Posted September 24, 2019

Companies want to process more data because more data leads to more insight and greater differentiation. As a result, many of the fastest growing sectors in the enterprise are around infrastructure for data, whether that’s warehousing, analytics, streaming, or visualization. 

However, while getting and processing more data may seem simple, the reality is that it can be incredibly difficult for companies to achieve. Underlying much of the problem is that data comes from many sources, none of which have standard interfaces. It comes from SaaS APIs, from logs, from files, and from all manner of databases. As such, the many silos of data make it effectively unusable.

This is where Fivetran comes in. Fivetran is a SaaS service that connects to the critical data sources in an organization, pulls and processes all the data, and then dumps it into a warehouse (e.g., Snowflake, BigQuery or RedShift) for SQL access and further transformations, if needed. If data is the new oil, then Fivetran is the pipes that get it from the source to the refinery. 

I’m tremendously excited to announce that we’re leading Fivetran’s Series B, and I will be taking a board seat. Let me explain why we think Fivetran is so special. 

Fivetran has already established itself as the leader in this emerging and incredibly important space. Prior to investing, we found ourselves running into it everywhere: our portfolio, companies we were diligencing, and public companies we have relationships with. Heck, we are even customers at a16z! Over 750+ companies worldwide, including WeWork, Square, DocuSign, Lime and Optimizely, work with Fivetran.

Customers love Fivetran. The general category for this sort of product is ETL (Extract, Transform and Load), which has traditionally been characterized by incredibly complex products that often require a services arm to configure and operate. In contrast, Fivetran is so unbelievably simple to set up, even I was able to do it! Users get a seamless experience, while under the hood Fivetran has delivered robust and modern technology. Their automated approach improves data integrity compared to the error-prone manual configurations of the past. Once the service is up and running, Fivetran consistently and automatically provides you with reliable access to your data, day in and day out. 

Fivetran supports hundreds of connectors to the most common (and not so common) data sources used throughout the industry. This alone is a tremendous feat and sets Fivetran apart. It’s also a testimony to the determination of its founders, George Fraser and Taylor Brown. George and Taylor started Fivetran six years ago and were in the 2013 YC batch. Since then, they’ve been plugging away at building integrations with the long, complex tail of data sources. This manner of problem has few shortcuts and can only be done through patience, grit, and a lot of hard work. 

Most importantly, we fully believe in the founders’ vision as the future of ETL. George and Taylor have a simple mission: to be the pipes that connect data from the source to the warehouse, and to do that while bearing the full burden of the massive complexity of all of those sources without exposing it to the user. This aesthetic is simple to write, yet incredibly difficult to execute on, but they’ve done it! As they continue to add to the product and push it to support more data, more sources, and more features (such as advanced transformations), they’ve stayed true to their overriding design goal and we think that’s exactly as it should be. 

We’re incredibly excited to be partnering with Fivetran as they push the industry towards the data-heavy future.