Cloudera finally ready for the public stage

When I first met Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly in 2015 at the Intel Capital Summit, we were about to go on stage for a fireside chat to discuss among other things Intel’s massive investment in his company.

While on stage, the conversation inevitably turned to when the company might go public. As you might expect, he gave me the standard startup CEO answer. While Cloudera was certainly of sufficient size to IPO, they had just raised over a billion dollars and had plenty of cash. He was willing to wait until, in his words, “when we feel it’s the right time.”

Apparently it was yesterday when the company filed its S-1 paperwork with the SEC indicating its plans to go public. The announcement had been rumored for some time, and made sense, especially given the number of enterprise tech companies that have gone public  (or announced their intentions to do so) recently.

As we’ve seen, in the first quarter of this year, enterprise tech IPOs are suddenly a hot commodity with Alteryx and MuleSoft already having gone out, and Cloudera joining Yext and Okta as the next ones up in the queue.

In spite of the name, Cloudera isn’t really a cloud company, at least in the pure sense. It’s a commercial product built on top of the open source Hadoop project, the one with the cute elephant for a mascot. In spite of the cuteness, Hadoop is very serious technology used to process massive amounts of data, which should come in increasingly handy in a world with increasing amounts data to deal with — often referred to in industry parlance as “big data”.

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