Databricks, champion of data "lakehouse" model, closes $1B series G funding round

The company founded by the creators of Apache Spark nabs $1B in fresh funding from an array of financial services and cloud companies' venture funds, marking a vote of confidence in the data lakehouse model.

January was a huge month for data lake-focused companies' funding. Now that we've ticked over into February, it looks like the data "lakehouse" is getting its due as well. Databricks, the company founded by the creators of Apache Spark, and focused on machine learning, streaming data processing, data lake and SQL analytics, has just closed a whopping $1 billion (yup, with a "b") series G funding round, putting the company at a $28 billion post-money valuation.

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Unusual suspects

The collective of investors is impressive and unusual: Franklin Templeton leads the round and is joined by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Fidelity Management & Research LLC and Whale Rock, along with new strategic investors Amazon Web Services, Alphabet's CapitalG and Salesforce Ventures. Also participating are a slew of existing investors: Microsoft, Andreessen Horowitz, Alkeon Capital Management, BlackRock, Coatue Management, T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. and Tiger Global Management. 

Also read: Databricks launches SQL Analytics

The combination of so many financial services firms and cloud giants makes it clear that Databricks' approach to analytics has great appeal. Data warehouse powerhouse Snowflake may have had the biggest software IPO of all time, but this Series G raise gets its own place in the analytics funding hall of fame.

Databricks PR folks told ZDNet that the new funding "will be used to accelerate innovation and drive customer adoption and success." Databricks will also invest in furthering adoption of its lakehouse (blended data lake/data warehouse) model. This includes building its engineering team in the US, Canada and the Netherlands; investing in customer success; further building the partner ecosystem; and ramping up international "go to market" expansion.

Also read: Databricks announces data integration partner program, touting "data lakehouse" model

Redmond reacts

Microsoft which, in partnership with Databricks, offers a first-party implementation of the company's service, dubbed Azure Databricks, on its Azure cloud, seems especially bullish on Databricks. Scott Guthrie, Microsoft's Executive Vice President, Cloud + AI, put it this way: "Azure Databricks continues to be an impressive solution that brings the latest advances in open, flexible and scalable data and AI capabilities to our customers."

The fact that Microsoft has its own implementation of Apache Spark within its Azure Synapse Analytics service makes the endorsement and further investment all the more noteworthy. While Synapse bundles data warehouse and a data lake services, Databricks blends the two into a single service. It's hard to say which approach will win out, but the race to put the warehouse and lake together is on, with all the companies in that race going after the same group of customers.