Voltron Data raises $110 million to build startup based on Apache Arrow project TechCrunch


Voltron Data was launched last year by former employees of NVidia, Ursa Computing, BlazingSQL and the co-founder of Apache Arrow. The group came together to build a company on top of Arrow to help companies that don’t just want to deal with the headache of managing an open source project.

Josh Patterson, co-founder and CEO of Voltron Data, said the startup is essentially a standard company looking to spread the power of data and analytics standardization through Apache Arrow.

“Our goal is to leverage and improve the existing data analytics ecosystem based on standards. And we’ve seen this over and over in other industries, when standards come into being, they become accelerators, allowing more efficient things to happen to make the community as a whole better by building these common building blocks. And we’re about bringing modularity and configurability to the data analytics ecosystem,” explains Patterson.

The default part is where Apache Arrow comes into play. The project website FAQ describes it this way: “Apache Arrow is a software development platform for building high-performance applications that process and transport large data sets. It is designed to improve both the performance of analytical algorithms and the efficiency of moving data from one system (or programming language) to another.”

Patterson said that as data and analytics have evolved, developers need to connect to a growing number of systems in different languages. It’s a huge challenge, one that Arrow is trying to solve. “What if I wanted to connect this system and that system? I don’t want to rewrite all the glue code to make it happen. And that’s really what Arrow does very well. Arrow has become the de facto standard for connecting systems together,” he said.

The open source tool has proved astonishingly popular with the company reporting over 42 million downloads per month. It has companies like Snowflake, Databricks, Google and Microsoft all using it. That’s incredible traction for any open source project, and it’s no wonder they decided to build a company on top of it.

Perhaps that also explains why venture capitalists are throwing money at the project. The company has amassed $110 million in seed and A money, a huge amount even from today’s inflated investments.

Patterson said his company took the money for a practical reason. The problem they are trying to solve is difficult and multifaceted, and they need to invest to accelerate as quickly as possible.

“We do not want” [the open source growth] to hit this stagnation point where it is [only well suited] for power users and experts, but it is not conducive to this next wave of users and system builders and library builders. We want to figure out where the pain points are so we can build more tools and libraries around that and be even more easily available,” he said.

The company is working on its first commercial product. While Patterson wasn’t quite ready to talk about it in detail, it’s a managed version of Apache Arrow for that second group who might not want to deal with the raw open source.

With a dispersed workforce, the company already has nearly 100 employees and is actively recruiting. For Patterson, who is Black, building a diverse and inclusive business is paramount. “Inclusivity is very important to us, and we see new hires across the spectrum of race, gender and sexual orientation coming to Voltron Data, feeling like they can be heard and feeling strong,” he said.

From a purely numbers perspective, he said they have 20% African American, 15% Hispanic, 15% Asian and about 20% women, adding that as the company grows, they are constantly working to improve diversity across the board. line.

The funding will be split into a $22 million seed round and a $88 million Series A round. Round A was led by Walden Catalyst with participation from BlackRock, Anthos Capital, Battery Ventures, Coatue, GV, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Nepenthe Capital, Redline and The Factory. For the seed, Black Rock and Walden led with the participation of Lightspeed, GV and The Factory.

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