Microsoft rival Collibra doubles valuation to $5.25 billion as investors chase next cloud winner


Collibra CEO Felix Van de Maele.


LONDON — Software start-up Collibra said Tuesday it has raised $250 million in a round of funding that values the firm at $5.25 billion.

Collibra raised the fresh funds in a late-stage investment led by Sequoia Capital and Belgium-based holding company Sofina, with Tiger Global also investing. The firm also counts Alphabet’s venture unit CapitalG, ICONIQ Capital and Index Ventures as investors.

At a $5.25 billion valuation, Collibra is now worth double the $2.3 billion investors valued the company at last year. Collibra plans to use the fresh funding to double its workforce by 2023. It currently has 953 employees, according to LinkedIn.

Founded in 2008, Collibra helps firms manage and analyze data distributed across multiple countries. The New York and Brussels-based company competes with cloud giants like Microsoft, Snowflake and Informatica in the field of helping enterprises make sense of their data.

“What we’ve seen over the last couple of years has been so much more data,” Collibra CEO and co-founder Felix Van de Maele told CNBC. “It’s moved to the cloud, there’s a lot of innovation.”

“Because of that there’s more usage of data, whether it’s through AI, machine learning, this whole digital transformation,” he added. “The result is that there’s a lot more complexity, a lot more fragmentation.”

Businesses have to navigate a plethora of data privacy regulations, like California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Collibra’s chief said his firm helps solve that problem.

Money pouring into cloud

The deal reflects surging investment into cloud companies at a time when digital adoption has boomed in the coronavirus pandemic. Databricks raised $1.6 billion at a $38 billion valuation in August, while Celonis bagged $1 billion in a round valuing the firm at $11 billion.

Investors are searching for the next winner in cloud computing after solid stock market debuts from the likes of Snowflake and GitLab. Last week, HashiCorp became the latest high-growth enterprise tech firm to file for an initial public offering.

Asked whether an IPO was on the horizon for Collibra, de Maele said that this was the goal — though there’s no specific time frame on its plans just yet.

“There’s a massive market opportunity,” he said. “We have a strong position, we’re getting to the right scale and we’re building the company as if we could become a public company.”

The enterprise software market has also seen a lot of consolidation in recent years, with Microsoft buying speech recognition company Nuance in a $16 billion deal and Intuit snapping up email marketing firm Mailchimp for $12 billion.

De Maele ruled out being acquired and said his firm was more likely to be the one doing the buying. Collibra has become more active in corporate deal making, having bought a firm called SQLdep in 2019 and a company called OwlDQ earlier this year.

“We believe we can be a large, independent company,” Collibra’s chief said. “There’s a lot of really interesting technology, great teams, and we had a scale that we can do some of that M&A ourselves, which we plan to continue to do.”


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