The object of minimalist MinIO’s massive money round

The vast market penetration of MinIO’s open source object storage software has enabled the company to raise $103 million at a >$1 billion unicorn valuation. The cash will be used for marketing, and not building out a worldwide sales and branch office infrastructure.

The adoption statistics for its software almost defy belief:

  • ARR grew by over 201 per cent in 2021;
  • Customer count grew by over 208 per cent in 2021;
  • Total Docker pulls of 756,000,000, now averaging over 1,000,000 per day;
  • More than 31,000 GitHub stars and more than 16,000 members of the MinIO Slack community;
  • More than 9,000 pull requests from 855 contributors since 2015.

The round was led by Intel Capital with participation from new investor SoftBank Vision Fund 2, and existing investors Dell Capital, General Catalyst, and Nexus Ventures. Today’s financing brings MinIO’s total funding raised to $126 million.

AB Periasamy.

CEO and founder Anand Babu (AB) Periasamy told us Intel CEO CEO Pat Gelsinger himself presented the term sheet. We asked why MInIO raised such a sum. He said “Optics matter. If I raise a smaller amount people don’t take it seriously.

“We could have raised $300 million. One investor wanted to put in $200 million. I could have put $300 million in the bank.” But there would have been a poor return.

Sales is relatively easy now that MinIO has got the land grab. It has become the leading object storage brand in what AB characterises as a winner takes all market. Virtually all sales are inbound and MinIO does not have a single commissioned salesperson. In fact there are fewer than 45 people in the company.

AB wants to accelerate and amplify marketing with things like videos, various types of documentation and training and focussing on things like the Edge Cloud.

A MinIO blog indicates MinIO is “a textbook example of how a small, disciplined, motivated and talented team can achieve amazing results.” It goes on to predict “Object storage is growing while SAN/NAS are shrinking. Kubernetes and the cloud are accelerants. We like the horse we bet on back in 2014. It will win the race.”

It also reveals MinIO is working an analytical features. “We are working on some really interesting new features to help enterprises understand that data (think search for example). We have no interest in re-inventing the wheel when it comes to analytics, we have great partners building great products there (Spark, Trino, Splunk, Clickhouse) but we do see areas of research and development (developing the ability to unlock data using AI functions without requiring ML expertise) that will layer additional value onto our object store.”

Simply put, MinIO wants to be “the AWS S3 for the rest of the world.”