Cloud data warehouse company Snowflake Computing raises $450 million at $3.5 billion valuation

Cloud data warehouse company Snowflake Computing has raised a whopping $450 million in a round of growth funding led by Sequoia Capital, with participation from Madrona Venture Group, Redpoint Ventures, Altimeter Capital, Capital One Growth Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures, Wing Ventures, and Meritech Capital.

Founded in 2012, San Mateo-based Snowflake sells database software that runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and, as of a few months back , Microsoft Azure. Its core raison d’être is a repository for holding and querying data, making it available for processing and analyzing by myriad applications. It helps companies make sense of their wealth of data and spot patterns and trends, for example.

Data Goliaths

There are, of course, many data warehousing solutions out there, including the likes of Microsoft’s SQL Data Warehouse , Google’s BigQuery , and Amazon Redshift , not to mention incarnations from more traditional players like Oracle and SAP. But Snowflake’s pitch is that its product has been purpose-built from the bottom up with the cloud in mind, while everyone within an organization can get “priority access” to the database.

“We were built for the cloud from the beginning, meaning that we can take full advantage of the nearly limitless capacity for both data storage and computation that the cloud provides,” Snowflake VP of product Christian Kleinerman told VentureBeat. “In other words, customers can choose how fast they want a question answered, and they don’t have to make difficult compromises about who in the organization gets priority access to the data warehouse.”

Snowflake has already raised nearly $480 million in venture capital (VC) funding, including a $100 million round last year and a further$263 million tranche back in January. And as a result of this latest raise, the company said that it now has a pre-money valuation of $3.5 billion — up from the $1.5 billion valuation at its previous round of funding this year.

“Learning to be data driven is an imperative for every organization today,” added Snowflake CEO Bob Muglia. “A data-driven organization must be in control of their data. Snowflake is the most powerful relational database in the world for analytics solutions. That power delivers the security, control, and the business answers needed by data-driven organizations. This is driving breathtaking growth for our company, and that growth requires capital.”

Big money

The global cloud data warehouse market is expected to become a $20 billion industry by 2020, up 40 percent from the $14 billion it was reportedly worth last year, according to IDC data cited by Snowflake. For example, Palo Alto-based Yellowbrick Data emerged from stealth a few months back with $44 million in funding from big-name investors including GV, Samsung Ventures, DFJ, Menlo Ventures, and Third Point Ventures. Its data warehousing technology can currently be deployed through on-premises data centers and private clouds, though it will be adding public clouds to the mix next year.

“It’s not often a SaaS (software-as-a-service) solution emerges with so many benefits that enable enterprises to be data-driven,” added Sequoia Capital partner Pat Grady. “Snowflake has truly disrupted the data warehouse market, but the best has yet to come.”

With a chunky $450 million more in the bank, Snowflake said that it plans to “expand its multi-cloud strategy,” and grow its sales and engineering teams across the U.S. and beyond.

Does this additional funding also mean that it’s ready to open up to the other big public cloud platform in the room — Google Cloud? Maybe. “Our customers always guide our roadmap, and we have certainly heard an increase in requests for Google Cloud Platform,” Kleinerman said. “We’re looking into it, but it’s too early to comment or provide formal plans.”