Melbourne entrepreneur in Silicon Valley gets $41.8 million cash injection

Big data analytics company Platfora has received one of the largest investments ever for an Australian tech start-up, securing $41.8 million from US investors.

Founded by Melbourne entrepreneur Ben Werther in 2011, the business is based in Silicon Valley and has already attracted some big clients such as Citigroup, Disney and The Washington Post.

The multimillion dollar investment was led by Tenaya Capital and brings the company’s total financing to $65 million.

Platfora sells big data-visualisation software and other backers include Battery Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz.

The company said in a statement it intends to use the money to “invest aggressively in talent, technology and field organisations to enable Platfora to lead organisations in a once-in-a-generation shift away from SQL-based business intelligence technology into the current era of Big Data Analytics”.

According to The Australian Financial Review,Werther lived in the United States as a young boy between ages six and eight and attended his first computer classes there.

However, for most of his childhood and adolescence Werther was raised in Melbourne and studied computer science at Monash University. He has been named by Forbes as one of the next generation of enterprise software leaders.

Prior to founding Platfora, Werther had been the vice president of products for DataStax and the head of product at Greenplum.

Werther estimates big data analytics will unlock $5 trillion in new value for the economy in the next 10 years.

“Enterprises are awash in data but are struggling to gain useful insights,” Werther said in a statement.

“While intuition is critical in business, business executives readily admit that they are still making too many gut decisions because they cannot adequately access or analyse all of their data to make better informed decisions. They cannot access or interpret these new large and heterogeneous big data sets fast enough.”

 Tenaya Capital managing director Brian Paul said in a statement the widespread adoption of big data infrastructure by mainstream enterprises represents an opportunity for mainstream enterprises.

“We believe Platfora’s unique intellectual property and its ability to help any company unlock new business opportunities from their data assets will resonate in the market,” he says.

The investment in Platfora lags the $US60 million raised by Atlassian from Accel Partners in 2010 and the $84 million investment in retail site Catch of the Day by a consortium led by James Packer.


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