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June 2, 2020

PrestoDB Hits Fork in the Road as Startup Gains Venture Funding

George Leopold

The Linux Foundation’s branch of the ecosystem for the PrestoDB SQL query engine is expanding with new member Ahana, which this week announced a seed funding round along with membership in the Presto Foundation.

That effort should not be confused with a separate fork of the PrestoDB development effort spearheaded by the Presto Software Foundation, or PrestoSQL, which observers note is causing confusion within the developer community.

Meanwhile, early backers of the follow-on to Apache Hive continue to fund development efforts under the Linux Foundation umbrella. Ahana, a Presto-based analytics startup, said Tuesday (June 2) it raised $2.25 million in a seed funding round led by the Google venture arm, GV.

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) released Presto to the open source community in 2013. Last year, the social media giant donated the Presto project to the Linux Foundation along with founding members Alibaba (NYSE: BABA), Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) and Uber (NYSE: UBER). The Presto Foundation was launch in September 2019.

That momentum reflects Presto’s emergence as a popular distributed SQL query engine for big data, attracting multiple sponsors. Along with the Linux Foundation branch,  the separate Presto Software Foundation lists itself as an “independent, non-profit group” promoting PrestoDB.

For now, Ahana bills itself as the first commercial company focused on PrestoDB. The startup said its initial focus will be on making PrestoDB easier to use as well as fostering growth on the GitHub repository.

Co-founded earlier this year by Steven Mih and Dipti Borkar, Ahana is based in San Mateo, Calif. Mih and Borkar both previously worked at Alluxio and Couchbase.

Backers of the Linux Foundation camp say the original developers of PrestoDB are investing heavily to expand the community coalescing around their version of the query engine. “There is a pronounced movement away from expensive, highly-structured data warehouses to ‘data lakes’ of raw data,” said Dave Munichiello, a general partner with lead investor GV.

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