By Dan Primack
March 5, 2012

Big money for energy exploration in the cloud.

Drilling Info, a big data company focused on the oil and gas exploration industry, today will announce that it has raised $165 million in new financing. Part of the proceeds will be used to buy out existing shareholders, while deal lead Insight Venture Partners will hold a majority ownership position.

Joining Insight on the deal were Battery Ventures and Eastern Advisors Private Fund. Vaquero Capital managed the process.

Drilling Info was founded back in 2000, and originally funded by some oil and gas industry executives. The primary purpose was to better meet global demand for industry intelligence and bench-marking information, and today the Austin, Texas-based company is profitable with tens of millions in annual revenue.

“If you go back 10 years, oil and gas companies would hire consultants to go to repositories of information at the state level, and manually collect data, put it into a spreadsheet and analyze it,” says Deven Parekh, a managing director with Insight. “What we’re really doing now is making that data available through regular workflows on a daily basis. It allows customers to better understand the future value of properties they own, future acquisition opportunities and for international companies to know what’s happening in the domestic market.”

Insight is best-known for Internet deal like Tumblr and Twitter, but Parekh said that Drilling Info fits well into its cloud strategy. Specifically, he says that there are a slew of vertical opportunities in the data analytics space, including fellow Insight portfolio company eVestment Alliance (focused on financial services).

“In three or four years, the technology itself may become fairly standard, but the key will be in having the deep vertical knowledge,” Parekh says. “In oil and gas, we think that Drilling Info is that company.”

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