Robots tanmai rajoshi hasura

Robots tanmai rajoshi hasura

Hasura cofounders Tanmai Gopal and Rajoshi Ghosh

Hasura


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  • Investors believe that many commercial open source software startups will emerge as power-players amid the coronavirus pandemic and its aftermath, even as other sectors take a big hit. 
  • These kinds of startups have a few advantages, investors say: The work lends itself well to distributed teams doing their jobs remotely, and open source software is attractive to customers who are otherwise slashing their IT budgets.
  • Here are 31 commercial open-source software startups poised for success in 2020, according to VCs.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The economic downturn sparked by the coronavirus pandemic may be hitting many industries hard, but investors say that it may turn out to be a positive opportunity for commercial open source startups.

These types of startups build and maintain open source software that is free for anyone to use, download, or modify. While the software itself is free, these kinds of startups traditionally build a business on top of it by selling customer support or custom-built services for the enterprise.

Investors say they’re still betting on open source as the rest of the tech industry encounters turbulence because several of the best tech companies, like Airbnb or Dropbox, have historically been founded during economic downturns — including many of those like Canonical that build popular open source software.

Indeed, OSS Capital founder and CEO Joseph Jacks says that he expects adoption of open source software to accelerate during this period. It’s often cheaper than proprietary software from the likes of Oracle, SAP, or Microsoft, for starters, which makes it an appealing alternative for companies cutting their IT budgets. 

“Open source is much cheaper than proprietary software,” Eric Anderson, Scale Venture Partners, told Business Insider. “Enterprises will look at alternatives to some of the proprietary software they’re paying for.”

There are some structural advantages for these startups, too. Open source software is generally developed by distributed teams of volunteers all over the World. This means that the startups that emerge to support open source software is usually similarly distributed, and more ready to work remotely. That’s an edge in a time of global stay-at-home orders, Jacks says.

“Those companies, in fact, are going to do really well in a society and culture and environment where everyone is forced to be as efficient and as productive as possible using the internet and remote tools,” he said. 

Jacks says the current situation has only reinforced his belief in investing in these types of companies because of how the World has had to adapt.

“It’s definitely not changed anything about the way that we get excited in enterprise,” he said. “It only made things more concrete.”

What follows is a compelling list of commercial open-source software startups set for success in 2020, according to 12 VCs. They range from fledgling companies with hardly any funding to well-established ones that could very well be heading for a huge exit. Funding and valuation information are estimates taken from Pitchbook, the keeper of such data.

Robots Databand

Robots Databand cofounders Josh Benamram, Victor Shafran, and Evgeny Shulman

Databand cofounders Josh Benamram, Victor Shafran, and Evgeny Shulman

Databand


Startup: Databand

Total funding raised: Undisclosed

What it does: Databand builds open source software for building, running, and monitoring machine learning code, and helps users collaborate on it.

Recommended by: David Blumberg, Blumberg Capital (investor)

Why it will boom in 2020: “It’s the only solution we’ve seen with an approach so deeply integrated to all the most powerful tools that data engineers use to run their infrastructure, and touches so many different points of the value chain. The product has already become deeply entrenched in some of the most advanced data orgs in the market, and we expect to see a lot of exciting use cases moving forward.”

Robots Elementl

Robots Nick Schrock Elementl

Nick Schrock, founder and CEO of Elementl

Elementl


Startup: Elementl

Total funding raised: Undisclosed

What it does: Elementl allows cloud infrastructure engineers, data engineers, and data scientists to easily collaborate and process data.

Recommended by: Eric Anderson, Scale Venture Partners (no relationship)

Why it will boom in 2020: “Everyone talks about machine learning tools. Data quality. Data munging tools. Elementl is building a pretty exciting tool set for that from strong teams.”

Robots Wasmer

Robots Wasmer employees

Left to right: Former Wasmer software engineer Aaron Turner, CEO Syrus Akbary, and software engineer Nick Lewycky

Wasmer


Startup: Wasmer

Total funding raised: $150,000

What it does: Wasmer builds tools that developers can use to compile their code to WebAssembly, a popular standard used for building apps that can be run on any hardware or on the web.

