Aiven, a Finnish startup that helps companies combine various open source technologies with public cloud infrastructure resources, announced a $60 million investment on a $2 billion valuation today. The news follows a $100 million investment in March at an $800 million valuation, a hefty increase in such a short time.
World Innovation Lab and IVP co-led the round with participation from Atomico — all existing investors. Today’s round, which is considered an extension of that $100 million C round announced in March, brings the total amount raised to $210 million, according to Crunchbase data.
Company CEO and co-founder Oskari Saarenmaa says the company helps take the complexity out of managing open source projects in the cloud. “We started working on Aiven back in 2015 and we wanted to create a cloud data platform that we would have liked to have used ourselves [when we were working as engineers prior to creating the company]. We created this cloud operations platform that could turn the best open source data technologies into managed services on any public cloud.”
The company works with a portfolio of nine open source data technologies, including Kafka, Cassandra, OpenSearch and Grafana. Saarenmaa points out that they don’t simply commercialize these technologies, they also contribute to the communities building these tools as well. In fact, they recently formed a team of 10 engineers devoted specifically to writing code for the open source projects that are part of their product portfolio.
If you’re thinking that many of these tools already have startups built on top of these open source technologies, you’re right. He acknowledged that they do overlap sometimes with companies that have their own cloud services built around open source tooling such as Confluent does with Apache Kafka, but they are trying to package it in a way that simplifies it for the customers even more by providing the public cloud infrastructure, as well as the open source data technology required for any data processing project.
Part of the reason the company is attracting this kind of investment is that it is growing quickly and currently boasts 700 customers across 50 countries around the world. They are also working with some ISVs to increase the company’s market reach further.
They have grown from a team of 40 people pre-pandemic, adding more than 200 employees since March 2020, with plans to continue building the team. As they do, Saarenmaa says they are making diversity a priority. “It is very important for us to be able to bring in leaders who candidates can really connect and identify with. I don’t think there’s any other option than to make diversity one of the top priorities,” he said. That said, he admits that the staff still tilts heavily male, even as he is trying to change that.
He says that in spite of the substantial valuation, the company sees great value in remaining private for the time being. “It makes a lot of sense for us to continue being an independent company and growing on this path that we’ve chosen, but that doesn’t mean we don’t see becoming a public company at some point. It is likely that is the way we are thinking, but we’re not exactly working on filing our S-1,” he joked.