Starburst Announces $250M Series D

Last Updated: October 26, 2023

It has been a year since our last funding news and I’m thrilled to announce that Starburst has raised $250M in Series D financing at a $3.35B valuation. Before I explain why a company that began as a bootstrapped, profitable venture was compelled to raise so much money, I want to first thank our investors, customers, partners, advisors, and our incredible team of hard-working Starburst All-Stars for making this possible.

This round was led by Alkeon Capital, and includes new investors Altimeter and B Capital Group, along with participation from our existing investors, Andreessen Horowitz, Coatue Management, Index Ventures, and Salesforce Ventures. This is a huge vote of confidence in our business model and the opportunity ahead of us. Salesforce doubled down on its Starburst investment.

We’re anticipating two major questions in response to the funding news. First, why are investors valuing our business, only 4 years old, at nearly $3.4B?  And second, what on earth are we going to do with $250M?

I’ll address the first question first.

Question 1: Why are investors valuing Starburst at $3.35B?

First, Starburst is disrupting a massive market. Simply put, we free our customers by allowing them to perform data warehousing analytics without the data warehouse.  Other players in this space are examples of incrementalism, merely reusing 40 year old technologies and repurposing them for the cloud era.  Their approach remains monolithic and repeats the futility of centralization.  They are the mainframe computer.

We are the iPhone.  In the same way that Apple democratized computing, we aim to do the same for data analytics. We turn the data warehousing model on its head, because we CAN.  With the advent of parallel computing and high-speed networks, we make obsolete the storage-centric thinking of old.  Where is the data I need? It DOESN’T MATTER where the data is.  Now, with Starburst, you have the freedom to decide where your data lives.  ETL becomes optional.  All of your data is at your fingertips.  You can finally move at the speed of your own curiosity.

Second, we are growing incredibly quickly.

Starburst just finished our third triple. This means we achieved roughly 3X annual recurring revenue (ARR) growth, for a third year in a row. That makes us the fastest growing company in our industry. We grew our global customer base by 3X as well, adding Zillow, Standard Chartered, and Carrefour Brazil and other major brands to our roster of global customers. We’re enabling household names like Comcast, Priceline, and Condé Nast to make better decisions on all of their data.

There are many factors driving these results. The rising popularity of data mesh, a decentralized data architecture, has been great for us, as Starburst is the ideal analytics engine for adopting a data mesh strategy. Data privacy and sovereignty are as important as ever, and our technology is uniquely suited to meeting the security and privacy needs of large global enterprises. At a high level, every large organization has a top-down mandate to take more data-driven actions, and Starburst makes it easier for them to deliver by streamlining data access and analytics.

Third, we just launched Starburst Galaxy, our SaaS product. In addition to giving companies optionality in where they store data, without compromising analytics, we now have two options for companies to benefit from our technology: Starburst Enterprise which is a self-managed solution for hybrid analytics, and now Starburst Galaxy which is a managed cloud-based service, decreasing complexity for our clients and helping them run fast analytics on data in a variety of cloud databases, with particular emphasis on data lakes. This new solution dramatically grows our addressable market, and provides a frictionless way to try our product.

Fourth, we have a vibrant partner ecosystem united by a common goal of driving faster and better decisions for our joint customers. Starburst has robust technology partnerships to build joint customer solutions like Red Hat’s RHODS, global business partnerships such as Accenture, Insight, Slalom, Trace3 & Softserve to help customers implement a Data Mesh strategy, and finally, the ability to onboard and transact with customers via all four major cloud marketplaces: AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and Alibaba.

Question 2: What are we going to do with $250M?

First, we’re going to invest more in our technology. Last year’s launch of Starburst Galaxy was a huge success, and we achieved the rare feat of launching on all three major public clouds at once. We see Galaxy as a major segment of our business going forward and we’re excited to be able to devote more capital and energy to drive its evolution. Naturally, we will also continue enhancing our Starburst Enterprise platform to ensure that it offers large complex companies the fastest path from big data to transformative insights.

Second, we’re going to accelerate the development of data products, a key pillar of the data mesh approach. One of the reasons we founded Starburst was to democratize data analytics. The data-as-product approach aligns with our mission to democratize, as it puts data in the hands of domain owners, who are then responsible for making that data easy to find, share, and consume.

And last but not least, we are going to invest in more people. We are going to double our headcount again in the next year, going from approximately 350 to nearly 700.  The additional headcount will be split primarily between engineers and salespeople as we accelerate product development and continue our global expansion and enter Asia Pacific this year.

Although Starburst is officially a unicorn, and has been for some time, we started out as a scrappy startup with no outside funding, and we maintain that “whatever it takes” mentality. If you are interested in potentially joining our team and want to learn more about our ”workhorse, not a unicorn” blue-collar approach to business, please feel free to reach out here.  As I mentioned above, we’re hiring!

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