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August 29, 2022

StarTree Uncorks $47 Million for Pinot

StarTree, the commercial entity behind the distributed storage and analytics engine called Apache Pinot, has completed a Series B round of venture capital funding worth $47 million, the company announced today.

Apache Pinot was originally created at LinkedIn in early 2013 to help make sense of the massive flood of real-time data that the social media website was generating. The software, which its creators describe as a distributed OLAP system, works in conjunction with message busses like Apache Kafka (also developed at LinkedIn) to execute low latency SQL queries on fast-moving data at high volumes (up to 200,000 queries per second).

After open sourcing the Pinot code 2015, two of the creators of Pinot, Kishore Gopalakrishna and Xiang Fu, co-founded StarTree in 2018 to bring the product to market as a service. The company came out of stealth in 2021, and launched its second offering, a bring-your-own-cloud Pinot service, earlier this year.

As the flood of data continues to build through systems like Kafka, Apache Pulsar, and Amazon Kinesis, the window of opportunity that organizations have to act on the data is shrinking. With financial backing from one of Kafka’s creators and the hiring of a top manager from Confluent, StarTree sees a potential to ride atop this real-time wave paved by Kafka.

“Apache Pinot is what comes after Apache Kafka,” Rohit Agarwalla, StarTree’s head of product, told Datanami in an interview. “As you’re generating all of this real-time data, you need a system that can also serve analytics on this real-time data, actually in real-time.”

Over the past year, Pinot downloads have grown nearly 20X, from about 50,000 in 2020 to 1 million in 2021. The Pinot open source Slack community also grew 30X, from 100 members in 2020 to nearly 3,000 members today, StarTree tells us.

The $47 million Series B round announced today was led by GGV Capital, with investments from new investor Sapphire Ventures and existing investors Bain Capital Ventures and CRV. The funding brings the Mountain View, California company’s total funding to $75 million.

Commercial adoption of Pinot has grown too, with companies like Cisco, DoorDash, Etsy, Hyundai, 7-Eleven, Target, Uber, and Walmart adopting the software for real-time analytics. This shows the value of Pinot, said Glenn Solomon, managing partner of GGV Capital and StarTree board member.

“We are seeing companies across a wide variety of industries recognize the value of providing real-time user-facing analytics at scale to their customers,” Solomon said in a press release. “The challenge and opportunity lies in implementation, and StarTree makes it easy for companies of all sizes to build user-facing data applications.”

StarTree, which has grown from 12 to 70 employees over the past year-and-a-half, has also found some early commercial success. It’s logo sheet so far includes of Guitar Center, Pluto TV, Stripe, Blinkit, StreetMetrics, Tribe, and JustEatTakeaway.com, the company says.

Last month, StarTree announced a new community edition of the software designed to help users get started. StarTree Community Edition also includes ThirdEye, an anomaly detection, monitoring, and interactive root-cause analysis platform that’s designed for use by developers, line of business, and engineers.

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