Stealth big data company Cazena raises $8M

Steven Loeb · October 20, 2014 · Short URL:

Cazena aims to make big data both simpler and quicker than ever before

Big data has come a long way in the last 10 to 15 years, with more and more enterprise companies having embraced it, and with many of them now relying on it to give them insights into their customers and business. It has fundamentally changed how businesses operate.

But there are still some problems with big data that need to be addressed. First, it is still very complex, with so many options that companies don't know which type of distribution is best for them. And, second, the response time is still too slow, with companies needing and wanting data in almost real-time. Both of these issues have stood in the way of big data becoming even more ubiquitous in the enterprise.

That is the idea behind Cazena, a new stealth big data company, which is aiming to solve both of these problem. The company is being announced at the Andreessen Horowitz CIO Big Data Roundtable in New York City on Monday.

Cazena was founded by former leaders from big data appliance company Netezza, including Prat Moghe, previously senior vice president at Netezza, who is now CEO of Cazena. 

"We were in Netezza, one of pioneers in the big data space, starting in 2000 and, back then, they started thinking that many enterprises would be interested in big data, and analysis of large volumes of data," Moghe told me in an interview. "Over the last 10 years, more enterprises have starting adopting big data to analyze customers, target customers better and  create products that make sense. Netezza helped speed that up."

Because of that success, however, it has led to companies wanting their data faster and faster, something that the big data space has, so far, not been  able to address.

"The cycle time for analytics has shrunk even more. IT leaders want access to data immediately. They do not want to wait months to build infrastructure, they want it  now, in nearly real-time."

The second issue, he said, is the complexity of big data.

"Enterprise customers are tired of spending money on infrastructure. They are looking at cloud models, like Amazon Web Services and Rackspace, that speak and talk in different languages," he said. "Large enterprises are fairly conservative. They care about security and also care deeply about  service level agreements."

They want big data to be predictable and reliable, but the way it is right now, "many are looking at the cloud and they are optimistic about it, but they are struggling with how to leverage it."

That is why Cazena's vision is to be able to speed up cycle time for big data for large enterprises, and to create infrastructure to bring data together, so that it can became much simpler and easier to use. 

Currently, many are approaching big data as a technology problem as opposed to a business problem. But by focusing on specific Hadoop engines, such as which can go faster or support more things, "misses the point ultimately about the consumer of analytics," Moghe said.

Business analysts, chief marketing officers and CIOS only care that campaigns run on time, not how they run. The truth is that the people in charge do not really care how big data works. They just want to know that it is working, and giving them the best results.

Moghe compared it to electricity: the majority of people do not know it really works, but when they plug in their toaster, or their microwave, or their lamp, they want it to just work.

There is, of course, one missing ingredient right now: how exactly the company will do this is not really clear yet, as it is still in stealth mode and plans to keep the product there for at least the next six months.

But we already know how: the company has announced that it has raised $8 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Andreessen Horowitz and North Bridge Venture Partners.

The Boston-based Cazena was founded in April of 2013, and is currently in discussions with a few pilot enterprises as its first customers.

The reason that Cazena is the company that is equipped to deliver this is the experience the team had while working at Netezza.

"The experience we had with Netezza was the same. Back then we needed to bring together a bunch of services people to deliver a data warehouse. We realized we could package and put parts together so we could approach the problem from a business angle as opposed to tech angle," Moghe said. "It was simple and it worked and that is the same approach we want to bring to the table now."

In addition to Moghe, other Netezza members that are now at Cazena include former CEO Jim Baum and co-founder Jit Saxena. Also joining the company's board of directors are Peter Levine, Steve Papa and Ed Anderson.

"We are excited to able to bring such a strong team together, beyond just the Netezza guys," said Moghe.

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