Upstash raises $1.9 million seed to build serverless data platform for Redis and Kafka – TechCrunch


When it comes to data-intensive applications, setting up the infrastructure is expensive and time-consuming. You often pay for resources you don’t use, even in the cloud. That’s where serverless plays best – you only pay for the resources when you use them, not when they’re idle.

Upstash, an early stage startup, is building a serverless data platform for developers of data-intensive applications using a consumption-based pricing model, which should help drive down prices. For starters, it supports Redis and Kafka, two popular open source projects.

As Upstash founder and CEO Enes Akar explained, setting up database infrastructure in the cloud costs hundreds of dollars a month, even before you start moving data through your system. While there are managed versions of these services, Akar wanted to remove even more of the operational overhead.

“In our system, you can have hundreds of Redis databases or hundreds of Kafka clusters, but if they don’t receive requests, you pay zero,” he said.

Serverless does not mean that there are no servers. They’re there, but developers don’t have to worry about amenities to meet demand. The serverless provider provides exactly the amount of resources and no more (at least that’s the theory).

Another way Upstash can keep prices low is by balancing the data requirements between memory and storage. “Our approach is that we keep your data both in memory and on disk. And if you can’t access your data, we’ll delete it from memory and keep it on disk. So this is the secret sauce that allows us to give very flexible pricing,” he said.

The company, based in Turkey, launched in late 2020 with the product last year. According to Akar, Upstash already has more than 13,000 developers using the product. A free tier is available for up to 10,000 requests per day. After that you have to pay, and if you have more than 1,000 commits per second, there is an enterprise tier.

It’s early in terms of paying customers with a small percentage of users paying for the service, but Akar is looking ahead and trying to decide whether to focus on developers and small and medium-sized businesses or larger corporate customers, who need more of a traditional sales movement. It is still being worked on, he says.

So far, the company has seven employees, all engineers, with plans to reach 10 this year and double again next year. He said his team is only made up of men so far, but he recognizes the need to take diversity into account when building his workforce.

“That’s important because the founders determine the culture. …Right now, unfortunately, all seven engineers are men. So we need to think about diversity,” he said.

The company today announced a $1.9 million seed round from Mango Capital, AngelList, ScaleX Ventures and individual industry angels.

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