Airbyte: Open-source ETL startup goes from zero to unicorn in 2 years

Michael Tricot and John Lafleur must be patting themselves on the back. In just under two years, their Airbyte startup has progressed from nothing to a $1.5 billion valuation and $181.2 million funding to develop its open-source Extract-Transform-and-Load (ETL) data analytics-feeding technology.

Airbyte started up in January 2020 with the aim of building open-source connectors from data sources to data lakes and warehouses. These would replace proprietary tools and also enable feeds from less popular data sources ignored by proprietary suppliers as being of too little value – long tail connectors. Progress was rapid; within 17 months, Airbyte claims it caught up with the ETL incumbents with 150 connectors running Docker containers and deployable in minutes on any platform.

Co-founder and CEO Michael Tricot said: “With the rise of the modern data warehouses, our mission is to power all the organisations’ data movement and doesn’t end at ELT. By the end of 2022, we will cover more types of data movement, including reverse-ETL and streaming ingestion.”

Michael Tricot (left) and John Lafleur (right)

Tricot, a former director of engineering and head of integrations at Liveramp and RideOS, founded Airbyte with John Lafleur. Lafleur is described as a serial entrepreneur of dev’ tools and B2B technology. A year after starting it up, and in a 12-month period, they took in $£6.2 million seed funding, then a $25 million A-round and, such was their progress, have just raised $150 million in a B-round. This B-round was led by Altimeter Capital and Coatue Management, also including Thrive Capital, Salesforce Ventures, Benchmark, Accel, SV Angel.

San Francisco-based Airbyte launched a compute time-based cloud service for its connectors in October. Its software enables businesses to create data pipelines from sources such as PostgreSQL, MySQL, Facebook Ads, Salesforce, Stripe, and connect to destinations that include Redshift, Snowflake, and BigQuery.

It also announced a community-based participative model in which it plans to share revenues with connector contributors. Airbyte expects  to have a roster of 500 connectors by the end of 2022. 

Jamin Ball, a partner at Altimeter Capital, provided a statement: “Airbyte has already made a huge impact in a very short period of time and has more than 1,000 companies lined up to take advantage of its Airbyte Cloud data service that is starting to roll out. There is tremendous market momentum on top of Airbyte’s disruptive model to involve its users in building the ecosystem around its data integration platform.”

Blocks and Files has never come across a startup until now, which, in less than 24 months, has gone from founding to a $1.5 billion valuation, and taken in $181.2 million across seed, A- and B-rounds in its second year. 

In September, in the context of Fivetran raising $565 million in a single round,  we talked about the notion of a funding frenzy for companies involved in sourcing and storing data for analytics. We calculate that 2021 saw a grand total of $6.3 billion in storage-related startup funding across 30 companies, with $5.0 billion of that going into data preparation and storage for analytics startups – quite the funding frenzy.

Here is yet more evidence, with Airbyte, that the investing community is seeing an astoundingly vast opportunity in this field. Soon, it appears, virtually every enterprise on Earth will be gathering data about its sales and operations for analysis.