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People to Watch 2022

Tristan Handy
Founder & CEO, dbt Labs

Handy is a long-time data analyst who’s been working in the data warehouse trenches for more than two decades. His LinkedIn profile shows that after he graduated from the University of Maryland with a BS in finance and  information technology in 2003, he took a consulting job at Deloitte Consulting from 2003, which lasted until 2008.

Handy then went back to school to get his MBA in entrepreneurship from the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School in 2009. After an internship at GE Energy in 2009, Handy took a series of jobs with startups including Squarespace, Argyle Social, and RJ Metrics.

In June 2016, Handy co-founded Fishtown Analytics in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with Connor McArthur and Drew Banin. The company was originally designed to be a consulting firm, but after use of the dbt tool took off, Handy and company pivoted and devoted themselves to running a software startup.

In 2018, dbt Labs released a commercial product on top of dbt Core. Then in 2020, Andreessen Horowitz led a Series A round of financing worth $12.9 million. That was followed quickly by a Series B by Sequoia Capital worth $29.5 million later that year.

The money kept flowing in June 2021, when Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital teamed with Altimeter Capital to raise $150 million in a Series C round. The company also changed its name from Fishtown Analytics to dbt Labs. Then this February, the company completed a Series D round led by Altimeter worth $222 million.

It’s been quite a run to a $4.2 billion valuation for Handy and company–especially considering that the outfit was never intended to be a software company. But considering the upheaval occurring in the modern data stack and the importance of transformation in the data lake, it’s undoubtedly just the beginning.

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