Unifying Data Across Large Enterprises: Our investment in Okera

Ethan Kurzweil
May 30, 2018 · 3 min read

By: Ethan Kurzweil, Ben Mathews and Jenny Gao

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Co-founders Amandeep Khurana, Nong Li, and the Okera team

Last week, Bessemer proudly announced that we’re leading Okera’s $12M Series A round. We’ve spent a tremendous amount of time surveying technical teams at large enterprises to better understand their critical needs as they move towards more modern data architectures. Now is a time of change and transition — all the more so given last week’s GDPR deadline, and it is clear to us that Okera will be a critical part of this evolution.

After a decade of the “big data” hype cycle, we’re finally beginning to see Fortune 500 enterprises move their data out of on-premise data centers and into cloud providers such as AWS, Azure and Google Cloud, which allow for far more agility and ease of access to data. More and more, enterprises are creating cloud-hosted “data lakes”, or huge centralized repositories which allow enterprises to store various datasets in one place in their native formats. This market has recently caught fire; it’s estimated to grow at a 28% CAGR from $2.5B in 2016 to $8.8B in 2021.

While these data lakes provide massive benefits to an enterprise with the separation of storage and compute and the flexibility that comes with it, they also open up a whole new world of problems. Data analysts and security teams don’t have the right tools to understand what data they have, who can access it and if data usage complies with burning compliance needs like GDPR. With over a decade of experience in enterprise big data, Amandeep and Nong saw this pain first hand and sought to “fix the problem” simply and comprehensively and that’s exactly what they’ve done at Okera.

Okera gives organizations a simple way to be good stewards of their data. Their product provides immediate value to enterprise customers: data analysts get much greater visibility into the many datasets available to them, owners and stewards can place fine-grained permissioning and security controls on which users have access to which data and the data becomes much more actionable by enabling all types of users (both business analysts and data scientists) to extract insights directly. Rarely have we seen an early stage product resonate so deeply and quickly with enterprises as evidenced by big companies like Capital One and many others taking a chance on a small startup!

With Okera, there now exists a way for enterprises to move to cloud based data infrastructure and effectively take advantage of its myriad of benefits. And in the Okera team, there could not exist more knowledge of how to successfully move data to the cloud. Amandeep and Nong wrote the playbook for how to do it during their time at AWS, Cloudera and Databricks.

With over 4,000 petabytes in enterprise public cloud stores today and the looming threat of GPDR enforcement from the EU, it is imperative that enterprises adopt a solution like Okera. We’ve been blown away by the team’s depth of experience and technical competence in the big data space, and we’re excited to join a fantastic group of investors including Wesley Chan at Felicis, Jaidev Shergill at Capital One Ventures and several notable individuals in supporting Amandeep and Nong’s quest to free enterprise data. Onward!

Share your thoughts below or connect with me on Twitter.

Bessemer Venture Partners

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