Hammerspace outlines IPO plans

David Flynn, Hammerspace
David Flynn, Hammerspace

Cloud storage firm Hammerspace says it may well launch an initial public offering (IPO) in the “next 18 to 24 months” as it becomes “cashflow positive” this year, a prerequisite for any IPO.

Hammerspace delivers a global data environment which spans across data centres, and the AWS, Azure, and Google public clouds, providing unified file access to end users.

The technology is sold to both enterprises and service providers, with a broad 50/50 split in sales.

It was founded in 2018 by CEO David Flynn, and completed a Series A funding round in July 2023, raising a total of $56.7 million. Flynn co-founded flash hardware pioneer Fusion-io, which was eventually acquired by SanDisk in June 2014 before SanDisk was taken over by Western Digital in 2016.

David Flynn, Hammerspace
David Flynn

During this week’s IT Press Tour of Silicon Valley, Hammerspace made new technology announcements and claimed strong sales growth. On the back of this, Blocks & Files asked Flynn about the potential of an IPO down the line.

He said: “We are making percentage margins in the mid-90s, and Hammerspace is a different business to Fusion-io, which was a hardware business, and hardware businesses cannot be scaled up as quick as software companies.

“We’re not a typical startup waiting to be acquired. We’ve done all the work ourselves and are building something important, and public ownership is important too.”

He added: “I had a phenomenal win with Fusion-io, which made me do some soul-searching, but I went back to technology, instead of lying on an island, or even buying one. This is not a vanity project, it is important to me.”

Before Fusion-io was acquired, it had its own successful IPO. On his time running a public company previously, Flynn said: “We only missed one quarter when I was leading it, and that was because Meta never opened a new datacenter that was planned, and which was going to use our hardware. We did fill that hole, but running a public company does leave some scars.”

That said, Flynn said Hammerspace’s high-margin software was pointing to a smoother future, whatever happens on the ownership front. He said since the firm had recently launched its hyperscale NAS (network attached storage) offering, the overall sales pipeline had mushroomed by a factor of ten, without having to hire any extra salespeople.

“We are building a very financially disciplined company, but we are reaching a point where we have to grow a lot faster to get in front of the opportunities being created by AI,” said Flynn. “It’s a tough market for an IPO right now, with budgets going down in some areas, and Nvidia sucking the air from everybody else at the moment.

“But, for the first half of this year, we have already generated sales that are ten times higher than what we made for the whole of last year. So, in 18 to 24 months, we could go for an IPO.”

This week, Hammerspace continued to add to its technology portfolio by launching advanced GPU data orchestration capabilities to accelerate access to S3 data. S3 applications can now connect to Hammerspace’s Global Data Platform, enabling object data to be automatically orchestrated to GPU resources, along with existing file data.

This expansion enhances accessibility to existing data sets in object storage and optimizes the pipeline across any storage type, “allowing infrastructure teams to focus on deriving insights and driving innovation.”

Molly Presley, SVP of global marketing at Hammerspace, said: “Accessing available GPUs in an organization’s own datacenters or in the cloud is a challenge. Even more difficult can be identifying useful data sets and placing that data local to the available compute resources.

“HPC centers and enterprise infrastructure architects are urgently looking for solutions to organize large data sets and mobilize them to where the GPUs are located. With the addition of the S3 interface, they can now quickly do it.”

Earlier this year, Meta confirmed Hammerspace is its data orchestration software supplier, supporting 49,152 Nvidia H100 GPUs split into two equal clusters.