Category: Developer

Xata is a database service for serverless apps



Meet Xata, a startup with a new take on managed databases. The company runs your database for you and turns it into an API so that you can query and update it from your serverless app. Xata has raised a $5 million funding round. Its product is not yet ready for prime time but the company is sharing details.

Xata seems particularly well suited for Jamstack websites. Jamstack has been a popular way of developing and deploying websites at scale. Popular Jamstack hosting platforms include Netlify, Vercel and Cloudflare Pages.

Applications are deployed on a global edge network and most of the logic is handled by API calls. The result is a website or an application that loads quickly and can handle a lot of traffic.

Deploying a Jamstack website is quite easy as it often integrates tightly with your Git repository. When you commit code changes, serverless platforms take care of deploying your application. Integrating with API-based developer tools is relatively effortless as well as you don’t manage the logic yourself.

For instance, deploying a website with static content and a Stripe checkout module doesn’t require a ton of effort — Stripe manages the payment servers for you. It gets a bit more complicated if you want to use a live database and interact with it. Traditional database software doesn’t rely on API calls across the internet to add a row, search through multiple rows and find data.

Xata is focusing on databases and want to make (Read more...)

Avalanche raises $230 million from private sale of AVAX tokens



Avalanche, a relatively new blockchain with a focus on speed and low transactions costs, has completed a $230 million private sale of AVAX tokens to some well known crypto funds. Polychain and Three Arrows Capital are leading the investment.

The Avalanche Foundation completed the private sale back in June 2021 and is disclosing it today. Other participants in the private sale include R/Crypto Fund, Dragonfly, CMS Holdings, Collab+Currency and Lvna Capital.

Proceeds from the private sale will be used to support the Avalanche ecosystem, which is relatively nascent when you compare it to the Ethereum blockchain for instance. Among other things, the foundation plans to support DeFi (decentralized finance) projects as well as enterprise applications through grants, token purchases and other forms of investments.

Like Solana and other newer blockchains, Avalanche wants to solve the scalability issues that older blockchains face. For instance, if you’ve recently tried to buy an NFT on the Ethereum blockchain, you probably paid $50 or $100 in transaction fees, or gas fees.

The Avalanche Foundation positions its blockchain as a solid alternative to Ethereum. You can run Dapps (decentralized apps) for a fraction of the costs with a much faster time-to-finality. Avalanche supports smart contracts, which is a key feature to enable DeFi projects.

Here’s what Avalanche’s official website says about its blockchain performance:

Image Credits: Avalanche

Having better performance is just part of the problem when you’re competing with Ethereum and other blockchains. Avalanche also needs to attract developers and build a strong (Read more...)

Liveblocks is an API that lets you add real-time collaboration to your product



Meet Liveblocks, a startup that has been working on a set of APIs so that it’s easier to build a collaborative product. Essentially, it lets you create multiplayer experiences on the web or in your app.

The company started with a live presence state API. If you integrate this API in your product, it means that you can show when somebody joins a page, a project or a document by displaying an avatar in a corner. You can also share the position of everyone’s cursor, text selection or content selection in real time.

Liveblocks is currently testing in private beta a live storage API. This is going to be a key feature as it is going to let multiple people view and edit the same data in real-time. For example, you can use it to develop a Google Docs competitor or if you want to add a whiteboard tool to your service.

The service works across multiple browsers and devices. Behind the scenes, the company uses a WebSocket connection for real-time communication. Pricing depends on the number of simultaneous connections that you expect around the same room, document, experience.

“Guillaume Salles and I decided to work together on a browser-based collaborative presentation/video tool. After months of iteration, we realized that we were spending a majority of our time figuring out how to handle the real‑time collaboration aspect of things, instead of focusing on the core mechanics of the tool,” co-founder and CEO Steven Fabre told me.

“We tried existing (Read more...)

Botify raises $55 million to optimize search engine indexing



Botify has raised a $55 million Series C funding round led by InfraVia Growth with Bpifrance’s Large Venture fund also participating. The company has created a search engine optimization (SEO) platform so that your content is better indexed and appears more often in search results.

