Business

Hortonworks: Woo! We're breakeven – just don't focus on the $46m operating losses

CEO stresses biz is more than just a Hadoop-flinger now

By Rebecca Hill

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Data biz Hortonworks shaved $50m off its operating losses in 2017, describing the year as "pivotal", as it continues efforts to rebrand itself as more than just Hadoop.

In the quarter ended December 31, and four years since going public, Hortonworks pulled in revenue of $75m and had operating losses of $45.8m – but for the first time broke even on cash flow.

The biz has been criticised for burning through cash and urged to get its spending under control – so the positive operating cashflow figure of $6.4m will be a relief to bosses.

But it still splurged some $29.8m operating cash in 2017 – down from $82.4m in 2016 – and had full-year operating losses of $198.8m, down from $251.2m.

Revenues continued to rise, reaching $75m in Q4 2017, and $261.8m for the full year – respective increases of 44 per cent and 42 per cent year-on-year. The biz also announced a boost in $1m-plus deals – 20 in Q4 2017, up from 9 in Q4 2016.

It is also claiming success in its progress towards its target of reaching 80 per cent of revenues coming from subscriptions. In Q4 the figure was 77 per cent, which represented $57.8m.

Behind the figures, though, the company is at pains to emphasise it isn't just about Hadoop anymore. CEO Rob Bearden said on the earnings call that the biz had evolved to a "global data management platform company".

The push is driven by an increase in established players like Microsoft offering more Hadoop-like services, and companies considering do-it-yourself options given it's an open-source tech. As Gartner analyst Merv Adrian put it:

However, in response to a question about the threat of mega-scale cloud vendors undercutting Hortonworks, CTO Scott Gnau said it was "an opportunity".

He said these vendors "creates more data and enables more experimentation and learning", adding that there was value in hybrid solutions. "It's not just about all cloud or one cloud," he said. ®

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