Ahana raises $20M for Presto database amid cloud analytics boom

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Ahana, a San Mateo, California-based provider of cloud data lake services, today announced that it raised $20 million in a series A round led by Third Point Ventures, with participation from GV, Leslie Ventures, and Lux Capital. Cofounder and CEO Steven Mih says that the capital will be used to scale Ahana’s products and grow its go-to-market teams to drive customer adoption in the expanding cloud analytics market.

In 2020, startups developing traditional databases took in $2.3 billion in funding across 54 deals, up from $849 million in 2019, according to CB Insights. While few companies in the database and big data analytics space are better known than Snowflake and Databricks, smaller rivals — as well as incumbents like Oracle, Teradata, and MongoDB — are trying to snag a piece of the pie. The global big data analytics market was valued at $37.34 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $105.08 billion by 2027, Research and Markets reports. The uptick is being driven in part by the adoption of cloud database platforms — Gartner anticipates that 75% of all databases will be deployed or migrated to a cloud platform by 2022.

Founded by Mih and Dipti Borkar in April 2020 during the pandemic as an all-remote operation, Ahana claims to be the only commercial company focused on Presto, the open source project hosted by the Linux Foundation’s Presto Foundation and used by Facebook, Uber, and Twitter among others. Presto is a distributed structured query language (SQL) query engine for delivering analytical insights from data lakes and other federated data sources. With Presto, data engineers and analysts can run interactive, ad hoc analytics on large amounts of data in data lakes and other databases without the need to move data. Ahana aims to makes it easier for engineers to take advantage of Presto without having to get under the hood themselves.

“In 2020, Ahana became the first and only Presto company focused on growing the Presto community and bringing to market a fully integrated, cloud-native Presto software-as-a-service managed service for Amazon Web Services (AWS),” Mih told VentureBeat via email. “[We’re looking to] evangelize Presto in the open source community and collaboration with Facebook, Uber, Intel, and other Presto Foundation members to drive a strong open source roadmap.”

Data analytics

Mih asserts that, as an open source company, Ahana can provide better ease of use with its managed service compared with other Presto offerings bundled by cloud service providers, like Amazon Athena. The sales pitch goes that Ahana’s service enables data platform teams to provide SQL analytics on their data sources, with the ultimate goal of helping to derive insights from data lakes.

“As businesses become more data driven, they have interactive querying use cases for reporting and dashboarding, data science, and federation of data sources. Ahana … addresses these SQL use cases with open source Presto. This enables businesses and their customers to make better decisions,” Mih said.

Ahana claims to have dozens of customers and a workforce of 35 employees, which it expects will grow to over 100 employees by the end of the year. According to Mih, this latest funding round will allow the company to research and prototype “new innovations” that could help query engines work better based on real workloads, as opposed to statistics. “It will certainly be one of the areas we’ll invest in — that is, to leverage machine learning to make our product more cost effective and efficient,” he added.

The series A brings Ahana’s total raised to date to $24.8 million. Previously, the company closed seed rounds totaling $4.8 million.

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