Data and AI platform Databricks raises $1.6 bln, valued at $38 bln

Databricks' CEO and co-founder Ali Ghodsi speaks at Spark + AI Summit Europe in London, Britain in October, 2019. Courtesy of Databricks/Handout via REUTERS

OAKLAND, Calif., Aug 31 (Reuters) - Databricks, a data analytics platform that uses artificial intelligence, said on Tuesday it raised $1.6 billion to expand its engineering team to keep its lead in the market, a funding round that valued it at $38 billion.

The massive fund injection “does not push out the IPO”, said Ali Ghodsi, co-founder and CEO. He declined to say when Databricks was planning to go public or whether it would go the traditional route or use a direct listing where companies list existing shares without issuing new shares or raising new funds.

Ghodsi did rule out going public through a merger with a blank-check firm or a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), a popular way for many startups to list.

“I think SPACs are much better suited for companies that maybe have difficulty IPOing on their own and have difficulty getting those kind of investments from the kind of mutual funds that we're talking about,” he said, adding that Databricks’ annualized revenue is $600 million. He said few companies at that scale would list through SPACs.

The latest round was led by Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s investment arm Counterpoint Global. In February the company raised $1 billion in a funding round led by Franklin Templeton. Silicon Valley’s venture capital heavyweight Andreessen Horowitz led several earlier funding rounds and the company's investors include Amazon Web Services, Office of the Chief Investment Officer of the Regents of the University of California, Tiger Global Management.

San Francisco-based Databricks partners with the cloud services of Inc (AMZN.O), Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), and China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (9988.HK), said Ghodsi. It offers a software platform in the cloud that companies can use to analyze data.

Reporting By Jane Lanhee Lee; Editing by David Gregorio

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