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Starburst brings in $250M to advance data mesh aspirations

The vendor continues on its path toward an initial public offering, as demand for its open source Trino-based data lake query engine platform grows.

Starburst revealed on Wednesday that it raised $250 million in a Series D round of funding, giving the company a valuation of $3.35 billion and advancing its data mesh technology aspirations.

Starburst, based in Boston, is the leading commercial vendor behind the open source Trino query engine, which enables organizations to query data lakes for data analytics applications.

The vendor's last funding round was in January 2021, when it raised $100 million.

Alongside the new funding, the vendor unveiled what it refers to as data product functionality, a feature that provides users with an inventory of data assets, across data lakes as well as database sources, that users can then use for data science and analytics.

"Managing and analyzing data spread across distributed environments is a growing concern for enterprises, as data is increasingly generated and stored in multiple clouds, as well as on-premises data centers," said Matt Aslett, an analyst at Ventana Research.

Aslett noted that Starburst is helping enterprises deal with a distributed environment for data with the vendor's portfolio of capabilities that enable data sharing and federated queries across data sources.

"Starburst has been expanding beyond its initial focus on analytics acceleration using Trino to also address the broader data management and query requirements associated with distributed environments," Aslett said.

Starburst looks to data mesh

The Starburst Enterprise platform has a capability that Starburst refers to as a "data product," which is generally available now.

Managing and analyzing data spread across distributed environments is a growing concern for enterprises, as data is increasingly generated and stored in multiple clouds, as well as on-premises data centers.
Matt AslettAnalyst, Ventana Research

Colleen Tartow, director of engineering at Starburst, explained that Starburst is looking to enable a data mesh, which she defined as a loosely coupled set of data sources that could span multiple clouds, data lakes and even databases.

The data product is a module in the Starburst platform that enables data engineers to curate and organize data. The idea behind the data product module is to give data consumers all the information without needing to manually determine where the source data resides.

"The data product allows the data producers, the people who know the data best, to provide all the context for the users to come in and consume those data sets for data science and analytics," Tartow said.

Providing a curated set of data resources is sometimes associated with the concept of a data catalog. Starburst CEO and co-founder Justin Borgman said the Starburst data product does have some similarities with a data catalog, but he emphasized that the data catalog and data product are not the same thing.

The data product is a combination of metadata about a particular source of data and the ability to create a data source, Borgman said. A data product can span multiple tables across different data sources, which can all be combined into a view that can be queried and used in the data product.

Screenshot of Starburst data product
Starburst now enables users to assemble multiple data sets and sources into a single curated data product that can then be used for data science or analytics.

Beyond data mesh, on path to IPO

With the new funding, Borgman said the vendor is looking to expand sales and go-to-market operations, as well as to continue to invest in product development. With the new funding, he said it's also possible Starburst could acquire a smaller data startup to supplement and advance Starburst's existing capabilities.

Beyond that, with the substantial new funding in hand, the future for Starburst is likely to see the vendor filing for an IPO.

"At this point, we're very focused on building a big public company," Borgman said.

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