SignalFuse, a San Mateo, Calif.-based stealth-mode startup helmed by former Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and VMware (NYSE: VMW) executives, has landed $8.24 million in seed funding from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, according to an SEC regulatory filing.
In the Form D filing, SignalFuse lists six investors in total but does not name them. The company, which lists Ben Horowitz as a director, confirmed the funding on its stealth-mode style website (as in ‘move along, there’s nothing here to see, folks’) with this entry: “We are a stealth-mode company led by former Facebook and VMware executives that has raised $8M in venture financing from Andreessen Horowitz. We are hiring world-class engineers who want to work on hard problems with smart peers and build software that will be used by millions of people.”
What, exactly, does SignalFuse intend to build? According to a report in GigaOM, the company is working on technology that “takes time-series data from multiple systems, analyses it fast and puts it into trend lines.” So, it’s Big Data-related, perhaps technology to make better sense of unstructured data? GigaOM quoted a source saying the closest comparison may be to how a stock ticker tracks data—monitoring transactions and activity to chronicle per-share prices and changes to chart movement in real time, ultimately yielding data that lends itself to deeper analysis over a period of time.
Other than the venture financing and what it’s working on, the other aspect of SignalFuse that is drawing attention is its executive lineup, namely chief executive (CEO) Karthik Rau and chief technology officer (CTO) Phillip Liu. Rau left VMware in 2009 after a six-year stint, and is credited with helping the virtualization giant grow from a small hypervisor maker to a $4 billion virtualization platform provider, fashioning infrastructure solutions such as vCenter, vMotion and vSphere.
Liu and Rau collaborated at LoudCloud, a data center automation startup launched in 1999 and backed by Andressen-provided funding that three years later changed its name to Opsware and, subsequently, was bought by Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) in 2007 for some $1.6 billion. During his seven years at Opsware, Liu was chief server automation software architect and after the acquisition stayed on for a year at HP, ultimately being named a distinguished technologist for HP Software. Until last December, Liu served four and a half years at Facebook as a software architect, credited with helping to craft Facebook’s Amazon EC2 equivalent for the company’s data centers and develop its IaaS platform.