ANU-backed Instaclustr goes global with US acquisition

8 April 2022

This is exactly the kind of innovation ANU is set up to deliver for Australia and the world

A Canberra-based company incubated at The Australian National University (ANU) is set to be acquired by one of the world's largest software companies, NetApp.

Instaclustr provides cloud-based Internet solutions for companies to store and use large volumes of data to power their apps and products. This includes online streaming services, app stores, social media and ride-sharing companies.

The company, led by CEO and co-founder Peter Lilley, was created in a shared innovation space on the ANU campus in 2013 and now employs more than 300 people. One of Canberra's largest tech firms, Instaclustr counts Fortune 500 companies among its customers. Two of the co-founders are ANU graduates.

Announcing the acquisition overnight, NetApp said Instaclustr was the "leading industry platform" for open-source data management and workflow.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said NetApp's acquisition of Instaclustr "transforms a local company into a global giant".

"Today's news is massive for ANU, it's massive for Canberra, it's massive for Australia and it's massive for every university across our nation. Most of all, it is massive for Instaclustr," Professor Schmidt said.

"The acquisition of Instaclustr, which started out with some clever ideas in a co-working space on the ANU campus, by one of the world's leading software companies demonstrates how our universities are creating the jobs, products and industries of tomorrow today.

"Instaclustr provides secure and cost-effective cloud solutions for some of the world's biggest companies using massive amounts of data across their cloud-based solutions.

"The company's cloud-based, open source offerings help power solutions millions of people use every single day and Instaclustr's solutions are called upon the world over. It's fantastic to see the company truly going global.

"This is exactly the kind of innovation ANU is set up to deliver for Australia and the world and something we deliver day in, day out."

Instaclustr CEO Mr Lilley said: "Data management technology platforms are an increasingly essential priority for today's modern enterprise as companies look for new ways to accelerate application development for competitive advantage.

"Instaclustr delivers fully managed open-source solutions that give companies increased productivity and reduced cost.

"Instaclustr's growth has been driven by the fact that companies want to leverage open-source databases, pipelines, and workflow applications without overwhelming themselves with the complexity and cost of managing and operating them."

Instaclustr is a portfolio company of ANU Connect Ventures - a seed investment fund jointly owned by ANU and Spirit Super. ANU Connect Ventures led the seed round of funding for Instaclustr in 2014, committing more than $8.5 million into the company since then.

"ANU was one of the first universities in the world to establish a venture capital fund focused on commercialising our discoveries and inventions," Professor Schmidt said.

"ANU Connect Ventures backed Instaclustr from day one and led the first few investment rounds in Instaclustr. Our willingness to invest first allowed other investors to back our judgement and invest alongside us.

"The returns to the University from this investment will now seed our new activities for years to come."

Nick McNaughton, CEO of ANU Connect Ventures said: "We are delighted to share the news of the acquisition of Instaclustr by NetApp.

"Our mission is to back unique ideas, providing their early capital, as they strive for global success. We have been on this journey with Pete and the team since 2014.

"Today is a result of the hard work of countless people in the company, on the board, from investors and from partners. We congratulate everyone on this success".

Learn more about Instaclustr