Sometimes the brightest software companies are born out of necessity. That’s the case with StarTree, whose founders built the company’s core technology while working as engineers at LinkedIn. GGV is excited to invest in the company’s $24 million Series A round.
StarTree provides a commercial cloud analytics-as-a-service platform built around the open source Apache Pinot framework, which is uniquely designed to serve up fresh analytics at scale with low latency for thousands or millions of users. StarTree co-founders Kishore Gopalakrishna and Xiang Fu were working as software engineers at LinkedIn when they hit upon a unique problem they couldn’t solve with existing database platforms. LinkedIn was building its popular “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” dashboard, and Kishore and Xiang found that OLTP databases, while fast, could not handle the complex real-time queries required to run this feature. Meanwhile, OLAP databases could handle real-time queries, but could not operate at high-enough concurrency and low-enough latency. To solve this problem, Kishore and his team built a new distributed OLAP system that could handle unprecedented volumes at enhanced speed and low latency. They later open-sourced the technology as Apache Pinot. After seeing Pinot adopted widely by engineers building critical apps at over 35 companies such as Stripe, Uber, Target, Walmart, and WePay, Kishore and Xiang founded StarTree in 2019 to build a commercial version of the technology.
The entire GGV team was impressed with StarTree’s two founders and core team who have more than 40 years of combined experience in building and operating large scale distributed systems used by billions of users in companies such as LinkedIn, Yahoo, Uber, and Oracle. As engineers themselves, Kishore and Xiang understand the developer mindset inside and out. They know that fostering early developer adoption and evangelism is what leads to exponential product-led growth. And being developers within large enterprises, they also understand what it takes to win over enterprise customers. We’re not alone in seeing StarTree’s promise to become the leading real-time analytics platform. We’re investing alongside two great partners, Bain Capital Ventures and existing investor CRV in this round, and StarTree previously raised $4 million in seed funding from a who’s-who of technology leaders, including Neha Narkhede, co-founder of Confluent; Raghu Hiremagalur, CTO of LinkedIn; Jason Warner, CTO of GitHub; Jason Forget, CRO of Redis Labs; Gokul Rajaram, DoorDash executive and Coinbase board member; Igor Perisic, Chief Data Officer at LinkedIn; and Chet Kapoor, CEO at DataStax.
GGV is committed to backing the next billion-dollar open source companies and we’re convinced StarTree has a bright future after witnessing the rapid bottoms-up adoption of Apache Pinot among the developer community. The strength of an open source company lives and dies by the strength of its developer community, and StarTree’s user community is fervent, loyal, and evangelical. And StarTree already has a robust enterprise product and sales pipeline into large companies. Their commercial product is built on the same real-time distributed OLAP data store as Apache Pinot and can ingest from batch data sources (Hadoop HDFS, Amazon S3, Azure ADLS, Google Cloud Storage) as well as stream data sources (Apache Kafka). The software-as-a-service product is designed for analysts, data scientists, and developers building enterprise applications and business intelligence systems.
We’re thrilled to welcome StarTree to the GGV family and can’t wait to accompany Kishore and Xiang on their journey to build the next billion-dollar open source company.