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Koch Venture Arm Leads $125 Million Investment in Cloud Startup

  • Funding round is said to value Mesosphere at $725 million
  • Koch companies plan to use Mesosphere tech to manage data

The venture capital arm of Koch Industries Inc. led a $125 million investment alongside T. Rowe Price Group Inc. in Mesosphere Inc., a cloud computing startup.

The deal values the San Francisco-based startup at $725 million, said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the terms are private. It brings the company’s total funding to $251 million.

Koch Industries, a manufacturing conglomerate owned by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch, started a venture program in October to find young businesses that could help its subsidiaries become more efficient through technology and data, said Jason Illian, a managing partner at the fund, called Koch Disruptive Technologies. “I think of Mesosphere as a connective tissue that allows all of our companies’ disparate bits of data to come together in one place,” he said.

Software made by Mesosphere could be used at Koch Industries’ oil refining companies to prevent leaks by storing and processing data collected from hundreds of thousands of sensors within an oil pipeline, said Florian Leibert, Mesosphere’s chief executive officer.

Mesosphere will use the funding to develop new projects with Koch Industries, as well as to double its 20-person workforce in China and build an office in the Middle East, Leibert said. Other backers in the startup include Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, Microsoft Corp. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.

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