Shhh, DataGravity gets $30M from Andreessen Horowitz et al to democratize info analytics

Secretive startup DataGravity wants to give customers an easy all-in-one way to wring value from their data and has $30 million in fresh cash to make that happen. Andreessen Horowitz led a new Series B round with contributions from Charles River Ventures and General Catalyst Partners. The latter two ponied up $12 million last April to back the startup founded by EqualLogic veterans Paula Long and John Joseph.
The new money will fund sales and marketing activities for the product that has not yet reached beta. The Nashua, N.H. company now has 30 employees and will probably hit 45 to 50 within the year as it builds out those go-to-market activities, Long said in an interview.

Goal: make info analytics easier for the masses

Long is coy about product details — it took quite a bit to get her to say they’re working on an appliance — but DataGravity is ripping a page out of EqualLogic’s playbook. Take a tech area that is now way too hard and too expensive for many smaller businesses to use productively and then make it easier for them to buy and deploy an all-in-one solution. The idea is that solution — whether it’s an EqualLogic SAN or a DataGravity information appliance, meets the needs of 80 percent of the market.

Putting a data scientist into every array

“The idea at EqualLogic was that storage was really complicated and you needed expensive storage admins who understood foreign protocols. We wanted to make it simple enough that an IT admin with broad knowledge could do storage. Now it’s really expensive to do data intelligence without a putting a staff together including data scientists and four or five products,” Long said.”In EqualLogic we put an A+ storage admin into every array, now we want to put an A+ data scientist into every array.”
Indeed, most companies doing advanced data analysis need the database, an ETL tool, analytics software and some sort of data visualization tool set, not to mention very pricey data scientists.
Andreessen Horowitz partner Peter Levine is sold. “DataGravity is all about going from dumb storage to intelligent storage. Now storage is just blocks and files with no contextual meaning until an app or a database does something with that dumb data. These guys are moving into the world of intelligent storage,” he said in an interview.
As part of this funding Levine will join General Catalysts’ David Orfao and Charles River’s Bruce Sachs on the DataGravity board.
The strategy certainly worked for EqualLogic, which was founded in 2001 and sold to Dell  six years later for $1.4 billion in cash. Now we’ll see if Long and Joseph can replicate that success.