Existing investors Eurazeo and Ventech are also investing in the startup once again. Nicolas Herschtel from InfraVia and Antoine Izsak from Bpifrance will join the board of directors. Valuation has tripled since the company’s previous funding round.

While there are a ton of good and bad practices in the SEO industry, Botify defines itself as “white-hat company”. They respect the terms of services of search engines, they don’t scrape search results for insights, they don’t create shady backlinks on other websites.

“We’re going to optimize every step of the search funnel from first the quality of the website, how it is designed, how is the content going to be enriched with, etc.” co-founder and CEO Adrien Menard told me.

There are now three different components in the Botify product suite. The startup first released an analytics tool that gives you insights about your website. Basically, it lets you see how a crawler analyzes your site.

The company then released Botify Intelligence, which hands you a prioritized todo list of things you can do to improve your SEO strategy. And now, the company is also working on automation with Botify Activation. When Google’s search engine bot queries your site, Botify can take over and answer (Read more...)

Airtable makes Bayes its first acquisition to up its data visualization game



Airtable, the makers of the no code relational database, announced its first acquisition today, acquiring Bayes, an early stage visualization startup. The purpose of the purchase is to enhance the data visualizations on the Airtable platform. The companies did not share the purchase price.

Much like Airtable, Bayes focuses on a no-code approach and the two companies have a shared vision about simplifying activities that once required engineering talent to pull off. Airtable CEO and co-founder Howie Liu says that while he hasn’t really been thinking about acquisitions, this opportunity came along and he liked how the team and product fit in with the Airtable no-code philosophy.

“We fell in love with the team and the product that they had built insofar as it showed us their vision for for doing data visualization in a really interesting and user friendly way that we thought would be applicable…and in spirit to be able to apply that kind of design thinking to Airtable’s product and enable our customers to basically better visualize their data,” Liu said.

Bayes’s four employees have joined Airtable and the plan is to shut down the product and incorporate the functionality into Airtable in the coming months.

Will Strimling, company co-founder says his startup matched up well with Airtable, which he said was a huge inspiration for his company since it launched in 2019. He said that it seemed like they could be better together after the two companies began (Read more...)

Search API startup Algolia raises $150 million at $2.25 billion valuation



Algolia has raised a $150 million Series D funding round at a post-money valuation of $2.25 billion. Compared to the Series C round from October 2019, the company’s valuation has more than quadrupled. It means that Algolia is now a unicorn with a valuation above $1 billion.

The company is best known for its search-as-a-service product. It lets you integrate real-time search in your app or website using a developer-friendly API. Using an Algolia-powered search feature feels like using Spotlight on a Mac. Results load with each keystroke and appear in just a few milliseconds.

The company now has over 10,000 customers, including some big names, such as Slack, Stripe, Medium, Zendesk and Lacoste. Right now, the company handles over 1.5 trillion search queries per year — that’s a 1,500,000,000,000 if you want to see all the zeros.

Lone Pine Capital is leading today’s funding round. Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC, STEADFAST Capital Ventures, Glynn Capital and Twilio also participated in the round. But that’s not all, some existing investors also put more money on the table, such as Accel, Salesforce Ventures, DAG, Owl Rock and World Innovation Lab.

While the company doesn’t share revenue numbers directly, Algolia says that its annual recurring revenue has increased by 180% year over year.

“The future is API-first – a reality underscored by the growth seen by Twilio, Stripe, Algolia and others in the API economy. A huge part of our success has, and will continue to be, our relentless focus (Read more...)

No-code Bubble raises $100M to make technical co-founders obsolete



Among Silicon Valley circles, a fun parlor game is to ask to what extent world GDP levels are held back by a lack of computer science and technical training. How many startups could be built if hundreds of thousands or even millions more people could code and bring their entrepreneurial ideas to fruition? How many bureaucratic processes could be eliminated if developers were more latent in every business?

The answer, of course, is on the order of “a lot,” but the barriers to reaching this world remain formidable. Computer science is a challenging field, and despite proactive attempts by legislatures to add more coding skills into school curriculums, the reality is that the demand for software engineering vastly outstrips the supply available in the market.

Coding is not a bubble, and Bubble wants to empower the democratization of software development and the creation of new startups. Through its platform, Bubble enables anyone — coder or not — to begin building modern web applications using a click-and-drag interface that can connect data sources and other software together in one fluid interface.