Recommended by: Joseph Jacks, OSS Capital (investor)

Why it will boom in 2020: “[Wasmer is the] company behind simplifying and maturing the fast-growing WebAssembly developer stack: runtime, cloud platform, registry and more.”

Robots Cape Privacy

Robots Cape Privacy Team

Cape Privacy team

Cape Privacy


Startup: Cape Privacy

Total funding raised:  $2.1 million

What it does:  Cape Privacy is a collaboration platform that helps customers securely manage privacy policies and compliance, as well as understand how data is being used.

Recommended by: Ed Sim, Boldstart Ventures (investor) 

Why it will boom in 2020: “Today’s data scientists are operating in the ‘Wild West’ of machine learning models without appropriate governance and security.  Models are distributed and mostly sitting on individual notebooks. Subsequently, there is a critical business need to secure these models and provide visibility into what data is being used and by whom.”

Robots Optic

Robots Optic team

Optic team

Optic


Startup: Optic

Total funding raised:  $2.5 million

What it does: Optic helps users manage different versions of their software and their APIs (which help different pieces of software communicate with each other).

Recommended by: Ed Sim, Boldstart Ventures (investor) 

Why it will boom in 2020: “With Optic, developers have accurate API docs, confidence that everything is working as designed, and workflows that prevent them from breaking one another. The workflow and version control system for APIs is especially important in the new WFH World.”

Robots Last Energy

Robots Bret Kugelmass

Bret Kugelmass, founder of Last Energy and managing director of Energy Impact Center

Energy Impact Center


Startup: Last Energy

Total funding raised: $3 million

What it does: Last Energy was spun out of the Energy Impact Center, which does nuclear research. Its Open100 project open sources the engineering behind nuclear energy projects.

Recommended by: Joseph Jacks, OSS Capital (no relationship)

Why it will boom in 2020: “Last Energy is the [commercial open source software] company behind the Open100 project, open-source designs and specs for democratizing and dramatically lowering the cost for city-level nuclear plants.”

Robots Open Raven

Robots Mark Curphey Open Raven

Open Raven co-founder and chief product officer Mark Curphey

Open Raven


Startup: Open Raven

Total funding raised: $4.1 million

What it does: Open Raven’s data security software prevents cybercrime. It helps customers locate their data is and protects it, alerting security teams about possible breaches.

Recommended by: Bucky Moore, Kleiner Perkins (no relationship)

Why it will boom in 2020: “As enterprises accelerate digital transformation initiatives to bring more of their business online and meet customers where they are today, they are creating more data than ever before, and much of which resides in the cloud. Open Raven provides an open-source solution to gaining visibility into and securing this data.”

Robots Prisma

Robots Prisma Founders

Prisma cofounders Johannes Schickling and Søren Bramer Schmidt

Prisma


Startup: Prisma

Total funding raised: $4.5 million

What it does: Prisma builds open source tools for databases, making it easy to access, filter, and sort data.

Recommended by: Bucky Moore, Kleiner Perkins (investor)

Why it will boom in 2020: “[Prisma is] seeing outsized growth in developer adoption of their open source products during this time.”

Robots Robocorp

Robots Founders Robocorp

Robocorp cofounders Teppo Koskinen, Jouko Ahvenainen, Antti Karjalainen, and Sampo Ahokas

Robocorp


Startup: Robocorp

Total funding raised:  $5.22 million

What it does: Robocorp builds tools for robotic process automation, where software robots automatically handle repetitive tasks, freeing up humans to focus on other work. 

Recommended by: David Blumberg, Blumberg Capital (no relationship)

Why it will boom in 2020: “In a World rapidly moving to and adopting RPA/workflow automation, Robocorp has built a cloud orchestration platform enabling open source developed RPA bots to be delivered on demand at a fraction of the cost, ultimately democratizing RPA.”

Robots Chronosphere

Robots Chronosphere src56

Chronosphere cofounders Rob Skillington and Martin Mao

Chronosphere


Startup: Chronosphere

Total funding raised: $11 million

What it does: Chronosphere builds monitoring software for cloud applications that can collect — and act on — metrics and other data.

