In late 2013, Errplane, a Y Combinator-backed startup, began developing an open source project called InfluxDB for database performance monitoring and alerting. After raising several million in financing from VC firms including Mayfield Fund and Trinity Ventures, Errplane changed its name to InfluxData — and went on to raise tens of millions more in capital.
Years later, it seems InfluxData is still doing something right. The company late last week announced that it raised $30 million in debt and $51 million in a Series E equity round led by Princeville Capital and Citi Ventures with participation from Battery Ventures, Mayfield and Sapphire Ventures, sources say at a valuation higher than its Series D in 2019. CEO Evan Kaplan tells TechCrunch that the combined $81 million will be put toward developing InfluxData’s new database engine, InfluxDB IOx, as well as dedicated cloud tiers and a new on-premises, enterprise-focused InfluxDB product built atop InfluxDB IOx.
When asked why InfluxData decided to secure a loan alongside the new equity, Kaplan said that it’s “been customary” for the company “depending on market conditions and growth requirements.” Easier access to debt in the tech industry likely played a role, too. By year-end 2022, debt deal value for tech surpassed 2021 numbers with more than $29 billion raised across 2,188 deals, according to PitchBook’s Venture-Monitor report.
“Analyzing data in real time is an enormous challenge due to the sheer volume of data that today’s applications, systems and devices create,” Kaplan said via email. “InfluxDB gives developers the ability to separate relevant signals from the ‘noise’ created by this huge amount of data.”
Platforms like InfluxData have come into vogue in the last few years as the demand for real-time data analysis tools grows. SingleStore, which provides a platform to help enterprises integrate, monitor and query their data as a single entity, has raised more than $100 million in capital to date. Imply, another real-time database vendor, closed a $100 million Series D round in May that values the company at a $1.1 billion post-money.
Kaplan argues that databases purpose-built for analyzing real-time data — otherwise known as time series data, or data recorded over consistent intervals of time — offer advantages over the relational databases companies typically employ for their data workloads. For example, while relational databases have a defined schema, meaning changes like adding or removing columns require database migrations, time series databases tend to be “schema-less” and allow new fields to be added quickly and easily.
“Within the time series universe itself, a top challenge is managing high-cardinality data volumes — pulling in the right data, transforming it and storing it in a way that makes it easy to derive value from it,” Kaplan said. “This is why a purpose-built solution for time series is critical; it lowers the barrier to entry and streamlines the impact times series data can have.”
According to Kaplan, InfluxData’s customers primarily tap the company’s platform to gain access to infrastructure, systems, apps and customer data in real time as well as centralize metrics, events, logs and tracing data across the organization. Those with physical assets also collect sensor and device data using InfluxData, whether originating from factories, manufacturing plants, smart devices or satellites.
“InfluxDB accelerates the pace at which organizations derive value from data,” Kaplan averred. “IT teams using InfluxDB can query data immediately after it is written, often measured in milliseconds, as opposed to many other data warehouses that rely on batch ingestion and delayed processing before delivering insights. By offering true real-time insights, InfluxDB ensures companies can collect and act on massive data volumes faster than ever.”
Besides the funding, the big news coming out of InfluxData is the launch of the aforementioned InfluxDB IOx, which was announced last November. Kaplan explains that InfluxDB IOx “reimagines” InfluxDB as a columnar, real-time data service, giving users a time series engine designed to ingest and analyze high-volume, high-velocity data.
InfluxDB IOx expands the number and variety of use cases that InfluxDB can handle, such as observability and distributed tracing, Kaplan says, while offering support for “the full range” of time series data. Additionally, the rebuilt engine adds SQL language support for queries, bringing the ubiquitous data programming language to InfluxDB for the first time.
“The release of InfluxDB IOx significantly improved on the platform’s main benefits with the introduction of SQL support, the removal of cardinality limits and real-time queries that are up to 100x faster,” Kaplan continued. “Customer interest in the new database engine is strong and we are bullish on the product roadmap to bring InfluxDB IOx to a wider population of developers. Furthermore, as InfluxDB IOx delivers full support for the golden triangle of observability data — metrics, logs and traces all in a single database — we can compete more aggressively in Internet of Things, cloud observability and other resource-intensive analytics settings.
TechCrunch can’t independently verify those performance claims. But on the customer side, InfluxData is objectively healthy (assuming the numbers Kaplan gave me are accurate, of course), with more than 1,900 commercial clients including Hulu, Siemens, Tesla, Cisco and IBM.
Kaplan acknowledged that InfluxData faces increasing competition from AWS (see: Timestream) and Microsoft Azure (Azure Data Explorer) and emerging open source vendors (Timescale, QuestDB). But he believes the rollout of InfluxDB IOx and the new financing round put the company in a position of strength.
“InfluxDB currently has 750,000 users deploying InfluxDB’s cloud service, with 6,000 new users every month,” Kaplan added while declining to reveal the company’s burn rate or annual recurring revenue. “In a sign of our continued growth, InfluxData currently has roughly 165 employees and expects to expand its employee base by about 10% by the end of 2023.”
With the closure of the Series E, InfluxData’s total equity funding stands at $171 million.