It’s a bold bet — and it’s just received a bold bet as well. Bubble announced today that Ryan Hinkle of Insight Partners has led a $100 million Series A round into the company. Hinkle, a longtime managing director at the firm, specializes in growth buyout deals as well as growth SaaS companies.

If that round size seems huge, it’s because Bubble has had a long history as a bootstrapped (Read more...)

Tinybird turns raw data into realtime API at scale



Meet Tinybird, a new startup that helps developers build data products at scale without having to worry about infrastructure, query time and all those annoying issues that come up once you deal with huge data sets. The company ingests data at scale, lets you transform it using SQL and then exposes that data through API endpoints.

Over the past few years, analytics and business intelligence products have really changed the way we interact with data. Now, many big companies store data in a data warehouse or a data lake. They try to get insights from those data sets.

And yet, extracting and manipulating data can be costly and slow. It works great if you want to make a PowerPoint presentation for your quarterly results. But it doesn’t let you build modern web products and data products in general.

“What we do at Tinybird is we help developers build data products at any scale. And we’re really focused on the realtime aspect,” co-founder and CEO Jorge Gómez Sancha told me.

The team of co-founders originally met at Carto. They were already working on complex data issues. “Every year people would come with an order of magnitude more data,” Gómez Sancha said. That’s how they came up with the idea behind Tinybird.

Image Credits: Tinybird

The product can be divided into three parts. First, you connect your Tinybird account with your data sources. The company will then ingest data constantly from those data sources.

Second, you can transform that data (Read more...)

Ably raises $70 million for its developer platform that enables realtime features



Ably is a Pub/Sub messaging platform that companies can use to develop realtime features in their products. The company just raised a $70 million Series B funding round co-led by Insight Partners and Dawn Capital.

Every day, you use various apps that push and fetch data in realtime. When you send a message in your favorite chat app, when you edit a document collaboratively, when you start a video call or when you look at financial data, you expect to send and receive stuff in a fraction of a second. It should feel instantaneous otherwise it feels broken.

A popular system that lets you create realtime features is called Pub/Sub, as in publish-subscribe. As the name suggests, with that model, users publish and receive data through the same channel. Users who want to receive data in realtime establish a realtime connection saying that they want to receive new messages that are routed through that channel.

Whenever someone publishes a new message, the message is routed to subscribers as quickly as possible — ideally, the message arrives in a fraction of a second. Push notifications on your smartphone follow more or less the same logic, except that they eventually go through Google’s and Apple’s push notification services.

There are several realtime platform-as-a-service providers out there, including services developed by Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. And yet, Ably thinks it has the best technology platform out there and can build a large, standalone realtime API-based startup.

Existing investors Triple Point, (Read more...)

Vercel raises $102M Series C for its front-end development platform



Vercel, the company behind the popular open-source Next.js React framework, today announced that it has raised a $102 million Series C funding round led by Bedrock Capital. Existing investors Accel, CRV,
Geodesic Capital, Greenoaks Capital and GV also participated in this round, together with new investors 8VC, Flex Capital, GGV, Latacora, Salesforce Ventures and Tiger Global. In total, the company has now raised $163 million and its current valuation is $1.1 billion.

As Vercel notes, the company saw strong growth in recent months, with traffic to all sites and apps on its network doubling since October 2020. About half of the world’s largest 10,000 websites now use Next.js . Given the open-source nature of the Next.js framework, not all of these users are obviously Vercel customers, but its current paying customers include the likes of Carhartt, Github, IBM, McDonald’s and Uber.

Image Credits: Vercel

“For us, it all starts with a front-end developer,” Vercel CEO Guillermo Rauch told me. “Our goal is to create and empower those developers — and their teams — to create delightful, immersive web experiences for their customers.”

With Vercel, Rauch and his team took the Next.js framework and then built a serverless platform that specifically caters to this framework and allows developers to focus on building their front ends without having to worry about scaling and performance.

Older solutions, Rauch argues, were built in isolation from the cloud platforms and serverless technologies, leaving it up to the developers to deploy and scale their solutions. (Read more...)