OMERS Growth Equity Backs US Data Analytics Startup Imply in US$100 Million Series D

Burlingame, Calif., Imply has secured US$100 million to expand the reach of its real-time data analytics platform.

The Canadian-led American startup, which was founded by the original creators of the Apache Druid open-source project, offers a database designed to help developers build data analytics applications.

“We are excited about the company’s tremendous TAM, strong product and exceptional management team.”
-Warda Shaheen

Imply co-founder and CEO Fangjin “FJ” Yang, a Canadian and two-time University of Waterloo grad now based in San Francisco, said the number of use cases for the base offering company’s analytics data has “exponentially grown”.

The expansion is part of what attracted private equity firm Thoma Bravo, which led Imply’s Series D funding, and its new investor OMERS Growth Equity.

Warda Shaheen, director of OMERS Growth Equity and co-head of software, told BetaKit that Imply faces “a multi-billion dollar opportunity in the early stages of adoption.”

“We are excited about the huge [total addressable market]a strong product and an outstanding management team,” added Shaheen.

The all-equity Series D round also saw participation from existing investors from Imply Bessemer Venture Funds, Andreessen Horowitz and Khosla Ventures. In response to questions from BetaKit, Imply did not confirm whether the round involved secondary capital. If everything is primary, the round brings Imply’s total funding to $215 million and gives the company a valuation of $1.1 billion.

Imply’s database allows developers to create interactive data experiences on streaming and batch data. The startup’s customer base includes Salesforce, Atlassian, Reddit, Intercontinental Exchange, Adobe, Amazon, Pepsi, and Walmart.

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Robert (Tre) Sayle, partner at Thoma Bravo, described Imply as “on the cusp of an evolution in the analytics market”, adding that the company is helping to open up “a whole new world of analytics use cases. analysis and economic value”.

According to Shaheen, Imply has benefited from the shift from traditional “transactional” or “batch” databases to “more instantaneous, real-time databases that process information ‘live’.” Amid the proliferation of cloud-based and IoT data, Shaheen asserts that “the value of real-time analytics will only multiply over the next few decades.”

Shaheen, who leads OMERS Growth Equity’s software vertical alongside Mark Shulgan, previously led investments in Quebec-based research, artificial intelligence and analytics company Coveo, Toronto restaurant software startup TouchBistro, Burnaby legaltech unicorn Clio, a San Francisco-based document workflow company PandaDoc and developer operations platform GitLab, among others.

According to Shaheen, OMERS Growth Equity has been following the data and analytics industry closely for the past few years.

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“We believe Imply is a market leader in its niche,” Shaheen said. “While there are competing products, we believe the vast majority of the addressable market is not penetrated today, which provides strong prospects for future growth.”

Shaheen expects the need for databases that support real-time analytics to increase over the next few years. “We think people don’t realize how early the data and analytics industry is still in the adoption curve,” she added.

Yang, who is also a C100 member, grew up in Canada and received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo, where he later completed his master’s degree in computer engineering, the latter paid for by Cisco. , which he joined after graduating as an R&D engineer.

After leaving Cisco, Yang served as a principal engineer at Metamarkets, the San Francisco adtech startup for nearly four years, which was later acquired by Snapchat parent company Snap in 2017. Metamarkets created Apache Druid, an open source analytics database.

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Yang co-founded Imply in 2015, teaming up with two other Metamarkets alumni in Imply CTO Gian Merlino and Chief Experience Officer Vadim Ogievetsky, who both worked as software engineers at Metamarkets.

Imply’s D-series cycle follows the recent launch of the Imply Polaris product in March, a fully managed database-as-a-service offering built on top of Apache Druid. The startup plans to use the new capital to further develop Imply Polaris, advance open source Druid, and expand its global presence.

Imply currently has approximately 220 employees, of which 5-10 are based in Canada in product, engineering and marketing functions. By the end of the year, the startup plans to increase its staff to 300. Yang told BetaKit that the startup’s global expansion plans include Canada, where Imply intends to expand its workforce and its presence at somewhere between 10 and 20 employees.

Image courtesy Imply.

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Steven L. Nielsen