Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Cloud Analytics Player Tidemark Lands $13 Million Round Led by Tenaya Capital

christian_gheorghe-featureIt seems that I tend to check in on Tidemark, the cloud-based company that specializes in business intelligence and analytics, about once every 11 months, and every time I do, there’s always something new going on.

Yesterday, I stopped by the company’s headquarters in Redwood City, Calif., and met with CEO Christian Gheorghe (pictured), who promptly made me one of the best cups of espresso I’ve ever had. He’s a Romanian-born immigrant who made a living as a jazz guitarist, and escaped that country in the 1980s before the fall of the Communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu after hearing a bootleg cassette tape of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall,” He decided that if the “Evil West” he had been raised to distrust could produce such music, it couldn’t be such a bad place to live, so off he went. Through a long sequence of events, he ended up as CTO of a company called OutlookSoft that in 2007 was acquired by the German software giant SAP.

As CEO backstories go, it’s hard to beat. And so are the results of his company. Tidemark will announce a batch of news today, including the landing of a $13 million round of funding from Tenaya Capital, which will bring its total capital raised to $48 million. Previous investors Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, and Redpoint Ventures are all participating, as well. Sources familiar with the terms of the deal place its implied valuation at north of $150 million.

The new funding is coming in just as Tidemark’s sales are growing like crazy versus last year. Gheorghe says sales are up by 250 percent in the first half of the year over the same period a year ago, and big new customers are coming in the door, including fruit giant Chiquita, Brown University and Hostess Brands, as in the Twinkie company recently back from bankruptcy.

The unsexy way to describe what Tidemark does is “enterprise performance management”: The act of gathering up the data that business generates in the course of its operation is creating a visualized environment from the live data. Not a snapshot of what it was yesterday or last week, as existing software tools often do in this space, but from the live, “right-now” data. It can be presented on an iPad or iPhone or other smart mobile device. This is the data that businesses use to plan their finances and operations, what they need to spend, where they need to trim expenses, and so on.

Earlier this year, Tidemark launched a feature called Storylines. Imagine what you could do if you could easily whip up a fancy-looking infographic using your company’s live data in order to make a presentation to the board of directors or a potential customer. Where most companies seek to build a fancy dashboard that only the boss can see, let along tweak, Tidemark is aiming to make data analytics accessible and easy enough to use that anyone in the company can do it. In the end, all the analytics work that so many companies swear is crucial to getting most out of limited resources can only make a difference if it’s usable and understandable. Otherwise, all that effort is going to waste.

The investment from Tenaya is Tidemark’s third, which raises the question about when it may start thinking about an IPO. Gheorge says he’s following in the footsteps of Aneel Bhusri, co-CEO of Workday and a partner at Greylock. Before going public last year, Workday raised a significant investment from institutional investors as a way of building relationships with the investment bankers who ultimately led its IPO. It just so happens that Bhusri is a director at Tidemark. And Dave Duffield, Workday’s other co-CEO, is also an investor.

Even so, it’s not imminent: “I think of it as sort of a late 2014 or early 2015 kind of thing,” he told me. I guess that means I’ll have to check back before another 11 months have passed.

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