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We Raised a $5M Seed Round With Accel to Become the Open-Source Standard for Data Integration

Michel Tricot
We Raised a $5M Seed Round With Accel to Become the Open-Source Standard for Data Integration

Today, we are announcing a $5.2M seed round—led by Accel—to accompany us on our mission to becoming the open-source standard for data integration and data movement, and to commoditize it, once and for all. 

First of all, let me start by thanking everyone who has been following us since the beginning. We wouldn’t be here without you.

Thank you to the team. Your continuous efforts and amazing ideas have brought us where we are today. I feel so humbled to be surrounded with such smart, motivated and dedicated people. You are the pillars of Airbyte!

Thank you to our amazing community, users and customers for believing in the product in its early stages. Your continuous feedback and expectations are pushing us to build what Airbyte is today and what it will be in the future.

Thank you to our investors and advisors for believing in our vision, supporting us, and the core advice we’ve received from you.

John and I are so proud to work with all of you.

Together, let’s continue to commoditize data integration and data movement!

How Airbyte Got Started

Both John and I have had our fair share of data integrations and of the thousands of paper cuts that come with it.

John started Anaxi a few years ago, and while he was building the product, they had to connect to all the project management and engineering tools in order to power their platform. Let's say he experienced firsthand how important data plumbing is, when you want to build an amazing product.

On my side, I was among the first engineers at Liveramp, and later became Director of Engineering & Head of Integration. Over there, we built thousands of ingestion and distribution connectors, processing hundreds of TB of data daily.

John and I have known each other for quite some time, and as we were both reaching a career checkpoint, we decided to build a company together in the data integration space given our combined experience and common interest in solving this unsolved problem.

It all started on my daughter’s whiteboard (with a rocketship sticker in the corner), while John and I were eating one of the very best pizzas in San Francisco, from Pizzetta 211.

From January to March 2020, we went through YCombinator’s program. Over there, we were in an extreme customer discovery phase. On every single call we would talk to engineering teams and organizations that were spending insane amounts of time trying to solve the same data movement problem over and over again. 

While our initial product conception was narrower in scope, these conversations led us to realize that this problem existed across the entire data ecosystem. We decided to build Airbyte to solve this data plumbing problem once and for all.

We interviewed more existing customers of closed-source and cloud-based solutions, and the conclusion was unmistakable: no existing solutions were solving their needs. Every single one of the companies we talked to had to develop connectors internally, even though they were paying for another product. The reasons were: lack of supported connectors, lack of customizations, no control over data, weak data security story, lack of scale, and a pricing that doesn’t scale with volume.

At that point, the team went heads down into Airbyte as you know it today. No regrets!

Where We Are

Since we soft launched late September 2020, we’ve hit quite a few milestones.

600 companies have replicated data with us in the past 4 months.

We’ve released 50 connectors with support for most of the major data warehouses and databases. Out of these 50 connectors, 10 were contributed by our community.

Our community vanity metrics have skyrocketed as others bought into this same vision: 0 to almost 2k stars on GitHub, 500 users joined our public Slack and 20 community members contributed to Airbyte’s codebase.

We started being mentioned in more and more articles, including Techcrunch, but also in podcasts, such as Data Engineering Podcast. It seems people from the industry are taking note of our approach. 

Finally, two new amazing engineers joined the team, focusing on our DBT integration and our connector release system.

Why We Raised Money Now

Given our current traction, we could have waited a bit more before raising capital, but here is what we were thinking. 

When you look at data infrastructure, the technology downstream of the data warehouse has matured significantly in the past few years. But everything upstream from the warehouse is yet to be built: data integration, data quality with privacy compliance, data lineage, data cataloging and discovery, etc. DBT is doing a phenomenal job at data transformation and has now become the standard for it, but all the others still need their own standard.

And if we want to become the standard for data integration—more specifically, EL (Extract and Load)—we need to earn the trust of the community. Building a community is hard; becoming a standard in the eyes of a community is harder. To do that, we need to start growing the team now, and not wait 6 months or a year to do it. 

Anything we can do to increase our odds at this, we should do. And raising that seed now is typically about increasing those odds. 

John and I are very focused people. When we decided to raise this seed, we concentrated all our calls over 7 days (thank you Zoom). We were fortunate enough to meet with 45 VC firms for a total of 76 calls (a strategy we will share more about in another article). But when we spoke to #42, Amit Kumar of Accel, it just clicked: he pushed our thinking the furthest. He also understood the importance of establishing Airbyte as the standard, and our focus on the community.

Along with Accel and Amit, we are also honored to bring additional institutional and individual investors with deep and relevant domain expertise into the the round: YCombinator; 8VC; Calvin French-Owen, co-founder of Segment; Charles Zedlewski, former general manager at Cloudera; Auren Hoffman, co-founder and former CEO of LiveRamp and CEO of Safegraph; Travis May, co-founder and CEO at Datavant; and Alain Rossmann, president at Machinify.

Having them join us on this journey is a great validation of our vision, and will provide tremendous value with recruiting, strategic advice, customer intros and partnerships.

Where We’re Going

We are going to pursue our efforts to establish Airbyte as the open-source standard for data movement.

In order to achieve that, we will be growing the team. Our goal is to double the team by the end of the year, mostly with engineers (if you’re interested, just go here).

We will continue to improve developer experience in order to make the onboarding of new contributors and new users flawless. We will release CDC, K8s support, deeper integrations in the modern data stack, and even more connectors. We want to be at 300 battle-tested connectors by the end of the year. Airbyte should be the best EL tool to use for any team, whatever their stack and context. It should be a delight to use for data engineers, analysts and scientists alike. 

We will also double down our efforts to support and grow our community. We won’t be focusing on monetization features. Our goal is about becoming the new way companies set up connectors internally. And with the help of our new funds, our community, and, of course, our amazing team, we’re getting ever closer to achieving it! 

Together, let’s continue to commoditize data integration and data movement!

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