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4 things to know about Actifio

March 27, 2014

‘Copy data’ management company Actifio just raised $100 million at a $1 billion valuation. Here’s what you should know about it.

FORTUNE — Actifio, a Boston-area provider of copy data virtualization solutions, this morning announced that it had raised $100 million in new venture capital funding at a pre-money valuation of $1 billion. Tiger Global Management led the round, and was joined by return backers North Bridge Venture Partners, Greylock Partners, Advanced Technology Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Technology Crossover Ventures.

fortuneSince being founded in 2009, the company has now raised around $208 million in total VC funding, including a $50 million round last spring at a $500 million valuation.

Four things worth knowing about this company and its financing, based on a conversation with co-founder and CEO Ash Ashutosh:

1. What is ‘copy data virtualization?’

Don’t know? Don’t worry, neither do most of Actifio’s eventual customers.

“If you ask most corporate CIOs if they have a copy data problem, they’ll say they don’t,” Ashutosh says. “When we then explain what it is, they tell us they’ve spent a ton of money dealing with the problem they just said they didn’t have.”

Here’s a quick primer: Every time a piece of business software creates data — whether it be for testing, compliance, disaster recovery, etc. — it makes a copy of the entire process. This data, as you might imagine, grows at a much faster rate than does the end product data that most businesses focus on managing. More importantly, most of that copy data is being done by different types of systems, each of which requires its own storage and management. Actifio offers a cloud-based management app for all of the copy data, which lets users recover it instantly from the same place (thus saving siloed storage and management costs).

2.  Faster growth

When Actifio raised its last round of funding at a $500 million valuation, Ashutosh told The Wall Street Journal that the company had received offers at around $650 million, but that he didn’t want the company’s valuation to get too far ahead of its growth rate. So why is $1.1 billion (post-money) now an appropriate figure?

“A couple of things have changed,”  Ashutosh says. “We’ve done 2.8 times the revenue we had done compared to last time, and gone into over 300 enterprise users in 31 countries. That’s the big material improvement. Less tangible is the level of comfort we think we’re bringing to people’s businesses… transforming them by letting them access information quicker. It’s changing economics for clients and letting them use their budgets for better business-focused things. Not only has that nearly tripled our sales, but it’s given us enough depth to build fast going forward.”

3. When is the IPO?

Ashutosh says that the company has no need to go public within the next year, and that it is most likely something that will happen 16-to-24 months out. He argues that Actifio doesn’t need the actual cash, since all of this new $100 million in primary capital (i.e., no secondary liquidity for early employees or shareholders). Instead, he expects to go public once potential customers insist upon it.

“We’re asking companies to make a major change to how they treat their data, so their purchasing guys spend a lot of time looking at our viability. I think that this financing from these types of investors takes care of those concerns for now, but if a customer says that he wishes we were public, then that’s when we take a harder look at it. Or the say that we feel competition is really hearing up.

4. How can you build a $1 billion+ company in today’s Route 128 corridor?

“This is an enterprise-focused company with a mission given to us by enterprise customers, to be the custodians of data. It’s a different type of company requiring a different breed of people. We’re not consumer-focused, chasing after the youngest kid who knows how to program. Most of the talent we’re looking for continues to be out here. If you come to our office, you’ll see a level of excitement, but also a buttoned-down approach because we take the job of managing people’s data very seriously.”


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