From Show HN as a “Segment Alternative” to Series A in One Year: Reflections From Our Founder
Last week, RudderStack shared some exciting news: we raised a $21 million Series A led by Kleiner Perkins.
On the day of the announcement, I realized that it had been just over a year since I submitted the Show HN for RudderStack where we announced paid plans.
Reading back through that post was a great reminder of how much the team accomplished in a year, which led to us raising a Series A from a top VC firm. I wanted to share a few of my thoughts as I’ve reflected on this journey.
The Birth of RudderStack
The birth story is a good context for all that’s happened over the past year. I had been at 8x8 through the acquisition of my previous company and was leading a data team. Our task was to build a secure CDP that would run at an enterprise scale. Long story short, I explored every option on the market, ended up both buying and building solutions, and the project never fully met expectations.
After talking with other developers working on data projects, the idea for RudderStack was born. Me and a team built the prototype of the project, called it “Rudder,” and open-sourced the GitHub repo. The HN community was hugely supportive.
Our Journey Over the Past Year
In the Show HN post a year ago, we’d just announced pricing and our initial managed plans, and we were excited about our ~30 integrations.
Fast-forward a year and I’m still amazed at what the team has accomplished: we now collect and deliver data on every content for all kinds of companies, from startups to publicly traded enterprises (logos include companies like Crate and Barrel, Priceline, Allbirds, and Anheuser-Busch).
Here’s what I’m most proud of on the product side of things:
- Our cloud SaaS offering for unified customer data pipelines (RudderStack Cloud) became generally available and processes up to billions of events per day for our largest customers.
- We built a real-time transformation feature that our customers use for both simple filtering and complex workflows involving enrichment.
- Our integrations team has built connections to almost 150 tools across the customer data stack, from business apps like Marketo to infrastructures like Redis and Kafka.
- We acquired and integrated blendo.co’s ETL pipeline so our customers could collect all of their data and build unified profiles on their warehouses.
- We launched a reverse-ETL product (Warehouse Actions), enabling our customers to send enriched data, audiences, and internal events from their warehouse to all of their business apps.
In addition to the product, we’ve built a strong, growing open source community of hundreds of developers using and contributing to RudderStack and the number of open-source deployments continues to grow week-over-week and includes internationally known companies.
On the commercial side, the traction has been significant. In the 6 months leading up to closing our Series A, revenue had more than doubled and we’d begun to build out the team. We didn’t need to raise money, but began conversations with several strategic firms based on inbound interest and are really excited about partnering with the Kleiner Perkins team to accomplish our mission even faster.
I have actually known Bucky (Partner at Kleiner) for some time. We met when I was raising our seed round and have stayed in touch. I’ve always been impressed by his passion and willingness to help, so I’m personally excited to work even more closely with him.
But Really, the Journey is Just Starting
When I posted the Show HN 12 months ago a Series A seemed a long way off. Lots of ink has been spilled about startup growth strategies and fundraising tactics, but one thing that I know is true after multiple companies is that smart, consistent, fast execution is really hard to compete with.
Startups are a marathon, but as I’ve said before, the top runners maintain what for most people is a sprint every single mile.
Raising our Series A is a huge milestone, but our journey has really just begun and I can’t wait to see what we accomplish in the year ahead.
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