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Premji family office invests in Silicon Valley start-up

By Michael Finnigan

The family office of Indian entrepreneur Azim Premji, who founded IT firm Wipro, has participated in a $106 million pre-IPO placement in Silicon Valley-based start up DataStax, which helps companies manage large volumes of data.

According to a statement, PremjiInvest, which manages a $1.6 billion (€1.23 billion) portfolio, will provide a large but undisclosed sum towards the project, led by venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers.  

DataStax's technology helps firms manage large volumes of data and is based upon software developed by social network Facebook. To date the firm has raised $190 million.  

Founded in 2010, DataStax was recently valued at $830 million and has customers including Netflix, eBay and Rackspace.

PremjiInvest was founded in 2006 and has built up a portfolio of around 60 publicly-listed and private companies.

“Demand for DataStax is strong and companies are realising that in today's world you either make data the centre of your business or fall far behind your competitors who do so,” said Billy Bosworth, CEO of DataStax.

Premji, 69, has an estimated net worth of $15.3 billion and has twice been listed among the 100 most influential people by Time Magazine.

Last month, Premji made his largest investment to date when he spent $150 million for a 10% stake in Manipal Global Education Services.

PremjiInvest, headquartered in Karnataka, India, was founded in 2006 and typically invests in technology firms. The bulk of its investments have been in the United States and China. 

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