When an emerging company puts out news about funding, sometimes it can be hard for the market to see the story behind the number. Today, we announced that Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) led a $30 million series B financing round for DataGravity. That’s the news. The story behind the news is that DataGravity has taken a major step forward in building a formidable company that will deliver unprecedented value to customers. A lot of that story has to do with bringing together the right group of people.
Part of building a great company is assembling a board of directors with the vision, operational know-how, track record and startup savvy to help turn an interesting idea into a great company. At DataGravity, we started that process in our A-round, adding David Orfao from General Catalyst (GC) and Bruce Sachs from Charles River Ventures to our board. When John Joseph (JJ) and I talked about who we’d want to join us in our mission, David and Bruce perfectly matched the profile we were looking for. General Catalyst and Charles River Ventures help founders build hugely successful companies. We are fortunate to have them as investors.
JJ and I started talking to Peter Levine, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz about DataGravity last summer. I had known Peter for a couple of years before that. We had been introduced by a mutual friend and spent time talking about enterprise technology trends each time we met. Over the course of a few visits, JJ and I slowly disclosed our mission to Peter. At that time, the value proposition was strong, but the way we told the story to Peter was a bit muddled.
Peter helped us to get clarity and focus in how we described DataGravity. He did this by simply asking us a set of questions and then helping us refine the answers, getting more focused on the core value and technology differentiators. At that point, I knew Peter fit our ideal board member profile. When we asked him what he looked for prior to investing, he said it depended upon the people, the idea and the company. This started us on the journey that resulted in a16z leading our B round, with GC and CRV also participating.
What’s the $30M investment for? The funding means DataGravity is well capitalized to launch our first product in 2014 and make significant progress toward our goal of bringing products to market that instantly deliver value to customers. Peter will join our already strong board, and a16z will provide the global go-to-market expertise, talent acquisition and various other services that will help DataGravity get the exposure it needs in the IT marketplace. This is truly unprecedented access to potential customers and domain experts as partners we can take advantage of in growing DataGravity.
So, the real news is DataGravity has strengthened its bench and is well positioned to become a great company. We will have lively discussions about how to do this and make the company even stronger as we move forward in our mission to help enterprises turn data into information.