Pivotal raises $253 million with Ford as big investor

Pivotal's big data partners and customers stepped up to invest $253 million in the company, which now looks to expand quickly.

Pivotal has raised $253 million in a third round of venture funding as partners and customers such as Microsoft, GE and Ford stepped up as investors.

The big data unit, which is rolled up into EMC's results, said investors included Ford, Microsoft, GE, EMC and VMware. The first three of those aforementioned investors are partners and/or customers of Pivotal.

In Ford's case, the Pivotal investment is and extension of a partnership that revolves around making the automaker more nimble and agile when it comes to software development. GE and Pivotal are partners on Internet of things applications and Microsoft and Pivotal are partners on certain Azure cloud services.

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Pivotal's Cloud Foundry has been the company's primary subscription business. The company's first quarter revenue was $83 million, up 56 percent from a year ago. Those results are rolled up into EMC's financial report.


While the fund raising gives Pivotal a valuation of about $2.8 billion, one could argue that the financing round is really about cementing partnerships. For instance, Ford invested $182.2 million in Pivotal, according to the Wall Street Journal. Why? Ford's digital transformation largely depends on Pivotal. Ford created Ford Smart Mobility in a bid to become more than an automaker.

GE's Predix platform, the headliner for the company's software ambitions, also runs on Pivotal. And Microsoft counts Pivotal's Cloud Foundry as a popular service.

It remains to be seen whether Pivotal is worth its almost three-times-a-unicorn valuation, but for partners depending on the company to digitally transform the investments tighten ties.