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Snowflake raises $263.5 million for cloud data warehouse conquest

Snowflake, which is aiming to win data warehouse workloads in the cloud, has raised $473 million in total funding. That's a lot of dough, but the competition is more than well funded.

Snowflake is raising $263.5 million in Series E venture funding from ICONIQ Capital and Altimeter Capital and newcomer Sequoia Capital in a move that gives the cloud data warehouse provider the funding to expand as well as call its own timing to go public.

With the funding, Snowflake has raised $473 million. That funding velocity over four years is No. 4 behind Lyft, Magic Leap and Slack. Snowflake has a valuation of $1.5 billion.

"The funding provides us the opportunity to work with lots of customers around the globe," said CEO Bob Muglia in an interview. When the funding level was noted, Muglia was quick to point out that Snowflake is competing with some of the largest and best funded data players such as Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle and Google.

Here's how Snowflake will use the money:

  • Boosting its R&D and engineering efforts.
  • Expanding globally into EU, North America and Asia Pacific.
  • New product development such as The Data Sharehouse.

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Another perk of Snowflake's war chest is that it can have time to go public when ready, said Muglia.

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As for the industries Snowflake is chasing, Muglia added that the company is adding financial services companies such as Capital One with retail, media and other verticals in the mix. "Every industry has a need to work with data and they are investing in the cloud," said Muglia.

Snowflake, which runs on Amazon Web Services, is competes with multiple data warehouse providers, but is seeing current success vs. IBM Netezza as well as Pivotal's Greenplum, said Muglia.

However, he added that Snowflake's biggest competition is legacy environments and the speed bumps that go with them. "Large enterprises can have complicated environments," said Muglia. "Snowflake is compatible with everything, but sometimes a customer has a 5-years old version of a tool and has to move to a new version to migrate."

Muglia added that Snowflake is also seeing traction with its data sharing feature that enables enterprises to share information in real-time with business partners. That shared data becomes an asset to drive sales. "It's a transformative capability that turns data into business value," said Muglia. "Data is a competitive asset that can be monetized directly so we are seeing adoption of that."