JAX London 2014: A retrospective
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Concurrent seal $4m investment for big data application Cascading framework

ChrisMayer
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The data application framework, which builds on Hadoop, gets backing for enterprise version

Concurrent, the corporate face behind the development of the Cascading framework, have sealed $4m in their first round of VC funding.

Founded by Cascading’s author Chris Wensel in 2008, the firm were in the first wave of startups setup to deal with the complexity of developing big data applications. Whilst the rest of the pack (mostly) focused on augmenting Hadoop services, Concurrent chose to continue development on Cascading, an application framework that sits on top of the data muncher.

The Java API is designed to allow rapid development of rich analytics applications and complex data flows. It provides support for any JVM language, with Scala support bolstered by Twitter’s open-source library Scalding.

Although the framework has found its way into the production environments of Twitter, Etsy and Ebay, The Register reports that Concurrent’s consulting business is struggling.

“By not having the capital and talent to boost our vision, we risk losing all we have done and will never reach the places we can see,” Wensel told The Register. “Since I care about following through with my word to my early adopters that I would see Cascading through and not abandon it, I need to build a sustainable business around Cascading.”

In some respects, Concurrent were ahead of the curve. Receiving acclaim with some of the larger companies for their forward-thinking framework was a good start, but this failed to trickle down without an enterprise version ready to use.

New CEO Gary Nakamura (appointed in parallel with the funding announcement) believes he’s joined “at a pivotal time” and that the new investment will enable Concurrent to grow.

“Our investors’ confidence in Concurrent validates our strategy and the pioneering work we have done since the launch of Cascading in 2008. This new investment will enable us to build on this foundation,” explains the former Terracotta vice president.

Nakamura’s appointment allows Casading’s creator to take the role of CTO. Concurrent say they’ll use the funds to expand their core team ahead the scheduled enterprise beta version of Cascading – something which is desperately needed to gain attention.

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