UPDATED 13:46 EDT / MARCH 13 2020

confluent BIG DATA

Apache Kafka startup Confluent reportedly raising up to $300M at $5B valuation

Confluent Inc. is looking to raise about $200 million to $300 million in a funding round that could value it at $5 billion, Bloomberg reported on Thursday evening.

The publication attributed the information to two different sources. The $5 billion valuation, if achieved, would double Confluent’s value from the $2.5 billion it was worth after its last funding round in January 2019.

Palo Alto, California-based Confluent commercializes the open-source Apache Kafka data streaming platform. Kafka is widely used among the world’s largest enterprises to transmit information among their internal applications and to import records from outside sources such as factory sensors. Microsoft Corp., for instance, uses the software to ingest 3 trillion data points daily across its core products.

Confluent sells a paid distribution of Kafka that adds value-added capabilities on top of the platform’s core feature set. The offering includes a tool called KSQL that allows companies to perform real-time analysis on their data as it’s ingested by Kafka, plus enhancements designed to ease administration and application development. Confluent provides its distribution in the form of both an on-premises version and a managed cloud service that launched last year.

The startup counts the likes of Audi AG, Tivo Corp. and Morgan Stanley as customers. 

As a private company, Confluent doesn’t officially disclose revenues, but sources told Forbes in January 2019 that its annual bookings had surpassed $100 million. More recently, the startup announced last month that its annual recurring revenue nearly doubled during 2019. 

According to the sources who spoke to Bloomberg about Confluent’s fundraising plans, the new round it’s trying to reel in could be a prelude to a potential initial public offering. An extra $200 million to $300 million in the bank would make it easier for the startup to wait out the current volatility in public markets and maintain growth until a listing becomes more feasible.

Other IPO hopefuls in the tech industry may also raise additional private funding to help weather the storm. At least one big name is reportedly weighing to delay its listing: Word emerged at the start of the month that Airbnb Inc. may push back its planned 2020 IPO to next year. 

Photo: Confluent

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