Cloudera, a record-breaking startup, is finally getting ready for its IPO

Amr Awadallah, clouderaYouTube/Informatica CorporationCloudera co-founder and CTO Amr Awadallah

Big data startup Cloudera plans to raise $US200 million in an IPO.

It just released public S1 forms on Friday that show:

  • Revenue of $US261 million in its fiscal 2017, up from $US166 million in 2016.
  • Gross profit (before R&D, sales and marketing and G&A expenses) of $US174 million in 2017, up from nearly $US91 million in 2016.
  • Net loss of $US187 million in 2017, narrowed from $US203 million in 2016.
  • Sales and marketing expenses also increased in the ramp-up to going public to $US203 million in 2017 from $US161 million in 2016.

Cloudera, founded in 2008, was an early startup in the whole big-data field. It offers software and services that lets businesses store massive amounts of data on inexpensive hardware via Hadoop, a type of software invented by Google and pioneered by Yahoo.

Hadoop is great for storing stuff cheaply, but was hard for the average company to use once they put all that stuff in there — Cloudera was one of a handful of companies that made it easier for an average business to use.

As such, it attracted attention and a boatload of angel and VC cash, including angel backing by Diane Greene (VMware cofounder now running Google’s cloud business) and Caterina Fake (co-founder of Flickr and chairman of Etsy), who are scheduled to cash out their shares in this IPO, according to the database that tracks such things, PitchBook.

People have been talking about Cloudera’s potential IPO since 2013. But it chose to stay private longer. The company was an early “unicorn,” a startup with a valuation of over a billion, and stood by while one of its main competitors, Hortonworks (a Hadoop spin-out from Yahoo itself), went public in 2014.

Hortonworks had a successful IPO in December 2014, but its stock price has struggled big time since then, down from about $US26 to under $US10 today. In contrast, by 2014, Cloudera had raised over $US1 billion at an over $US4 billion valuation, a record-breaking amount for an enterprise startup at the time, and had investors like Accel, Greylock Fidelity, Intel, and T.Row Price.

By early 2016, when the valuations of unicorn startups were under siege, Fidelity famously marked down the valuation of much of the startup stock it owned, including Cloudera.

While the shares aren’t priced yet, Cloudera’s IPO is also expected to give the company a valuation of around $US4 billion, same as its last private round, with 33 investors cashing out at least some of their stakes, PitchBook reports.

But so far, 2017 looks like it will be good for highly-valued enterprise IPOs — tech startups that sell their tech to businesses. So investors may gobble up Cloudera as well. MuleSoft had a good IPO earlier this month. Okta is nearing the gates with its IPO, too. And now, Cloudera is waiting in the wings.

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