Aiven, a Finnish company that offers managed open-source data technologies on most of the major public clouds, just announced that it has raised $100 million in a series C round of funding.
Many people think that open-source software has taken over the world, and it now affects almost every piece of software, from scripts that help servers run faster to system architecture and application programming interfaces (APIs). Open-source software is being used by businesses more than ever. This change is being sped up by things like the push toward cloud computing and the ongoing pandemic. But despite the well-known benefits of open source software, such as lower costs and more flexibility, there are still many problems with using it. For example, setting it up can take a long time, and it needs specific skills and resources in areas like cybersecurity and maintenance. Aiven comes into play at this point.
Aiven was started in 2016 and manages the open-source data infrastructure of companies in the cloud. This lets developers focus on making apps. With support for AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Azure, Digital Ocean, and UpCloud, users can move data between clouds or even use a multi-cloud approach.
Aiven cofounder and CEO Oskari Saarenmaa told VentureBeat, “We give our customers the freedom to choose. Their data is not locked to one vendor or system, and they can move from one cloud to another with the click of a button.”
Aiven offers fully managed services for nine core open-source projects, such as Apache Kafka, M3, MySQL, Redis, InfluxDB, Apache Cassandra, Elasticsearch, PostgreSQL, and Grafana. This includes all the necessary support, such as end-to-end security, maintenance, and 24/7 monitoring. Aiven also takes care of other open-source projects, such as Pghoard, a service for backing up and restoring PostgreSQL databases.
The startup, which is based in Helsinki, works with companies from all kinds of industries and says that Atlassian, Comcast, and Toyota are among its high-profile enterprise clients.
Aiven 100m series:
Saarenmaa said, “Many of our customers are medium-sized to large companies that make a lot of data and need a modern infrastructure to use this data more quickly.” “For example, we work with a few large retail companies that move data between their physical stores, e-commerce sites, warehouses, and other places. On the Aiven platform, these companies can build a customized data infrastructure in the public cloud. This lets them move this data faster and get insights from their data pipelines.
Putting on two
Aiven had raised about $50 million through several funding rounds before this. Its most recent round of funding was led by the European VC giant Atomico, and Salesforce Ventures, World Innovation Lab, Earlybird Venture Capital, and IVP also took part. With another $100 million in the bank and an estimated value of $800 million, the company said it plans to use a “significant part” of its money to contribute more to open-source projects, bring new products to market, and grow internationally. The company also said that it plans to hire twice as many people in the next year and will open an open-source program office to manage its own contributions to open-source projects.
“We are looking for open-source developers for Elasticsearch, Kafka, and PostgreSQL,” Saarenmaa said. It plans to hire at least 10 full-time open-source developers in the next year.
Saarenmaa said, “Our customers come to Aiven to build their data infrastructure on open source, and Aiven will continue to only support community-backed software licenses.”
Confluent and Redis Labs are two other big names in this space. Between them, they have raised $350 million in the past year to commercialize open-source projects. MongoDB, which is publicly traded, and Heroku, which is owned by Salesforce, are also similar. Saarenmaa said that in the open-source world, there is a thin line between being friends and being competitors. Aiven is trying to set itself apart in several ways.
Saarenmaa said, “We stand out because we offer a fully managed, open-source, multi-cloud service.” “However, in the open source world, your competitors are often also your partners, since many developers must work together to build on open source projects and give back to the community.”
This is similar to what Microsoft said recently when they said that “open source is now the accepted model” for companies to work together.
In recent years, there has been a lot of trouble in the commercial open source world when companies that make money off of open source projects they maintain decide to put more restrictions on their licenses. For example, Elastic, a private company that makes the open-source NoSQL database Elasticsearch and the related data visualization dashboard Kibana, recently announced that it was changing its licensing terms to stop cloud service providers from offering these tools “as-a-service.” As a result, Amazon’s AWS announced that it was forking both Elasticsearch and Kibana, a project that Aiven is helping to support going forward.
“We only support open-source products and licenses that are backed by the community,” Saarenmaa said. “Unlike some of our competitors, we don’t lock down our products with more restrictive licenses.” “We have always been committed to open source, and we will continue to help the open source community by contributing to new and existing projects.”
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