Our investment in QuestDB – the ‘Usain Bolt’ of databases

Open up your weather app, log into your financial trading platform, or turn the dial on your smart home thermometer and you will produce one of the fastest-growing data types in the world: time-series. 

Machines, devices, and sensors create trillions of these time-stamped events around the clock. Although the value of big data has become ubiquitous, managing the quantity of data is a significant challenge for companies. Existing costly databases lack performance to capture and make sense of it all in a cost-effective manner. 

Enter: QuestDB

Founded by Vlad Ilyushchenko, Tancrede Collard, and Nicolas Hourcard, QuestDB is a fast, open-source database for time-series data. Built from scratch with speed and efficiency as a priority, QuestDB puts the data as close to the hardware as possible. This ensures that machine resources are utilised to the fullest extent. Proximity to hardware allows companies to capture and analyse explosive amounts of data without spiraling costs.

At Seedcamp, we like to think of QuestDB as the Usain Bolt of databases. This is why we are thrilled to congratulate them on their $2.3 million seed round, led by Episode 1 Ventures, 7 percent Ventures, Y Combinator, Kima Ventures and several angels.

A preview of QuestDB’s user interface

QuestDB’s roots can be traced back to Vlad’s kitchen table. Having spent decades building low-latency software at leading banks and trading firms, Vlad began developing the open-source version of the software. In 2018, while working at a fintech startup, his passion project caught the attention of his co-workers and, now co-founders, Tancrede and Nicolas.

Today, the team is laser-focused on building QuestDB from the ground-up to avoid making similar mistakes seen within the database ecosystem.

In the past, “powerful hardware led programmers to neglect software efficiency,” Nicolas commented. “So far, throwing more hardware to mitigate bloated software has been typical. As Moore’s law comes to an end, we believe that the solution is to write lean and efficient code from the start. This is the premise of QuestDB and the reason we have written the entire stack ourselves, without any dependencies and fitting all the codebase in the smallest possible package.”

Currently, QuestDB is in production at several companies. The team is planning on using the round to build out an open-source community and develop an enterprise product.

“From DevOps metrics to data from IoT devices to stock prices, the need for real time data streaming is growing exponentially and this makes time series databases hugely  in-demand.” Sia Houchangnia, one of our investment partners, comments. “When we met Vlad, Nic and Tanc, what truly impressed us was the complementarity of their skillsets, their deep expertise in low-latency trading systems and the years of R&D that had already gone into building from scratch a 10x better product. The team has indeed achieved the feat of combining best in class performance with an ultra-low footprint, while maintaining minimal complexity by using SQL rather than a bespoke language.”

While still in its early days, QuestDB’s vision to build the fastest time-series database on an open-source community base is promising.

“At Seedcamp, we are also big believers in the fact that open source software is eating the world of enterprise software,” Houchangnia reflects upon. “We are therefore very excited to see that QuestDB has not only built an exceptional product but is also nurturing a vibrant open-source community.”

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