Recommended by: Jerry Chen, Greylock Partners (investor)

Why it will boom in 2020: “They can support applications, business metrics, and infrastructure stats at web scale at a fraction of the cost which will be table stakes for all companies.”

Robots Hasura

Robots tanmai rajoshi hasura

Hasura cofounders Tanmai Gopal and Rajoshi Ghosh

Hasura


Startup: Hasura

Total funding raised: $11.31 million

What it does: Hasura is a web application server that connects to databases and provides realtime GraphQL APIs instantly. GraphQL is a Facebook-created open source project for quickly accessing data.  

Recommended by: Eric Anderson, Scale Venture Partners (no relationship)

Why it will boom in 2020: “Users are calling it the next Heroku.”

(Heroku is a tool for allowing developers to build, run, and operate applications in the cloudthat Salesforce bought in 2011.)

Robots Astronomer

Robots joe otto astronomer

Joe Otto, CEO of Astronomer

Astronomer


Startup: Astronomer

Total funding raised: $11.93 million

What it does: Astronomer builds a platform to collect and prepare data for customers to use in business analytics.

Recommended by: Deepak Jeevankumar, Dell Technologies Capital (no relationship) 

Why it will boom in 2020: “It becomes more and more relevant for bigger customers who have multiple big data engines and they want to string those things together.”

Robots Preset

Robots Preset CEO and founder Max Beauchemin

Preset CEO and founder Max Beauchemin

Preset


Startup: Preset

Total funding raised: $12.5 million

What it does: Preset builds an open source data analytics and data visualization platform to help companies make better decisions.

Recommended by: Jerry Chen, Greylock Partners (no relationship)

Why it will boom in 2020: “They are providing tools to developers to build data visualization and dashboards. If every business is a data business then being able to understand your data becomes a necessity.”

Robots Tetrate

Robots Tetrate co-founders Varun Talwar and Jeyappragash “JJ” Jeykeerthi

Tetrate co-founders Varun Talwar and Jeyappragash “JJ” Jeykeerthi

Tetrate


Startup: Tetrate

Total funding raised: $12.5 million

What it does: Tetrate helps development teams run and manage micro-services, or small independent services that communicate with each other to make up an application.

Recommended by: Deepak Jeevankumar, Dell Technologies Capital (investor)

Why it will boom in 2020: “It’s a very authentic team from Google. They haven’t seen any slowdown so far in market demand this year … They are helping with transformation and app modernization in the networking layer which is a top priority for many CIOs.”

Robots Solo.io

Robots srcsrcsrc9 2src17 True Founder Camp Headshots Levine   zoom

Solo.io founder and CEO Idit Levine

Solo.io


Startup: Solo.io

Total funding raised:  $13.85 million

What it does:  Solo.io builds Gloo, an open source software that provides the tools needed to “glue” together apps, including service mesh, which helps the services needed to run an application communicate with each other.

Recommended by:  Astasia Myers, Redpoint Ventures (investor)

Why it will boom in 2020: “Service mesh offerings are very fragmented, and a recent  NewStack survey suggested 46% of those surveyed are evaluating / piloting /or plan to evaluate in the next 12 months, which are nice catalysts for Gloo.”

Robots Dgraph

Robots Manish Jain, Founder and CEO at Dgraph

Manish Jain, founder and CEO at Dgraph

Dgraph


Startup: Dgraph

Total funding raised:  $14.41 million

What it does: Dgraph builds a type of database that makes it easy for developers to find relationships between different types of data, called a “graph database.”

Recommended by:  Astasia Myers, Redpoint Ventures (investor) and Eric Anderson, Scale Venture Partners (no relationship) 

Why it will boom in 2020: “We are seeing more graph database use cases emerge from fraud detection to social networks to cybersecurity,” Myers said.

“Dgraph is just an awesome graph database and they solve the most important problems of graph databases,” Anderson said.

Robots Cypress

Robots Brian Mann Cypress

Cypress founder Brian Mann

Cypress


Startup: Cypress

Total funding raised:  $14.81 million

What it does: Cypress builds tools in JavaScript, the most popular programming language, for testing applications. 

