wide. The result is simple, efficient data management across the global storage landscape.
Is it a good news? The first reaction could be seen as positive but for whom? Does this announcement really give confidence to users, partners and prospects? Even investors? At least it's a surprise and a bad one. Does the object storage market segment big enough for all players? We said in the past that there are too many vendors for too few opportunities.
When we dig a bit, it turns out that this news illustrates perfectly difficulties "old" and "pure" object storage players encounter for a few years. How does a company like Cloudian need to continue to raise money? This event is just not good for that storage domain or let put it this way, not a good indicator for these kind of players.
With these $60 million, the total raised reaches now $233 million for a company launched in 2011 coming from Gemini Mobile Technologies founded in 2001. This round is not associated with any series label but we can probably align it as a series F. The company is far to be considered as a unicorn.
We see more than 8 investors for a round of $60 million indicating that it was tough to collect that amount and each portion is pretty small as the wish to limit the risk is high. It clearly appears to be a last chance or try. What is behind strategic investors?
In the announcement, it is not mentioned that Robert Griswold was also chairman of the Belgium company Open vStorage around 2016. It is listed on his LinkedIn profile. What is clear is his experience in M&A, both for exits and acquisitions. Will it be his mission?
The last company event was the departure of Gary Ogasawara we unveiled on Novembr 30, 2022. He was CTO and co-founder of Cloudian and is now at AWS as software development manager for DynamoDB,. He also worked for Gemini, the entity before Cloudian. Brad Cohen, corporate communications leader for almost 5 years, also left in November. Did a RIF and/or a strategy divergence occur a few months ago?
It validates once again the right decision made by the board of Cleversafe in 2015 with the exit path with IBM for the largest deal ever in this area. At that time, this move has even given ideas, ambition and utopia to other players. Guess what no other players in that area have never had such trajectory. And for a decade, there was several other acquisitions: Caringo by DataCore, OpenIO by OVHcloud, SwiftStack by Nvidia, Hedvig by Commvault, Bycast by NetApp, Archivas by Hitachi, Active Scale product from Western Digital by Quantum and the Cleversafe one mentioned above.
Cloudian is still a leader in the object storage domain but it confirms once again that the road to profitability is tough for these few players forced to collect fresh money. We wonder what was the valuation of this round and anticipate a down round as several indicators are red. The Coldago Map 2022 for Object Storage has maintained Cloudian in the leader portion but we clearly see a move to the left, towards the challenger part. In the last Gartner Magic Quadrant for Distributed File Systems and Object Storage, Cloudian is a challenger.
The other key elements to consider is the pressure from open source, the ubiquitous presence of S3 and the even more presence of unstructured data storage solutions coupling file and S3 access to same content. The open source pressure is perfectly illustrated in Kubernetes world where storage is ignored in favor of datastore approach and model. We saw Cloudian at KubeCon in October and we still wonder why the company burned some money there.
Users don't really care about object storage internal designs and characteristics. In other words internal design, flat namespace… is not users problems but more a vendor challenge, users ask for a S3 interface, a scalable resilient storage and S3 implicitly means remote access thanks to http.
So what could be the next step for Cloudian? IPO for sure not but more probably an acquisition, the executives team and the board expect that but it is still a hope and again a question of price but this is without any doubt the best trajectory for the company. Does Griswold join the board for that? we'll see. Or Cloudian can just continue as today but for how long?
This financial round is the second one this year after FilSwan raised $3 million recently. There was on average 2 rounds per year in 2022.