(Bloomberg) -- Zededa, a startup that makes enterprise computing tools, said it has raised $72 million, underscoring investor eagerness to back businesses enabling the smooth operation of artificial intelligence.
The funding round values the company at about $400 million, according to a person familiar with the matter, double its $193 million value at the time of its last round in 2022.
That jump contrasts with an investing environment where startup funding has slowed to levels not seen in five years.
Zededa specializes in edge computing – the group of networks and devices that process data as close as possible to the user, as opposed to in a data center far away. The computing demands of AI make this a different, vastly more data-intensive challenge, the San Jose, California-based company said.
“The one thing AI needs is data,” said Claudio Fayad, vice president for technology at Emerson Automation Solutions, which is rolling out Zededa to some customers as part of its products. He says the data gives more efficient results when crunched locally for tasks like predictive maintenance.
Examples of use cases for Zededa’s tools include managing panels in solar fields or making decisions on an oil rig. The trick to operating modern edge computing smoothly is called orchestration, meaning making sure remote devices have the processing capabilities to work together. That’s the area Zededa is trying to streamline.
Previously, Fayad said, customers relied on analytics software for most tasks, but increasingly AI is becoming the preferred tool. “It can adapt over time, and detect more nuanced situations,” he said. “AI can give you a far richer analysis and recommendation.”
Smith Point Capital, a venture firm founded by former Salesforce co-CEO Keith Block, led the funding round. Returning investors include Lux Capital, Chevron Technology Ventures, and Porsche Ventures.
Said Ouissal, a veteran of telecommunications operator Ericsson and networking business Juniper Networks Inc., founded Zededa in 2016.