Recommended by:  Astasia Myers, Redpoint Ventures (no relationship) and Aaron Jacobson, New Enterprise Associates (no relationship) 

Why it will boom in 2020: “Users like Cypress because it is reliable, fast, robust, and doesn’t require knowing domain logic,” Myers said. 

“There hasn’t been a lot of innovation in test automation in a long time. Testing is traditionally a cost center for businesses, something you have to do. Ideally you can not spend a lot of money and do it in a good way, and Cypress has a really great open source solution. It’s easy to use and it’s cheaper,” Jacobson said.

Robots Weaveworks

Robots Weaveworks

Weaveworks team

Weaveworks


Startup: Weaveworks

Total funding raised:  $20 million

What it does: Weaveworks develops a platform to manage containers, which are packages of software that include all the code and tools needed to run an application.

Recommended by: Tyler Jewell, Dell Technologies Capital (no relationship) 

Why it will boom in 2020: “The company defined the movement around GitOps and sponsored multiple extremely popular open source projects around the concept … Their customers already include many of the Fortune 50 and partnerships with the largest hyperscalers.”

Robots Anyscale

Robots Anyscale

Anyscale co-founders Robert Nishihara, Ion Stoica, and Philipp Moritz

Anyscale


Startup: Anyscale

Total funding raised:  $20.6 million

What it does: Anyscale supports the open source project Ray, which is used for building and running distributed applications, or applications located on different networked computers.

Recommended by:  Astasia Myers, Redpoint Ventures (no relationship) and Joseph Jacks, OSS Capital (no relationship)

Why it will boom in 2020: “Ray is significantly faster than alternatives, accelerating the development of machine learning models, making teams more productive,” Myers said.

Robots Vercel

Robots Vercel CEO Guillermo Rauch

Vercel CEO Guillermo Rauch

Vivan Cromwell/Vercel


Startup: Vercel

Total funding raised: $20.99 million

What it does: Vercel provides the tools needed to build and host web applications on the cloud.

Recommended by: Reid Christian, CRV (investor)

Why it will boom in 2020: “By providing the infrastructure and tooling for modern engineering teams to deploy and host software, they are well positioned to lead this trend.” 

Robots Starburst Data

Robots Starbust cofounders Justin Borgman, Martin Traverso, David Phillips, Dain Sundstrom

Starbust cofounders Justin Borgman, Martin Traverso, David Phillips, Dain Sundstrom

Starburst


Startup: Starburst Data

Total funding raised: $22 million

What it does: Starburst Data builds tools to help developers quickly access and analyze large amounts of data.

Recommended by: Deepak Jeevankumar, Dell Technologies Capital (no relationship) 

Why it will boom in 2020: “For outside our portfolio, I’m a big fan of the company Starburst Data, which supports Presto. [Presto is an open source project for querying big data.] Presto already has quite a few GitHub stars.”

Robots MinIO

Robots MinIO co-founder and CEO, AB Periasamy

MinIO co-founder and CEO AB Periasamy

MinIO


Startup: MinIO

Total funding raised: $23.3 million

What it does:  MinIO helps developers build their own cloud storage for applications that can be used on the cloud or private data centers.

Recommended by: Deepak Jeevankumar, Dell Technologies Capital (investor)

Why it will boom in 2020: “MinIO is one of the fastest growing open source projects of the last few years … It helps application developers treat storage as an application. We are seeing some of the early growth we saw in MongoDB in MinIO.”

Robots YugaByte

Robots yb founders

YugaByte cofounders Mikhail Bautin, Karthik Ranganathan, and Kannan Muthukkaruppan

YugaByte


Startup: YugaByte

Total funding raised: $24 million

What it does:  YugaByte builds an open source database for applications that can be run on the cloud or in private data centers.

Recommended by: Deepak Jeevankumar, Dell Technologies Capital (investor)

Why it will boom in 2020: “We are already seeing a lot of growth in the open source community and traction for this company. They grew significantly at the end of this year. One of the things we look out for is a team. The team is really authentic. YugaByte has amazingly strong technology. They built the infrastructure stack for Facebook Messenger.”

