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June 29, 2023

Kafka Disruptor Redpanda Raises $100M Series C

(Anton Watman/Shutterstock)

Streaming data platform Redpanda has raised $100 million in a Series C funding round for a total of $165 million in funding.

Redpanda is a Kafka-compatible streaming data platform that the company says is high performance, operationally friendly, and cloud ready. The San Francisco-based company was founded in 2019 as a Kafka replacement for mission critical systems.

Apache Kafka has been a dominant streaming platform since its release in 2011, but as a Redpanda blog post posits, Kafka was designed during a time when data volumes were relatively low and when hardware was more expensive and less powerful than today.

“The software solution that ruled this era? Apache Kafka—a distributed publish-subscribe system open-sourced by LinkedIn that was designed to take advantage of low-cost commodity spinning disks through virtualization,” wrote the post’s author, Doug Flora. “Its popularity exploded, and the Kafka API ecosystem spread to every layer of the data stack. Most data software and services today come pre-wired to talk to Kafka. And, with 80% of the Fortune 100 using it, Kafka continues to hold the crown as the go-to streaming data platform for many.”

(Source: Redpanda)

Today’s data processing requirements can reach trillions of events per day, a number Redpanda says Kafka cannot keep up with, so organizations with ultra-intensive data requirements are looking for faster, more scalable alternatives.

Redpanda positions its platform as a modern, faster, easier, and more cost-effective alternative to Kafka that is designed to meet today’s demanding data streaming workloads. The company says it is a self-contained, single binary with its schema registry, HTTP proxy, and message broker built-in. The platform is fully Kafka API-compatible and can work with all Kafka streaming apps and tools with no code changes necessary. Redpanda is engineered in C++ with a thread-per-core architecture that the company claims allows it to maximize resource utilization, maintain consistently low latencies, and deliver high throughputs. The aforementioned blog post claims testing shows that Redpanda outperforms Kafka at tail latencies (p99.99) by at least a factor of 10.

Alex Gallego, the founder and CEO of Redpanda, said in a statement that the company was built for engineers.

“The hero of the Redpanda story has always been the engineer, hands on keyboard, behind a terminal, materializing her ideas into a working system. That’s who we built Redpanda for, and why we made it easy to use, scalable to double-digit ​​gigabytes per second, and compatible with all the existing applications,” he said.

This latest round was led by returning investors Lightspeed Venture Partners with participation from GV and Haystack VC. The company said in a release it would leverage this latest capital to enable data-intensive applications with new foundational capabilities that are beyond the scope of legacy streaming data platforms. Redpanda says it has doubled its workforce and has seen a 5x growth in revenue during this fiscal year.

Results from Redpanda’s internal benchmarking study show its performance against Kafka, according to the company. (Source: Redpanda)

“Last year we grew to thousands of production installations. The funds will help us accelerate this growth while building a future where all data is instantly available, with embedded processing in a multi-tenant platform that truly scales to zero, finally making streaming accessible to the 44 million developers in the world,” said Gallego.

Redpanda has connected with customers in data-intensive industries like finance, technology, cybersecurity, manufacturing, and aerospace. Its Redpanda streaming data platform is source-available to developers under the BSL license.

In December 2022, Redpanda began offering a bring-your-own-cloud deployment model that it says combines the efficiency of a fully managed service with the data sovereignty and security of self-hosting. This deployment option is preferred by over 30% of Redpanda’s customers, the company said.

“Redpanda has demonstrated tremendous momentum under Alex’s leadership,” said Arif Janmohamed, partner at lead investor Lightspeed Venture Partners. “Redpanda’s data platform was built from the ground up for the cloud era and has delivered incredible performance and efficiencies for our innovative customer base. We’re excited that this funding will help to extend Redpanda’s go-to-market activities, bringing its benefits to an even greater audience.”

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