Company Closeup: Snowflake

Company Closeup Snowflake11111

Snowflake is a magnet for heavyweight investors like Salesforce Ventures and the notoriously tech-and-IPO cautious Berkshire Hathaway. As a point of comparison, Berkshire Hathaway – led by Warren Buffett, the “Oracle of Omaha” – hasn’t participated in an IPO offering for more than 50 years. For Snowflake, however, the conglomerate broke with tradition by acquiring $250 million worth of stock in a private placement (along with four million shares from Bob Muglia, the company’s previous CEO).

It was a move that didn’t go unnoticed, and the implication was pretty straightforward — Snowflake is special. It has become the stuff of Silicon Valley legends. It is a self-managing data warehouse that delivers insights in weeks rather than years. It is an enterprise-ready cloud data warehouse that simplifies without sacrificing features, a system that gets the right balance between performance and cost. It is possible to script a massive Snowflake warehouse for data loads and scale it back down after they’re complete — all in real-time when complex transformations are required.

Snowflake partnered with Databricks to enable heavy data science and other complex workloads to be run against your data. Microsoft‘s partnership with Snowflake enabled Azure services to extend their native integration with Snowflake. 

The Growth Story

In 2012, three data warehousing experts – Benoit Dageville, Thierry Cruanes, and Marcin Zukowski-built the “Snowflake”. After two years in stealth mode, Snowflake, a name that is a tribute to the founders’ love of winter sports, was officially launched in 2014. The company provides cloud-based data warehousing and analytics services, generally called “data warehouses as services”. Using cloud-based hardware and software allows corporate users to store and analyse data. 

Snowflake has been running on Amazon S3 since 2014, on Azure since 2018 and Google Cloud Platform since 2019. In addition to reviving the data warehouse industry, it created a cloud-based data platform. It was the first company to separate computer data storage from computing before Google, Amazon, and Microsoft.

Business and technology publications have recognised Snowflake over the years for their great product innovation and workplace culture, and to the foremost recent within the bag, Snowflake won the worldwide technology partner award for innovation in Qlik Partner Award. Being within the business, Snowflake has been awarded multiple honours over the year. As one of the most effective places to figure, Snowflake was identified as a “Cool Vendor” in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant and won first place at the 2015 Strata + Hadoop World startup competition. Snowflake was listed as No. 2 on Forbes magazine’s Cloud 100 list in 2019 and was ranked No. 1 on LinkedIn’s 2019 US list of Top Startups.

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In 2012, Benoit Dageville, Thierry Cruanes, and Marcin Zukowski founded Snowflake Inc. in San Mateo, California. Dagville and Cruanes previously worked at Oracle Corporation as data architects. Zukowski was a co-founder of the Dutch company Vectorwise.  

In 2014, Bob Muglia, formerly of Microsoft, was appointed CEO; the company raised $26 million and came out of stealth mode with 80 organisations using it at that time.

In 2015, the company raised an additional $45 million and launched its first cloud data warehouse product.

In 2017, the company raised $100 million.

In 2018, it raised another $450 million in a round led by Sequoia Capital, raising its valuation to $3.5 billion; in the same year, it announced a $263 million financing round at a $1.5 billion valuation, making it a unicorn.

In 2019, former ServiceNow CEO Frank Slootman joined Snowflake as CEO, and former ServiceNow CFO Michael Scarpelli joined the company as CFO. In the same year, Snowflake Data Exchange was launched. LinkedIn had ranked the company as the top startup in the US for 2019. 

In 2020, Snowflake unveiled the Data Cloud – an ecosystem where thousands of Snowflake customers, partners, data providers, and data service providers can break down data silos, derive insights, and deliver value from rapidly growing data sets in secure, governed, compliant, and seamless ways. Crux Informatics, a leading data delivery and operations company, joined the Snowflake Data Marketplace as a data delivery partner. And in addition to that, another $479 million was raised by the company. A total of 3400 active customers were registered at that time. In the same year, Snowflake became a public company following an IPO that raised $3.4 billion, the largest IPO to date to double on its first trading day. 

