Gladwin's Ocient raises $10M for engineering hires and tech infrastructure

by Andreas Rekdal
March 7, 2018
chris gladwin ocient
Image via Ocient

If you weren’t keeping an eye on Ocient before, now might be a good time to start.

The Chicago startup, which is building a platform for storing and analyzing enormous data sets, announced on Wednesday that it has raised a $10 million Series A from a group of undisclosed investors.

Ocient will use the funding to boost its hiring efforts and invest in research and development infrastructure.

“Analyzing massive datasets gets harder and more expensive every day, but available databases and analytics software can barely keep up with current demands,” said co-founder and CEO Chris Gladwin in a statement. “When we look out one, three, five years or more, current technology has no chance of cost-effectively meeting the database and analytics needs of large organizations.”

Big data is a popular term among startups looking for capital, but Ocient takes the “big” part more seriously than most. Its stated mission is to build a platform for dealing with data sets on the petabyte and exabyte scale.

For context: One exabyte is the equivalent of 11 million movies in 4k format.

Ocient will use some of the funding to expand its engineering team. The startup currently has 30 employees, but it expects that number to be “closer to 50” by the end of the year, according to a spokesperson.

Our technology requires both elite engineers and on-site infrastructure that can handle the extreme performance demands of exabyte scale data sets.”

The company will also use the funding to launch an on-premise development lab, to be used by its research team to build and test its software at scale. Ocient’s office on the eighth floor of the Boeing Building has room to expand this lab to a whopping 14,000-square-feet.

“Our technology requires both elite engineers and on-site infrastructure that can handle the extreme performance demands of exabyte scale data sets,” said co-founder and CTO Joseph Jablonski in a statement.

The team at Ocient is no stranger to big technical challenges. Gladwin sold his last startup, Cleversafe, to IBM in late 2015 for a reported $1.3 billion. At the time of that acquisition, the Cleversafe team had spent a decade refining its solution for securely storing data in the cloud without making backup copies.

Jablonski and George Kondiles, Ocient’s co-founder and VP of engineering, previously co-founded Acumence — a business intelligence software provider with a specialty in high-speed manufacturing that has since been acquired.

But don’t expect Ocient to exit anytime soon. In an interview with Built In Chicago earlier this year, Gladwin said the company’s product roadmap contains enough challenges for many years to come.

“The product will mature, and it will be put to use,” Gladwin said at the time. “But that won’t necessarily mean you’ll see any big announcements.”

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