By Heather Somerville
SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Maana, a startup selling big-data software to large companies such as Chevron Corp and General Electric Co, is in the midst of raising a new round of funding, the company's chief executive officer said.
Palo Alto, California-based Maana expects to close the round in the first quarter of next year, said co-founder and CEO Babur Ozden.
The company and investors have discussed a round of $30 million to $40 million, which would be at least triple the previous round, although the final amount may be different.
Maana is considered by many technology investors to be one of the most promising companies in the field of big data, expected to be an extremely lucrative market as large businesses increasingly rely on analyzing information to run their operations.
The company is talking to existing investors, which include Intel Capital, Chevron Technology Ventures and ConocoPhillips Technology Ventures, about participating in the round.
The round will also include new investors Maana did not name, including one of the world's largest oil and gas companies.
One of Maana's current investors, which declined to be identified, confirmed it intends to join the round. Other current investors declined to comment on the record.
Ozden said new investors in the funding round would likely also become customers.
Maana, founded in 2013, raised $11 million in May in a Series A financing round, referring to a first significant round of venture capital.
Maana offers a powerful search engine that allows companies to scan large swaths of data stored in different databases and quickly provide answers to operational, financial and other issues.
An oil company, for instance, might use Maana to discover when a drill needs repairs, rather than relying on machine sensors that tend to be faulty, Ozden said.
Maana has fewer than 10 paying customers, and about one-third of them are in the oil and gas industry. It is targeting a range of large companies in the finance, manufacturing, technology and healthcare sectors.
According to industry analysts, Maana has lured at least one customer away from Palantir Technologies, a big-data and security company valued at $20 billion and considered one of Maana's competitors.
After about a year of offering its software for free, Maana began making revenue this year. It has 36 employees, and Ozden said he will use the new funding to hire more engineers as well as a sales team.
(Editing by Stephen R. Trousdale and Jeffrey Benkoe)