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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Voltron Data to build Apache Arrow project based startup with new $110M funding

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Voltron Data has secured a massive amount of investment. The startup, which is backed by major investors, received a total of $110 million in seed and A funding.

Voltron Data was founded last year by former NVidia, Ursa Computing, BlazingSQL, and Apache Arrow co-founders. The group joined together to create a company based on Arrow to assist businesses that do not want to deal with the problems of administering an open source project on their own.

Voltron Data co-founder and CEO Josh Patterson stated that the startup is primarily a standards company that strives to spread the word about the power of data and analytics standardisation through Apache Arrow.

“Our goal is to improve the existing data analytics ecosystem using standards. And we are committed to introducing modularity and composability to the data analytics ecosystem “Patterson elaborated.

Apache Arrow comes into play in the standards section. The FAQ section of the project’s website describes it as follows: “Apache Arrow is a software development platform that allows you to create high-performance applications that handle and transport enormous amounts of data. It is intended to increase both the performance of analytical algorithms and the efficiency with which data is moved from one system (or programming language) to another.”

According to Patterson, as data and analytics have expanded, developers have had to connect to an increasing number of systems in a range of languages.

It’s a massive task that Arrow is attempting to do. “Arrow has become the de facto standard for connecting systems,” he explained. The open source programme has been enormously successful, with the business boasting over 42 million downloads per month.

Companies such as Snowflake, Databricks, Google, and Microsoft have all used it. That’s a lot of traction for any open source project, and it’s no surprise they decided to develop a corporation on top of it. That could also explain why venture investors are pouring money into the project.

Patterson stated that his company accepted the funds for practical reasons. The problem they are attempting to tackle is complex and multifaceted, and they need to spend as soon as possible to expedite.

He stated, “We don’t want [open source growth] to reach a point where it’s [only well suited] for power users and experts but not for the next generation of users, system builders, and library builders. We want to figure out where the pain points are so that we can build more tooling and libraries around them and be even more accessible.”

The company is currently developing its first commercial product. While Patterson was not yet ready to discuss it in full, it will require a managed version of Apache Arrow for the second group, who may not want to deal with raw open source.

The company already has around 100 employees and is aggressively hiring with a scattered staff. Building a diverse and inclusive organisation is a priority for Patterson, who is Black.

He said, “Inclusivity is incredibly important to us, and we’re seeing that as new workers across the spectrum of race, gender, and sexual orientation come to Voltron Data feeling heard, feeling empowered.”

From a purely numerical standpoint, he stated that they have 20% African Americans, 15% Hispanics, 15% Asians, and around 20% women, adding that as the firm grows, they are constantly seeking to improve diversity across the board. The financing is divided into two rounds: a $22 million seed round and a $88 million Series A.

Walden Catalyst led the A round, which included BlackRock, Anthos Capital, Battery Ventures, Coatue, GV, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Nepenthe Capital, Redline, and The Factory.

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