Fired up: Why we’ve reinvested in FireboltDawn

Every company now is not just a software company, but a data company too. Data is the core of every app, product and service, becoming part of the fabric of modern business.

The evolution of data warehousing — the foundation on top of which companies build all kinds of analytics experiences and services — made this possible. But the next generation is focused on pushing the boundaries of scale and speed, seeing what can be done with analytics and allowing companies to leverage data in previously unreachable territories.

Firebolt is at the head of this pack of pioneers. By developing the first cloud data warehouse that delivers sub-second interactive analytics experience over terabytes of data, they are answering the question that continues to dog the space: now that we have all this data, how do we operationalise it at scale?

We first invested in Firebolt in their Series B back in June 2021. And meeting Eldad and Saar — both of whom were on the founding team of SiSense, an Israeli unicorn in the analytics space — for the first time was like getting to know old friends. We instantly bonded over our shared vision of a world where data and infrastructure meet and the deep importance they place on personal interactions and having fun along the way.

And they’re moving as fast as their product.

In just over 12 months after emerging from stealth mode, Firebolt has gained traction with some of the world’s fastest growing tech companies — helping AppsFlyer, a leading mobile marketing analytics platform, for example, run analytics against billions of rows and terabytes of data in seconds or less — and the team has almost doubled in the past six months to 200 team members in 25 countries.

And now it’s just closed a $100m Series C funding round, reaching a $1.4bn valuation after just one year of operation, bringing its total investment to $269m, which it will use to further build out its product and engineering teams.

This follows in the wake of opening its new Seattle office, and the hiring of Mosha Pasumansky as CTO, who was previously a principal engineer on Google’s BigQuery team. He joins an already first-class roster, including CMO Asaph Schulman — one of the first employees at Checkmarx, a security vendor sold to Hellman & Friedman for more than a billion dollars — and GM Keenan Rice, a long-standing friend of the Dawn family, and the first non-technical employee at Looker, which was acquired by Google in 2020.

But it’s not just the speed of its tech and stellar team that makes Firebolt stand out. As well as defining the data warehouse market, it’s also reshaping the role of data engineering itself.

The hurdle to realising data’s full potential and widespread adoption is not just the technology, but whether leaders and engineers can make data part of the company culture — making data easier to work with, insights easier to share, and data products more democratised. Current cloud data warehouse deployments struggle with performance and high costs when it comes to analytics at terabyte scale, limiting their ability to address the needs of modern data applications. But Firebolt, by enabling the speed necessary for real-time analytics, makes this sort of cultural shift possible.

It frees data engineers from the responsibility of managing compute and storage and building infrastructure so they can think about output: applying an analytical, business-oriented approach to working with data. From data plumbers to data whisperers. The data engineer becomes a more strategic, pivotal role to the business, responsible for ensuring that data doesn’t live in isolation from business intelligence and analysis.

And the opportunity for unlocking this latent force is huge. The success of Snowflake, the early leader in this space, shows just how large the market is. Despite only going public back in September 2020, the company’s revenue continues to grow at north of 100% at massive scale: it is expected to surpass $1bn in revenue in FY2022, beating analyst consensus. And there’s still a lot of room for growth in the market, with the global cloud analytics market expected to grow to $65bn by 2025 and overall cloud infrastructure spend to one trillion (!).

So we’re thrilled to be continuing our partnership with Firebolt, joining Alkeon Capital, who are leading this latest round, along with new investors Sozo Ventures and Glynn Capital, and all existing investors: Oren Zeev, Angular Ventures, TLV Partners, Bessemer and K5 Global.

As they continue to blaze a trail and rewrite cloud data warehousing, we believe Firebolt is set to lead this market, powering modern analytics experiences at scale, and expanding the role data engineers play, helping to make data as much a part of the fabric of business as software.

And, as a final plug, you can become part of this phenomenal journey too — as Firebolt is hiring! Check out all their current roles here.

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