Exciting news in the startup space as US startup Vendia have just secured a series A funding round of $15.5M. Here’s some detail on the deal, but let’s explore why this is exciting…
“Vendia has raised a $15.5M Series A round, led by Canvas Ventures with participation from BMWi Ventures, Sorenson Ventures, and our existing seed investors, including Neotribe Ventures, Correlation Ventures, WestWave Capital, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Firebolt Ventures, and Future\Perfect Ventures. Vendia has raised a total of $20.6M since its incorporation in March of 2020.”
Who are Vendia?
In short, it’s a company driven by Tim Wagner (Lambda’s founder) and Shruthi Rao (ex-AWS Blockchain) to plug a gap in the data market. The pitch is simple:
- Share data and code with partners in real time, without giving up control.
- Synchronize data across multiple parties & clouds at 93% cost savings.
Everyone says “data is the new oil” – that’s good. But imagine no-one could get access to the oil field you owned? This is the problem that many companies have, they have data, but it is stuck in a silo and difficult for consumers to make use of it.
Vendia has created a product called “Vendia Share” that will help you leverage your data. How? They have used Serverless and blockchain to design an approach for data sharing that is consistent with the serverless mantra:
- Simple to use.
- Create production-grade solutions quickly.
- Reduced operational overhead.
- Scales and priced per use – scales up and down when needed automatically.
One quote from the press release was quite telling:
Grace Isford of Canvas Ventures shared her thoughts on the opportunity Vendia represents:
“Fortune 500 companies are struggling to share data across internal siloes, let alone share data securely. An increasing pace of regulatory requirements adds further complexity, with nearly 80% of business data living outside of an organization’s four walls. After scouring the DataOps landscape, we were impressed by Vendia’s turn-key data-sharing solution, enabling organizations to share data immutably at scale—with just a few lines of code. AWS powerhouses Tim Wagner (Lambda’s founder) and Shruthi Rao (AWS Blockchain) have joined forces to build a state-of-the-art serverless-blockchain platform that is poised to be the new standard for data sharing.”
Why is this different?
If you have ever worked with data at scale or across departments/companies, you will be aware of the complexity of data engineering, the security concerns, the challenge of tracking your data (as it changes – data lineage) and the cost from vendors in the space. Yes it can be done, but at a considerable cost.
I will not attempt to explain what you can read for yourself on the Vendia site but they are using Cloud Native, Serverless, Blockchain and AI/ML to create a very compelling approach. This may seem like a list of buzzwords, but for every technology set there is a time when it reaches its full potential.
This company will be one to watch as they start to work through the use cases. I imagine they will be very transparent about what industry they are tackling as they go. It looks like there is an initial focus on Supply Chain. I also like how an initial focus is to create a developer platform – it’s the engineers that will make this work.
What is a Uni?
There are a few links below, so I’ll not get into the technical detail, but there are four key concepts:
Developers can create a single application that “represents” the data and that can be pushed out to multiple locations. The underlying technology will ensure that the data is always in synch. Expect to hear the term “Uni” in the future – it will be at the centre of some great things.
And how is that distributed?
The team have come up with a term called STAMTI – basically a Single Application on multiple Infrastructure. This is worth a read as it addresses a real pain point.
So is that the Blockchain bit?
No, blockchain (or Distributed Ledger) is used to ensure that a piece of data written in to this system as a “ledger entry” cannot be changed. Which means it can exist in multiple places and the integrity of that value will not be broken – very important for data lineage.
The secret sauce
I believe this is possible by two things. 1/ The serverless mindset means the team are ruthless about the value proposition and not tying themselves up with tech they don’t need. It also scales as needed and the pricing model is pay-per-use. 2/ They are using CDK (Cloud Development Kit), a favourite of ours to create the infrastructure. CDK is why they can programmatically create STAMTI at scale and not get into a maintenance mess. This may be over some readers heads, but if the team had been doing this in Cloud Formation or Kubernetes – it would be a dead duck.
What’s really exciting here is the applications of this powerful platform. The team are approaching it the right way and letting it loose on the development community. One to watch…