In 2011, Bob Muglia abruptly left Microsoft after 23 years with the company.
In a recent interview with GeekWire, Muglia said that the departure was amid a disagreement with then-CEO Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates over the company’s hesitance around open source — the booming ecosystem of developers sharing code with each other for free, which, at the time, Microsoft saw as a big competitive threat.
Following a short stint at struggling networking company Juniper Networks, Muglia took the title of CEO at Snowflake Computing. Snowflake, a Silicon Valley startup founded by Oracle veterans in 2012, sells “cloud data warehouses,” systems for storing massive amounts of data in the Amazon Web Services cloud platform for analysis.
Today, just shy of three years later, Snowflake announces a $US100 million investment led by Iconiq Capital — a “billionaire’s club” of a venture firm that counts Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, and LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman as clients. A source close to the deal puts the valuation of Snowflake at around $US500 million following this deal.
Madrona Venture Group also joins as a new investor, alongside returning investors Altimeter Capital, Redpoint Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures and Wing Ventures. In its five-year lifespan, Snowflake has raised a total of $US205 million in funding, including today’s round.
While Snowflake competes with industry heavyweights like Oracle, Amazon’s own Redshift, Google BigQuery, and the Microsoft Azure cloud, Muglia is confident that he’s got the edge in terms of technology. The new financing, Muglia tells Business Insider, will enable a further investment in R&D and “we’re going to get further ahead.”
In a more material sense, Muglia says, Snowflake is starting to expand its global footprint. Just recently, Snowflake opened up a Seattle-area office (hence the investment from Seattle-based venture firm Madrona). Muglia also says that the company will be expanding its sales offices around the world.
This is a lot of money, but Muglia says that while “we have our eye on” an eventual IPO, they’re hedging their bets and not taking it for granted.
“You never know what the next step will be,” Muglia says.
Meanwhile, over at Microsoft, current CEO Satya Nadella has revamped the company’s culture to be much more accepting of open source, settling the debate that caused Muglia to leave. But Muglia says that while he respects the work that Microsoft is doing, Snowflake is all-in as an Amazon Web Services partner, using its cloud as the launching point for its own business.
“I think Microsoft is doing a pretty good job,” says Muglia. “But Amazon is doing a pretty good job too.”