VAST Data, the technology firm dedicated to establishing a foundational infrastructure for the age of AI, has just unveiled its successful completion of a series E funding round, amassing an impressive $118 million. This funding endeavor was spearheaded by Fidelity Management & Research Company, with notable participation from New Enterprise Associates (NEA), BOND Capital, and Drive Capital. This substantial injection of capital has propelled the seven-year-old company’s valuation to an impressive $9.1 billion, marking a remarkable threefold increase from its 2021 Series D valuation of $3.7 billion.
VAST Data intends to harness this newfound financial backing to expedite its ongoing work, aiming to introduce a groundbreaking category of infrastructure that repositions data at the core of how systems think, respond, and discover. This transformative approach is expected to empower organizations in tackling their most pressing data-related challenges, enabling unprecedented advancements in technology, economics, social dynamics, and scientific research.
Furthermore, reports from The Information indicate that a portion of the proceeds from this funding round will be allocated to a planned stock buyback from existing shareholders.
Founded in 2016 with the mission of simplifying data storage for enterprises, VAST Data has evolved into a unified data platform. This platform seamlessly integrates storage, database, and containerized compute engine services into a single, scalable software stack, meticulously designed from the ground up. The platform streamlines data management and processing, with robust support from strategic partners like Nvidia and CoreWeave. It facilitates the effortless and rapid capture, synthesis, and analysis of extensive data volumes, laying the groundwork for next-generation AI-driven applications.
Notable applications include AI-assisted discovery, wherein machines replicate the discovery process to address some of humanity’s most significant challenges, such as life-saving medical treatments, accomplishing what used to take decades in mere days.
Jeff Denworth, co-founder of VAST Data, elucidated, “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.”
The exabyte-scale DataStore acts as a storage architecture capable of capturing and serving massive batches of unstructured natural data while eliminating storage tiering. Following data capture, VAST DataBase’s semantic, natively-integrated database layer imparts structure to the information, enabling rapid, large-scale queries. It amalgamates the attributes of a database, a data warehouse, and a data lake into a singular database management system, effectively addressing the trade-offs between real-time data capture and cataloging, as well as real-time analytics.
Ultimately, the platform enhances data comprehension by transforming gathered data into insights about its underlying characteristics. This is achieved through the VAST DataEngine, a global function execution engine that unifies data centers and cloud regions into a cohesive global computational framework. It supports popular programming languages like SQL and Python, incorporates an event notification system, and facilitates materialized and reproducible model training, simplifying AI pipeline management.
VAST Data has already garnered significant adoption, boasting a substantial customer and employee base on a global scale. The introduction of the unified platform with a focus on AI has further solidified the company’s position, attracting numerous major enterprises, including Zoom, Allen Institute, and Pixar Animation Studios. In the fiscal quarter concluding in September, when the unified data platform was introduced, VAST Data achieved cumulative software bookings exceeding $1 billion. The company also reported a three-fold year-over-year growth and maintained positive cash flow for the past 12 quarters, boasting a gross margin of nearly 90%.
With this influx of funding, VAST Data is primed to fortify its platform, laying the groundwork for future AI advancements. However, the exact details of how the company plans to expand and enhance the platform to achieve this mission remain undisclosed as of now, raising curiosity about how it will capture the attention of the burgeoning number of AI companies spanning various sectors.
Renen Hallak, CEO and co-founder of VAST Data, emphasized the importance of high-quality, well-organized data, stating, “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.”
According to statistics from IDC’s worldwide AI spending guide, global spending on AI-centric systems is experiencing double-digit growth rates and is anticipated to surpass $308 billion by 2026.