Robots Gravitational

Robots Gravitational Ev Kontsevoy

Gravitational CEO and cofounder Ev Kontsevoy

Gravitational


Startup: Gravitational

Total funding raised: $32.17 million

What it does: Gravitational makes it easy for customers to manage, secure, and deliver cloud software, as well as make sure that software meets compliance requirements.

Recommended by: Bucky Moore, Kleiner Perkins (investor)

Why it will boom in 2020: “[Gravitational is] seeing outsized growth in developer adoption of their open source products during this time.”

Robots Coder

Robots Coder cofounders

Coder cofounders Kyle Carberry, John Andrew Entwistle, and Ammar Bandukwala

Coder


Startup: Coder

Total funding raised:  $48.11 million

What it does: Coder makes tools that help developers working remotely set up and secure all their processes.

Recommended by:  Astasia Myers, Redpoint Ventures (investor)

Why it will boom in 2020: “Overall it improves developer productivity, securely. “

Robots Tigera

Robots Tigera team

Tigera team

Tigera


Startup: Tigera

Total funding raised: $53 million

What it does: Tigera helps secure applications and networks that run in both the cloud and in on-premise data centers. 

Recommended by: Aaron Jacobson, New Enterprise Associates (investor)

Why it will boom in 2020: “Enterprises right now are accelerating cloud. They’re already adopting the cloud. Given the work from home environment, they’re only going to accelerate cloud adoption. Tigera does network security, which more enterprises are going to look at.”

Robots Corelight

Robots Corelight_Team

Corelight team

Corelight


Startup: Corelight

Total funding raised: $84.2 million

What it does: Corelight builds cybersecurity software that analyzes network data to help companies prevent cyber attacks.

Recommended by: Steve Herrod, General Catalyst (investor)

Why it will boom in 2020: “It’s been an amazing year of commercial and community growth. Lots of big international customers and awards.”

Robots Odoo

Robots Fabien Pinckaers Odoo

Odoo founder and CEO Fabien Pinckaers

Odoo


Startup: Odoo

Total funding raised: $105.01 million

What it does: It builds open source enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management software. 

Recommended by: Joseph Jacks, OSS Capital (no relationship)

Why it will boom in 2020: “Commercial open source at the innovation application layer is definitely happening. I would expect to see a ton of growth.”

Robots Redis Labs

Robots Ofer Bengal Redis Labs

Redis Labs CEO and founder Ofer Bengal

Redis Labs


Startup: Redis Labs

Total funding raised: $146 million

What it does: Redis Labs builds database and cloud-based services that are used for analytics, transactions, and more.

Recommended by: Deepak Jeevankumar, Dell Technologies Capital (investor)

Why it will boom in 2020: “Redis Labs is already a really big company. It has a very very strong caching database and software. The demand is a key part of the modern infrastructure stack.” 

Robots Confluent

Robots Confluent Jay Kreps

Confluent cofounder and CEO Jay Kreps


Confluent



Startup: Confluent

Total funding raised:  $455.9 million

What it does: Confluent builds software for streaming and analyzing data in real-time. For example, Lyft uses it to calculate its ETAs and Capital One uses it to quickly identify fraud.

Recommended by:  Ed Sim, Boldstart Ventures (no relationship) 

Why it will boom in 2020: “[Confluent] increasingly has become the nervous system for enterprises to stream, move, and analyze real time data from multiple sources.”

Robots Databricks

Robots Ali Ghodsi CEO Co-founder of Databricks

Ali Ghodsi, CEO and Co-founder of Databricks

Databricks


Startup: Databricks

Total funding raised: $897.36 million

What it does: Databricks builds an analytics platform for big data, as well as the machine learning tools to help data scientists process that data.

Recommended by: Aaron Jacobson, New Enterprise Associates (investor)

Why it will boom in 2020: “Databricks will continue to grow bigger every year. As more enterprises adopt AI, they are growing incredibly quickly. I think they’re going to continue to grow big every year from here on out.”

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