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Data analytics firm Databricks raises $400 million, valued at $6.2 bln

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Databricks, a data analytics platform using artificial intelligence, said on Tuesday it raised $400 million in a series F funding round led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, valuing the company at $6.2 billion.

Andreessen Horowitz confirmed the funding round as well.

The latest round comes only months after Databricks announced a $250 million funding round in February that was also led by Andreessen Horowitz and included Microsoft Corp. Databricks’ valuation after that round was $2.75 billion, according to a previous statement by the company.

Ali Ghodsi, co-founder and chief executive officer of Databricks, said the funds raised are mainly to help accelerate research and development by hiring more engineers.

The company has tripled its engineering staff to about 400 in the past two years and expects to double that again in the coming year, Ghodsi added. The company also has big expansion plans globally, including investing $100 million in a R&D center in Amsterdam.

Databricks offers a software platform in the cloud that companies can use to analyze data. For example, a biotech company can use Databricks to analyze DNA sequences and find snippets of sequences linked to a disease. Oil producers can also use Databricks to process data from the sensors on pipeline valves to know when to change a valve that will break soon.

“I call it boring A.I.,” said Ghodsi. “Sexy A.I. is self-driving cars, and robots that are going to take over, and it’s the robots that are doing back-flips, and things like that. We’re sort of the boring A.I. — Under the hood, behind the scenes, actually automating a lot of things across lots and lots of enterprises, across many, many verticals.”

With the cloud business taking off, in less than four years Databricks has gone from almost no revenue to over $50 million in revenue in the last quarter alone, Ghodsi said.

Ghodsi said Databricks has partnerships with Microsoft and Inc’s cloud service AWS which both sell Databricks services to customers through their platforms. It doesn’t yet have a partnership with Alphabet Inc’s cloud service, but Databricks can run on any cloud platform, he said. (Reporting By Jane Lanhee Lee Editing by Lincoln Feast)