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Venture firm Accel Partners has carved out a $100 million “big data” fund to invest in companies focused on building new IT infrastructure or on applications than run on that new infrastructure.

Accel, based in Palo Alto, Calif., at the heart of Silicon Valley’s venture capital community, has invested in companies like Facebook, Dropbox, Cloudera and Etsy.

As such, the firm has seen how companies like Facebook have been forced to exploit new technologies to store and analyze their huge amounts of data more efficiently. In Facebook’s case, it has used open source project Hadoop to help it process the billions of messages it receives each day. NoSQL database technology is another way companies have become more efficient in storing data.

All big Web companies, including Google, Yahoo and Twitter, and increasingly large enterprise companies, are building applications on these platforms.


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Ping Li, the partner at Accel (pictured right) who has led the firm’s investments in in companies such as Cloudera — which commercialized the Hadoop technology — said the new fund will be invested in two types of companies: (1) companies building out the new infrastructure, including in storage, security and management; and (2) companies building applications on top of that infrastructure (spanning, for example, business intelligence, collaboration, mobile and vertical apps).

He said these companies will span just about every sector, from enterprise to gaming — all of which will require new kinds of data-intensive platforms, he said. Investments will be made globally, he added.

Over the last 30 years, legacy data platforms, including relational databases, drove the emergence of significant companies like Oracle, SAP and Symantec, Li said. Likewise, big data will usher in a new era of multi-billion software companies, Li says.

The firm has carved out the $100 million from its existing funds, so this does not represent a fresh dollop of cash, Li said.

Accel also plans to host a “big data” conference in Spring, 2012, to drive discussion on technology trends in the sector, Li said.

CloudBeat 2011Coincidentally, these “big data” technology companies will be a focus at our CloudBeat 2011 conference, which takes place November 30 – December 1 at Hotel Sofitel in Redwood City, CA. We’ll be focusing on 12 of the most disruptive instances of enterprise adoption of the cloud. Join over 500 executives for two days packed with actionable lessons and networking opportunities as we define the key processes and architectures that companies must put in place in order to survive and prosper. Register here. Tickets are limited!

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