VAST Data, the technology major creating an infrastructure layer for the age of AI, today announced it has raised $118 million in a series E round of funding, led by Fidelity Management & Research Company.
The investment, which also saw the participation of New Enterprise Associates (NEA), BOND Capital and Drive Capital, has grown the valuation of the seven-year-old company nearly thrice over to $9.1 billion, following a 2021 Series D valuation of $3.7 billion.
VAST Data plans to use the capital to accelerate its work and deliver a new category of infrastructure that puts data at the center of how systems think, react and discover. This, it says, will allow organizations to address their most pressing data challenges and enable unprecedented advancements in technology, economics, social dynamics and scientific research.
A report from The Information also suggests that some of the proceeds from the round will go towards a planned stock buyback from existing shareholders.
VAST Data and its unified data platform
Founded in 2016 with a mission to make data storage easier for enterprises, VAST Data has evolved into a unified data platform – where storage, database, and containerized compute engine services are combined into a single, scalable software stack architected from the ground up.
The offering, with its simplified data management and processing experience and support from partners such as Nvidia and CoreWeave, allows easy and rapid capturing, synthesizing and learning from large quantities of data, paving the way for next-generation AI-driven applications.
This includes AI-assisted discovery, where machines recreate the process of discovery to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges – like life-saving treatments – and achieve a level of specialization that used to take decades in a matter of days.
“What we have is a continuous computing engine that combines the VAST DataStore, which is the (existing) file and object layer, with the next-generation DataBase we’ve invented and the DataEngine, which is the function execution environment that’s built with event streams and triggers. All this happens from edge to cloud through what we call the VAST DataSpace,” Jeff Denworth, co-founder of VAST Data, said in a media pre-briefing when announcing the unified platform a few months ago.
The exabyte-scale DataStore acts as a storage architecture that captures and serves massive batches of unstructured natural data while eliminating storage tiering. Once the data is captured, VAST DataBase’s semantic, natively-integrated database layer applies structure to the information and allows for rapid querying at scale. It combines the characteristics of a database, a data warehouse and a data lake into one database management system that resolves the tradeoffs between capturing and cataloging natural data in real-time as well as real-time analytics.
Finally, the platform delivers intelligence to transform the gathered data into an understanding of its underlying characteristics. This is done through VAST DataEngine, the global function execution engine that consolidates data centers and cloud regions into one global computational framework. It supports programming languages such as SQL and Python, an event notification system and materialized and reproducible model training that makes it easier to manage AI pipelines.
While VAST Data already had a massive footprint with a strong customer and employee base globally, the launch of the unified platform with a focus on AI has further bolstered the company position. The offering is used by multiple major enterprises, including Zoom, Allen Institute and Pixar Animation Studios.
In the financial quarter ending September, when VAST Data announced the unified data platform, its cumulative software bookings surpassed $1 billion. The company also said it achieved over three-fold year-over-year growth and maintained positive cash flow for the last 12 quarters with a gross margin of nearly 90%.
With this funding, VAST Data plans to double down on its platform, creating a foundation for AI advancements of the future. However, it remains to be seen how exactly the company will expand and improve the platform to achieve this mission – and draw the attention of the massive number of AI companies that are cropping up across different sectors. The questions sent by VentureBeat remained unanswered at the time of writing.
“To be truly impactful in this era of AI and deep learning, you not only want to have a lot of data but also high-quality data that is correctly organized and available at the right place, at the right time. The VAST Data Platform delivers AI infrastructure that opens the door to automated discovery that can solve some of humanity’s most complex challenges,” Renen Hallak, CEO and co-founder of VAST Data, said in a media statement.
According to stats from IDC’s worldwide AI spending guide, global spending on AI-centric systems is growing at double-digit rates and will exceed $308 billion by 2026.
The post AI infrastructure major VAST Data’s valuation surges to over $9B after fresh funding appeared first on Venture Beat.