Macrometa, a startup developing what it calls a “global data network” (GDN) built on edge computing services, announced it had closed a $20M Series A funding found. The new round has Pelion Venture Partners the lead investor, joining DNX Ventures, Benhamou Global Ventures (BGV), Partech Partners, Fusion Fund, Sway Ventures, and Shasta Ventures. Macrometa raised a $7M seed round in October 2020.
The funding comes at a time when cloud-centric data warehousing and analytics companies are going public with sky-high valuations, and many new and emerging companies in the database and data processing companies are targeting a $65 billion-plus addressable market opportunity. These companies are aiming to fill out a wide array of data storage and processing needs, but are doing so in the context of a relatively centralized cloud infrastructure to support those needs. Macrometa wants to carve out a different slice of the market and is doing so with a distributed edge database.
“We started in a very different place from the spectrum and started to build a platform,” said Chetan Venkatesh, Macrometa’s co-founder and CEO. This isn’t Venkatesh’s first data rodeo—he has spent the last 20 years in database technology and has helped build three different companies in areas such as software-defined storage. One thing he says he’s learned: “I always come away with a deep appreciation for the fact that data and state is a very expensive, complex problem.”
The challenge of moving data is one of the key reasons behind the rise of edge computing. In short, the idea is to move the processing closer to where data is created. Where Macrometa comes into the picture is in enabling developers to build stateful applications. A stateful application saves client or application data from a session which can be used in a subsequent session. Saved data is referred to as the application’s state. Saved data needs to be stored. Storing and processing data in hundreds of distributed locations presents a very hard challenge.
“We asked, ‘What’s the architecture of that (database)in an edge native world?’ and we realized that there was a fundamental difference between what was in the cloud, and it could not be generalized to run at the edge,” Venkatesh said. He boils the challenge down to these essential requirements: develop technology for ‘write heavy’ applications instead of only focusing on reading data; have a low-latency event-driven architecture that can handle different data types and data stores; lastly, be able to guarantee data is replicated quickly to other locations without the bottleneck of a centralized broker/controller. Last but not least: don’t require developers to change how they build applications.
What is a GDN?
Macrometa describes the GDN as a combination of a globally distributed noSQL database, a low latency stream data processing engine and service runtime that is integrated and sold as a cloud service. The result: Macrometa claims that the mean roundtrip time (RTT) for requests to travel back and forth between a user’ phone or laptop to Macrometa’s edge cloud is less than 50 milliseconds globally — a claimed 50-100 times faster than what current cloud platforms like DynamoDB, MongoDB, or Firebase can deliver. The company estimates that using the service can cut cloud database and server costs by 70% or more.
Venkatesh said that the company has built up a customer base that includes network and telecom service providers (network and IT systems monitoring), enterprises (data ingest and data pipeline for analytics), SaaS and web services providers (application acceleration, application and data localization), among others.
When we first talked with Macrometa in 2018, the company was still in the process of building out its value proposition and its target customers. Judging growth by a straightforward, if crude, metric, the company has gone from 25 PoPs in 2018 to 175 PoPs in 2021. Look for more integrations and strategic partnerships with CDN and telecom companies such as the recently announced Cloudflare partnership to drive the expansion of the company’s service footprint in 2021.
Accelerating revenue growth outside of the high-value enterprise deals Macrometa has secured will require the development of a strategic message and the deployment of marketing dollars. SaaS and web application developers are the market that will offer the best combination of sales velocity and volume in the next 12 months.
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