Big Money for Big Data

Big Data is the data too large, complex, and fast-moving for conventional information infrastructure to handle. There’s been a lot of buzz about investment in cutting edge Big Data solutions and start ups, and for good reason. Venture capital for Big Data is sizable and growing. In 2010, Big Data start ups already received $1.53 billion in funding but in 2011 that amount jumped to $2.47 billion. And though investment declined overall last quarter, venture capital for IT remained steady.

An example of the funding currently flowing into Big Data is the Data Collective, a fund recently covered in the New York Times Bits blog that specializes in disruptive and innovative solutions for leveraging overwhelming amounts of data from diverse sources in novel ways. The fund is currently small, with the first round raising about $6 million, but it already includes 35 equity partners with experience in the field. Investors in the initial fund included industry leaders such as Todd Papaioannou, the former chief cloud architect at Yahoo, and Abdur Chowdhury, the former chief scientist at Twitter. Inside sources also claim that a second fund of roughly $50 million is currently being raised.

The federal government is also getting in on the action through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the CIA’s venture capital firm In-Q-Tel, and others. Some of the cutting edge firms funded by In-Q-Tel include Big Data leaders such as Cloudera, whose distribution is the most popular way to use the distributed computing framework Hadoop, and Recorded Future, which harnesses the predictive power of the Web by analyzing and indexing 150,000 online sources.

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