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October 26, 2020

Databricks Plotting IPO in 2021, Bloomberg Reports

Databricks, which runs a unified data platform in the cloud and is the driving force behind Apache Spark, is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO), possibly in the first half of 2021, according to a report in Bloomberg last week.

The San Francisco company is looking at going public with a valuation in excess of $6.2 billion, which is what the company was worth a year ago when it raised $400 million in a Series F round, according to Bloomberg’s October 23 story.

Following Snowflake’s historic IPO last month, in which its valuation more than doubled from $33 billion to nearly $68 billion, Databricks is widely seen as one of the likeliest big data firms to test the public waters.

Like Snowflake, Databricks has found success providing advanced data services in the comfort of a public cloud. However, unlike Snowflake, which primarily focuses on delivering SQL analytics in a cloud data warehouse, Databricks’ offering spans multiple disciplines, including data engineering and machine learning, as well as analytics. Recently, Databricks has talked about its desire to create the industry’s first “enterprise AI platform.”

Databricks, which is backed by Andreessen Horowitz and Microsoft (among others), has been a driving force in the big data space in recent years, and its rise has mirrored the emergence of Apache Spark at the center of the big data ecosystem.

As a general-purpose framework for a variety of data disciplines, Spark has flourished while Apache Hadoop has waned. However, using Spark is not necessarily easy, particularly when using it at massive scale. Databricks, which employs many of the people behind Apache Spark, encourages customers to rely on it to reduce the technical complexity involved with running Spark.

It’s unclear if Bloomberg’s report, which cited anonymous sources, is true. While executives have talked about the possibility of an IPO in the past, the company currently is not discussing the matter. Contacted today by Datanami, a Databricks spokesperson declined to comment on the IPO rumor.

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