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StreamNative raises $23M for Apache Pulsar data streaming

Leading vendor behind the open source event streaming project raised new funds to help build out a cloud platform for event data and message streaming.

Messaging and event streaming vendor StreamNative said it raised $23 million in a Series A round of funding to grow its technology and go-to-market efforts.

StreamNative was founded in 2019 to accelerate adoption and development of the open source Apache Pulsar technology. Pulsar is a rival technology to Apache Kafka and provides a system for both event data and message streaming.

StreamNative's CEO and co-founder, Sijie Guo, helped create Pulsar while working as an engineer at Yahoo. StreamNative isn't Guo's first Pulsar startup either; he was also the co-founder of Streamlio, which was acquired by Splunk in 2019.

In this Q&A, Guo discusses the origins of Pulsar and details why StreamNative is raising money to help grow the technology.

StreamNative revealed the funding round on Sept. 14.

Why are you now raising a Series A?

Sijie Guo: Now is the right time, as we go from pure open source to commercialization. We launched our StreamNative cloud offering in mid-2020 and, since then, we have grown the number of customers we serve.

We know there is a lot of demand in the market and the technology has a market fit. We need the money to expand our team, to help accelerate product development and double down on marketing and sales in order to further grow the business.

Sijie GuoSijie Guo

What is the difference in your view between Pulsar and Kafka?

Guo: There is definitely an overlap between Pulsar and Kafka. But Pulsar is also very different from Kafka and it's not an apples-to-apples comparison.

Pulsar is a single unified system that combines both messaging and data event streaming together. Pulsar is a platform that deals with the entire lifecycle for real-time data in an enterprise.

Pulsar is not just dealing with the streaming component but also messaging; that is the huge difference between Pulsar and Kafka. Pulsar was also built after Kafka, which was built for virtual machines. We created Pulsar from scratch for containers and Kubernetes.

There is definitely an overlap between Pulsar and Kafka. But Pulsar is also very different from Kafka and it's not an apples-to-apples comparison.
Sijie GuoCo-founder and CEO, StreamNative

What is the StreamNative platform approach for Pulsar?

Guo: With the StreamNative cloud platform, the core is Pulsar, but we include additional functionality into that, including security, such as OAuth [open authorization] authentication and RBAC [role-based access control].

We also have the StreamNative console that provides an easy-to-use interface for people to manage and benefit from a self-service platform. So, it's not just about an administration dashboard, but it's also actually a self-service portal for organizations that buy StreamNative platform to offer a portal to their customer. Multiple teams can use the StreamNative console to access different portions of the data within an organization.

The StreamNative platform also includes a built-in integration with Apache Flink, which enables users to write queries to process the streaming data.

What do you see as the biggest challenge for users of event streaming technologies like Pulsar?

Guo: I think the most typical issue is the volume of data. The industry has really good solutions for dealing with large volume of static data. But for those dealing with lots of in-motion data that is not static, there aren't a lot of great options because it requires platforms to have the ability to dynamically scale up and down based on the incoming traffic.

So, having a system like Pulsar that dynamically scales to fit the data ingestion rate helps to solve one of the biggest challenges people are seeing in these at this stage.

Editor's note: This interview has been edited for clarity and conciseness.

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