Varada, a Tel Aviv startup that offers “petabyte-scale” analytics for enterprise customers with data lakes, today announced that it has raised $7.5 million in seed financing from Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation by StageOne Ventures and F2 Capital. It’s the second phase of a two-stage round, the first part of which involved a $2.5 million investment in March 2017 from StageOne Ventures and F2 Capital.

Eran Vanounou, CEO of Varada, said the fresh capital will be used to expand Varada’s business operations and development.

“We know firsthand the daily struggle felt by many data practitioners who are continuously having demands placed on them, often resulting in the compromising of the quality of their work,” Vanounou said. “I have led large data-driven global organizations for the past 15 years. When I met Varada’s founding team and saw their technology, I realized immediately its value for enterprises — it solves the pain points that many CTOs and CIOs across the industry are experiencing. I also knew that I wanted to help them bring this technology to market.”

Data lakes — centralized repositories that allow the import of any amount of structured and unstructured data in real time, from multiple sources — are a hot commodity in big data. According to a report by Mordor Intelligence, the on-premises and cloud market across retail, entertainment, media, health care, manufacturing, telecommunications, and IT was valued at $3.24 billion in 2017, and is expected to hit $14.01 billion by 2023.

But as useful — and popular — as they might be, data lakes have a problem: They’re tough to tap effectively without a substantial amount of legwork. That’s where Varada comes in.

The startup’s bread and butter is a cloud-based, on-demand SQL analytics service that enables users to define datasets of interests within a data lake, and to analyze those datasets using SQL or business intelligence tools without having to worry about preprocessing or modeling. Varada, which uses an open-source Presto SQL query engine frontend and database connectivity via JDBC and ODBC, supports automated deployment in Amazon Web Services and most other secure virtual private cloud environments; it runs on a scalable, distributed architecture managed from a unified dashboard.

Varada is currently in beta, and is accepting applications from enterprises with “cloud use cases.” Testers get unlimited access to the Varada platform and all of its features, plus a say in future features, roadmap announcements, and limited customization.

“Varada has compiled a stellar team of data storage experts who can tap into their vast knowledge and experience to alleviate one of the biggest pain points for data practitioners today,” David Gussarsky, venture partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, said. “We invested in Varada because we truly believe in the team and think they are creating a new standard for big data infrastructure. We’re excited to help them develop and expand their capabilities.”

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