Former AWS engineer sets out to build a better log search engine

When ZincSearch founder Prabhat Sharma worked as a solutions architect at AWS, he helped customers implement a lot of tools on top of AWS infrastructure services. He noticed that most of the solutions that were designed to help companies sift through log data were from a different era, and those that weren’t, hadn’t really caught on in a big way.

He decided it was time to build a more modern alternative, and last August he began noodling with an idea. “I looked around, and then I saw that there were a couple of people who had tried building a couple of things. But none of them was actually good enough. So then I thought, let me give it a shot and see if I can build something.”

He spent several months developing what would become ZincSearch. In December, he put it on GitHub, and was happily surprised to find that it got some traction. The largest incumbent in this space is Elastic, the makers of ElasticSearch, a public company founded in 2012. He wanted to build something that was a modern alternative to that tool without some of the overhead he observed when he was at Amazon. So he set out to create a single binary that would set up quickly and not use a ton of RAM.

He believes that the solution he built is an improvement over what’s out there, and it appears that users agree. The launch generated some discussion on Hacker News and Reddit, and quickly built up 2,000 stars on GitHub — today the tool is approaching 8,000 stars, a sign that people are liking it.

This did not go unnoticed in venture circles, which monitor open source projects looking for potential companies to invest in. As investors reached out, Sharma realized he was on to something. In April, he left his job at Amazon to launch ZincSearch as a company.

The startup is still very early and still a work in progress as an alpha project, but Sharma has big plans. “Right now it is still in alpha, but I plan to make a general release within three to six months and offer a cloud service by the end of the year, most likely,” he said.

As he completes the administrative aspects of legally forming the company, which is only a couple of months old at this point, he is looking to hire six people by the end of year to help finish the open source project and launch the cloud version. As a first-time founder just putting the initial pieces of the company together, he is only beginning to think about hiring and how to bring in diverse employees, but he knows diverse teams perform better, and he says that he is looking at ways to make that happen.

The company announced a $3.6 million seed investment to help push his vision forward. The round was led by Nexus Venture Partners with participation from Dell Technologies Capital, Secure Octane, Cardinia Ventures and several tech industry leaders.