Melbourne-founded tech minnow Zetaris is starting to gain recognition as a disruptive force in the big data analytics market. CEO and founder Vinay Samuel told CRN that the company is racing the clock to expand with longer-term plans for an IPO and a valuation in the billions.
The company recently gained access to nine new markets after winning a top spot in Ingram Micro’s Cloud Comet Competition and securing a strategic partnership with the distributor to vend its data platform software to banks, telcos and governments around the world.
The company’s “secret sauce”, Samuel argued, is its software’s ability to solve one of the biggest problems faced by big data projects. It’s not the sophisticated analytics that is the main challenge, he said, but rather the chaotic and messy way that large organisations distribute data sources.
Fundamentally, Zetaris’ software allows customers to link data from disparate sources together in the cloud and analyse it without the need to recode and physically copy it to a central location but without saturating their networks in traffic or compromising security.
“Really, what Zetaris is about is, rather than taking data from the operating system to the analytical systems and then to the user, we actually take the user and the compute and the algorithm to the data where it originated,” Samuel said.
Samuel said that the company has been working on the intellectual property behind it — a sophisticated form of search optimisation — since 2013. It took Zetaris three to four years working with potential customers on strategic projects to road test the technology before it was ready to bring it to market.
“This is not a simple app. This is deep enterprise technology and we’ve only been out of stealth mode for the last 12 to 18 months,” Samuel explained.
If Samuel — who has already stencilled a few highly successful big data ventures on his fuselage — is right in claiming that the software can potentially deliver big data projects in a sixth of the time for a tenth of the cost, then it’s an understandable delay.
However, time is a luxury Samuels says that the company can no longer afford. Zetaris has received advice that it holds the lead market position in what analysts have termed “federated governed SQL”. However, Samuel is conscious that the company only has two to three years to consolidate that position before the tech-giants catch up and start eating its lunch.
“There’s a window of time, we believe, so we’ve got to move fast. We’re currently trying to raise a Series B (funding round). This is part of the reason we took on the Ingram Micro (partnership) so that within a few months we’ll be in every major global market. Our competitors are multi-billion-dollar companies and we are beating them, so we need to have the resource to keep up with our go-to-market channel partners and to rapidly grow a global technology company,” Samuel said.
Zetaris ran lean during its start-up phase; a full-time head count of around 20, taking on an extra 10 or so contractors during peak development cycles. Early stage funding of around $9 million from a mix of private investors and venture capitalists would have been sufficient to keep the company running for several years, including its global distribution partnership with Ingram.
However, Samuel said that the company needs the Series B funding to take a more aggressive stance and “double down and go big” in each market.
Primarily, said Samuel, that means small footprint teams to support Ingram and its partners and resellers to get its software to market. However, he ruled out any direct selling.
“It’s too heavy a model. It takes too much capital. This is a much more capital and funding efficient model, and keeps more equity on the table,” he said.
Series B funding rounds are traditionally sought to fund rapid growth stages of in the lifecycle of start-ups and can top $40 million. Samuel said that he’s yet to witness any weakening of capital availability due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, he said, the crisis has levelled the playing field for access to investors.
“For me to raise capital in San Francisco is one Zoom call away now, whereas in the past I’d have to find the time to make a couple of weeks, book a ticket and go do a roadshow,” he said.
Ultimately, Samuel said, having been involved in company listings in the past, it’s the sort of future he hopes for Zetaris.
“The plan is to grow and grow and go big, and I’d love to take it to an IPO stage”.