Netezza Vets Hope Big Data Startup Cazena Leads to Repeat Success

The crew that turned Netezza into a $1.7 billion big data success story is back with Cazena, a Waltham, MA-based startup its founders say can bring big data to the cloud.

Cazena announced Wednesday that it has raised a $20 million Series B round led by Formation 8, with prior investors Andreessen Horowitz and North Bridge Venture Partners also joining in. That brings the total raised by Cazena to $28 million.

Cazena wants to become a big-data-as-a-service provider to enterprise customers. According to founder and CEO Prat Moghe, big data is one of the few areas where enterprises have not made the move to the cloud, with most companies building their own stack. Concerns about complexity, cost, and security are the biggest factors behind their decision, he said. That and the headache of managing the transition.

“There’s a big disconnect between how an enterprise consumes and processes big data and what’s available out there,” Moghe said. “It’s really hard for them to get on the cloud. They’re concerned about security, they’re concerned about complexity, and they already have a mature process of data flow that’s happening on premise, and it’s hard to ‘lift and shift’ that to the cloud.”

Moghe said Cazena can remove those worries and has created software that can be deployed in only three clicks. Cazena works with applications such as Hadoop or Spark, and the company will be able to guide companies through the transition process and help find solutions for their future needs.

“They just want to find the tool, and they want someone else to figure out what the right technology [is] and how much cloud they need,” Moghe said.

This isn’t the first time Moghe or the other Cazena founders have taken on big data, even though they got their start before it had become a buzzword or cliché. Moghe and Cazena board members Jit Saxena and Jim Baum are Netezza vets. With Netezza, which was founded in 1999, they built a company that developed data warehouse appliances that companies could use to manage and process what by early 2000s standards seemed like vast amounts of data. Companies would buy Netezza’s hardware to manage their growing store of data and begin culling it for business insights.

Netezza was successful enough to go public in 2007, and IBM bought the company in 2010 for $1.7 billion.

Times have changed a lot since then, Moghe said, and it’s clear to him the future is in companies moving their big data work to the cloud. If Cazena can capitalize on that transition, it could do quite well: Moghe estimates that 90 percent of Fortune 2000 companies manage big data internally. He thinks it could be a $10 billion market.

One thing hasn’t changed, though. Moghe said the big lesson learned from Netezza is to focus on the business problems customers are trying to solve.

“We’re looking at this problem top down. It’s not about technology upwards, it’s about business problems downwards,” Moghe said. “It’s about stitching together the right infrastructure for the work you’re trying to get done.”

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