Why we invested in Firebolt: Snowflake catapulted the data warehouse into the cloudDawn

For many years, Snowflake has been the byword for the entire cloud data warehouse market. The company’s growth stands testament to how easy it made processing data for enterprise.

But today, Snowflake is a victim of its own extraordinary success (and some success, its market cap currently sits at just over $70 billion!). It is serving customers with nearly decade-old tech, bending and stretching it to do things that it’s simply not capable of doing. This runs across two dimensions: first, the tech doesn’t scale to serve the latest, most demanding use cases — so it’s slow. Second, processing data is so powerful that huge costs are incurred — so it’s phenomenally expensive.

And yet the demand keeps building. Companies around the world are increasingly “running on data”, with every decision, however big or small, data-driven. Data volumes, meanwhile, are growing at exponential rates, and more and more enterprises are running in the cloud.

This is where Firebolt enters.

Founded and architected less than two years ago, its next-generation tech specifically addresses this issue: not to just bring data warehouses into the cloud, but to make the cloud data warehouse “fly” at enormous scale — in terms of both performance and cost. And it solves the problem from first principles, embedding the latest innovations in query engine design, storage optimisation and data architecture into its platform.

In doing so, Firebolt is, like its namesake, knocking out of the park everything that has gone before it. No longer do customers have to wait minutes — and sometimes hours — for a query (which let’s face it is a lifetime for customer-facing or business critical applications), or choose which data-intensive problems they can afford to solve on their budget. Instead, they can solve once-impossible data challenges in real-time and allow the analysis to permeate every fabric of their business, from internal business intelligence to customer-facing and operational applications. Which has, rightfully, earned Firebolt its title as the world’s fastest — and cheapest — cloud data warehouse.

And behind this phenomenal business is a second-time founding team to match. In a previous life, Eldad Farkash and Saar Bitner were the team behind data unicorn Sisense. Like us, they live and breathe the world where data and infrastructure meet. They are pursuing this vision because they acutely believe in it, with a blend of passion, genius and down-to-earth pragmatism. We instantly bonded over the deep importance they also place on personal interactions and having fun along the way. If only there was a word that could encompass old friends that you’ve just met.

And because of their stellar reputations, they have also had the luxury of being able to attract talent of mind-blowing calibre, adding quickly to a rapidly growing team of 100 across Israel, the US, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, Ukraine, Romania and the UK. To pick just two examples out of many: their CMO Asaph Schulman, was one of the first sixteen employees at Checkmarx, a wildly successful security vendor sold to Hellman & Friedman for more than a billion dollars, and Firebolt’s GM Keenan Rice, a long-standing friend of the Dawn family, was an “Outlooker” — the first non-technical employee at Looker, which, last year, found a new home with Google.

Firebolt’s customer list also reads like a who’s who of the world’s most innovative software vendors. Logos include AppsFlyer, SimilarWeb and Explorium. One customer, who works with raw customer data at petabyte scale every day, has described Firebolt’s product as ‘magical’. Processing up to five billion rows of data was stretching their existing tooling to its limits: with some queries taking up to two minutes to complete. Now, Firebolt is handling the same amount of data in around a second, and has allowed the company to extend its reports from a three-month window to cover a full year, handling hundreds of billions of rows with confidence. And to revisit the hard ROI piece: Firebolt is fivefold cheaper than the company’s existing options.

We’ve been closely watching Firebolt’s rise over the last two years and couldn’t be more excited to partner with the whole team as they raise their Series B! We’ve been privileged to have been investing for a long-time in businesses transforming the data value chain, including global category-leaders like CollibraDataikuQuantexa and Harbr. So we could not be more behind them in their mission to build a world where data is at the heart of every decision, decisions are lightning fast, and where Firebolt is the multi-billion dollar tech titan that rewrote cloud data warehousing. It is also exciting to be partnering again with an exceptional Israeli founding team — which is an ecosystem we continue to be immensely impressed by. And finally, if you want to join the adventure, they are hiring!

Follow Evgenia on LinkedIn and Twitter

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