Hammerspace bags $56.7m in first funding round

Hammerspace, a company that specializes in data orchestration, has recently secured its first external funding round, aiming to boost sales and marketing efforts for its data orchestration product.

Founded in 2018 by CEO David Flynn, Hammerspace developed data orchestration software based on a parallel NFS global filesystem. This software manages and locates unstructured data elements across geographically dispersed data centers and users in a global namespace.

Previously, the company received funding from Flynn, various high net worth individuals, and long-term investing sources instead of venture capitalists.

However, with its latest funding round, Hammerspace raised $56.7 million, effectively being an A-round. Prosperity7 Ventures led this funding round, joined by other notable investors such as Pier 88 Ventures, Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest, and others.

Flynn explained the significance of unstructured data in the current data cycle: “The last data cycle focused on structured data rooted in business intelligence, but this data cycle, driven by compute, orchestration and applications, leverages unstructured data to drive product innovation and business opportunity with AI, machine learning and analytics. Hammerspace’s new funding will enable the company to help more customers unlock the value in unstructured data, create new revenue streams and drive operational efficiency.” 

To utilize the new funds effectively, Hammerspace plans to expand its sales and marketing business infrastructure. As part of this initiative, they have recently hired a partner marketing executive, Betsy Doughty. The company points out the rapidly growing use of unstructured data for analytics, with data lakes and lakehouses complementing data warehouses. Additionally, AI data processing, especially with large language models for generative AI, further drives this trend, necessitating the breakdown of data silos.

Randy Kerns, a Senior Strategist at the Futurum Group, said: “With the technologies of today and requirements for data, the urgent need in the latest data cycle is the orchestration of a data pipeline of unstructured data to analytics for AI and machine learning applications, enabling speed and agility for enterprises.” 

AI’s demand for high-performance file systems is also driving Hammerspace’s growth. The company already counts a major AI developer among its customers, and Flynn highlighted a system with 600 storage nodes boasting over 30 terabits per second bandwidth. With HPC-style computing becoming more prevalent in enterprises to run AI jobs, users no longer need to adopt HPC-style parallel file systems like Lustre or Storage Scale; standard NFS is now parallel and up to the task.

Contrary to common belief, object stores are not required to provide the scale that file systems lack. Hammerspace’s file-based software is being used by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket company across multiple facilities in the US and the cloud, indicating its flexibility and efficiency in managing data.

Hammerspace believes that data should no longer be static or limited in visibility across an enterprise. Instead, it should be orchestrated to be fluid, easily accessible with proper controls, and visible throughout the organization. Like financial assets, data assets should be known, managed, activated, synchronized, and moved wherever needed to enhance business effectiveness. Hammerspace’s software effectively enables access and utilization of unstructured data for various applications, including generative AI models.

Hammerspace top-level architecture.

Jonathan Tower, managing director at Prosperity7 Ventures, praised Hammerspace’s breakthrough technology for providing efficient access to unstructured data, aligning with the original vision of the cloud to offer unified and seamless data access regardless of location, without silos or latency issues.

Notably, Hammerspace has not favored venture capital investment due to potential misalignments with the founding team’s interests in building a viable and profitable long-term business. Instead, the company has sought investors who share their long-term vision and do not intend to sell shares post-IPO. Both Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest and Prosperity7 Ventures are among such investors, and are planning to hold their Hammerspace shares for the long term without any plans to sell after a potential IPO, which may happen in a couple of years.