Traction Watch: Cloudera soars to $100M in revenue and 100% year-on-year growth

Cloudera, a tech startup that provides enterprise grade Apache Hadoop-based software solutions and has its roots in Google, Yahoo and Facebook, has built a massively expanding community along with year after year of 100 percent revenue growth.

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Looks like Google, Yahoo, and Facebook can produce a winning combination. Those are the companies the Cloudera founders -- Christophe Bisciglia, Amr Awadallah and Jeff Hammerbacher -- all came from (in order) when they created the Big Data software that runs on the Apache Hadoop software framework.

Cloudera recently announced hitting a major milestones of $100M in revenue and 100 percent year-on-year revenue growth. Their new customer growth in the enterprise market grew by 85%; they now have 525 customers in that market. And, they partnered with major companies like EMC Isilon, Microsoft, Red Hat, SAP, TCS and Teradata to enhance their community credibility.

One of the reasons for the growth in an open source market, Cloudera is an enterprise hub that provides the security and tools needed for Big Data processing on Hadoop. You can think of it like a massive library of software that runs in the cloud. There are now almost 1,500 companies that use Cloudera this way for processing; the company has also trained about 30,000 people in using Hadoop for Big Data processing.

Making Cloudera enterprise-ready was not easy, however. To fuel growth, Cloudera made a huge push into the large enterprise market which required them to enhance their platform with enterprise-grade security. Besides hardening the framework for security, Cloudera also had to build in compliance, which is the necessary ingredient that any software framework needs before enterprise starts taking it seriously. Additionally, they increased their sales and marketing efforts, focused more squarely on the enterprise. They built up their community of developers as a way to accelerate adoption of the software.

"Fiscal 2015 marked an extraordinary year for Cloudera and the industry. We made strides across all areas of our business, and drove accelerated adoption of Hadoop within the enterprise through our commitment to and collaboration with the Apache Hadoop community,” said Tom Reilly, the Cloudera CEO, in a statement when they announced their revenue growth.

The key takeaway for any open-source company looking to expand quickly and rack up sales to $100M is to invest back in the open source community. As Cloudera proves, that’s a recipe for snowballing sales and widespread big data adoption. Put simply, you build traction by becoming the standard, communicating the benefits of your platform, and training people to use it.

Editor’s note: Traction Watch is a new column focused obsessively on growth, and is a companion to the DEMO Traction conference series, which brings together high-growth startups with high-potential customers. The next DEMO Traction will take place in Boston on September 16, 2015. Growth companies can apply to present, or those similarly obsessed can register here to attend.

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