As companies increasingly rely on data to run their businesses, having accurate sources of data becomes paramount. Stemma, a new early-stage startup, has come up with a solution, a managed data catalogue that acts as an organization’s source of truth.
Today the company announced a $4.8 million seed investment led by Sequoia with assorted individual tech luminaries also participating. The product is also available for the first time today.
Company co-founder and CEO Mark Grover says the product is actually built on top of the open-source Amundsen data catalogue project that he helped launch at Lyft to manage its massive data requirements. The problem was that with so much data, employees had to kludge together systems to confirm the data validity. Ultimately manual processes like asking someone in Slack or even creating a Wiki failed under the weight of trying to keep up with the volume and velocity.
“I saw this problem firsthand at Lyft, which led me to create the open-source Amundsen project with a team of talented engineers,” Grover said. That project has 750 users at Lyft using it every week. Since it was open-sourced, 35 companies like Brex, Snap and Asana have been using it.
What Stemma offers is a managed version of Amundsen that adds functionality like using intelligence to show data that’s meaningful to the person who is searching in the catalogue. It also can add metadata automatically to data as it’s added to the catalogue, creating documentation about the data on the fly, among other features.
The company launched last fall when Grover and co-founder and CTO Dorian Johnson decided to join forces and create a commercial product on top of Amundsen. Grover points out that Lyft was supportive of the move.
Today the company has five employees, in addition to the founders, and has plans to add several more this year. As he does that, he is cognizant of diversity and inclusion in the hiring process. “I think it’s super important that we continue to invest in diversity, and the two ways that I think are the most meaningful for us right now is to have early employees that are from diverse groups, and that is the case within the first five,” he said. Beyond that, he says that as the company grows he wants to improve the ratio, while also looking at diversity in investors, board members and executives.
The company, which launched during COVID, is entirely remote right now and plans to remain that way for at least the short term. As the company grows, they will look at ways to build camaraderie, like organizing a regular cadence of employee offsite events.