In 2021, Snowflake announced a partnership with Abacus Insights, a leading healthcare data integration and interoperability platform, to enable the healthcare industry with seamless access to data insights at scale. Also, in 2021, the company would become headquarter-less, with a principal executive office in Bozeman, Montana.  In addition, Snowflake announced support for Unified ID 2.0 to help organisations easily enrich audience data, without sharing consumers’ personally identifiable information (PII).

Frank Slootman, Chairman and CEO at Snowflake

Product Portfolio

Data Warehouse Modernisation 

With the data platform designed to enable the modern cloud data warehouse, you can accelerate your analytics. Snowflake creates a single, governed, and directly queryable source for all of your data, including JSON and XML, with near-unlimited, cost-effective storage. With limitless, dedicated compute resources, you can support virtually an unlimited number of concurrent users and queries. Query semi-structured data directly with SQL, as well as with business intelligence and machine learning tools. Snowflake can be scaled up and down on the fly or automatically, with per-second pricing. 

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Data Lake

Snowflake delivers a flexible solution to enable or enhance your data lake strategy, with a cloud-built architecture that meets your unique requirements, mixing and matching components of data lake design patterns. Almost all of your organisation’s data can be accessed by an unlimited number of users. Enterprises can leverage Snowflake functionality to meet governance and security standards for collaborative data preparation, exploration, and analytics regardless of where your data resides. 

Data Applications

Enterprises can maintain performance SLAs with Snowflake’s multi-cluster, shared data architecture. A near-unlimited number of concurrent users and workloads can be supported with dedicated compute resources instantly and without affecting performance. It also provides fresh insights from semi-structured data faster without requiring engineering teams to prepare data and maintain pipelines. 

Data Engineering

Data engineers can spend little to no time managing infrastructure with Snowflake, avoiding tasks such as capacity planning and concurrency handling. Data Cloud enables batch and continuous ingestion of structured and semi-structured data so virtually all data consumers can operate on live data, accelerating the data to insight. Take advantage of the data programmability of SQL, Snowpark, and functions to streamline pipeline development without having to manage any additional clusters, services, or copies of your data.

Data Sharing

With Snowflake’s Data Cloud, organisations can securely share data across their business ecosystem, replacing traditional sharing methods and eliminating the need to copy, transform, and move data. Using live, granular data from across your organisation and business ecosystem, enterprises can gain deeper insights that traditional analytics cannot provide. 

Data Science

Snowflake’s Data Cloud helps to collect and process internal and third-party data. It transforms data into actionable business insights with a unified platform that enables cross-functional teams to build scalable data preparation and model inference pipelines.

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Led by the Best

The Snowflake executive team represents centuries of technology, product and business experience to create and advance the only cloud data platform built to enable the data-driven enterprise.

Frank Slootman, chairman and chief executive officer. Slootman has over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and executive in the enterprise software industry.  Benoit Dageville, co-founder and president of products. Dagevolle co-founded Snowflake and currently serves as President of the Product division. Benoit is a leading expert in parallel execution and self-tuning database systems. Thierry Cruanes, co-founder & CTO. Curanes is a leading expert in query optimisation and parallel execution. 

Let’s Talk Numbers

Snowflake made its IPO on September 16, 2020, at $120 per share, which over doubled its value, giving it a market cap of $70.4 billion at the time of its first trading day, closing at $253.93 and raising $3.4 billion, thus becoming the largest software IPO with a double-digit increase on its first day of trading. With low-interest rates driving investors toward equities, Snowflake had made an impressive market debut.

Markets overlooked Snowflake’s losses, which concern its knowledge-sharing software business possibly because the company delivered astronomical revenue growth last year of 173 per cent and 121 per cent within the most recent quarter with a record-breaking net retention rate of 158 per cent – the highest of any public cloud company at the time the company was listed.

Only three US-listed companies with a market capitalisation of $10 billion or more are now more expensive than Snowflake’s 2020 revenue multiple. 

Frank Slootman, the new CEO, clearly knows how to attract investors over the past year, not only did the corporation significantly reduce its net losses, but it also doubled its customers. 7 of the Fortune 10 companies and 146 of the Fortune 500 companies are included in this list.