Back in 2015, Israeli startup Everything.me announced that it is shutting down and halting all operations. So far sounds like countless other startup stories. However, wanting to ensure some good karma down the road, CTO and co-founder (later also Head of R&D at Facebook Israel) Joey Simhon announced that the company would leave an inheritance for all the developers out there. The company decided to offer all its code and developing tools as open-source. “That was always how we operated and it just felt right to leave our mark so that our efforts wouldn’t go to waste. We would be proud If anything we developed inspired or helped someone else,” said Simhon back in the day.
One of the tools left for the market was Redash, which is an open-source tool that allows users to easily connect to an organization’s database and begin to construct a query-based visual dashboard. The man who took charge of the project was Arik Fraimovich, who also was leading the project at Everything.me, and kept on developing it as free open source code and as a paid service, which had companies like SoundCloud, Mozilla, Cloudflare, and Waze attached on as customers.
In a conversation with Geektime, Fraimovich tells that at times he was the only employee on payroll, allowing the company to continue on as a startup without any major investment: “We were profitable from day one.” The only capital that came in at the time was less than $100k from a competition ran by Aleph Fund.
Why would you purchase an open-source project?
Databricks founder, Reynold Xin explains that the company first heard about Redash a few years ago by way of its customers, and over the years, more and more of them demanded to tighten the bond between the two companies. Xin tells that at the beginning of 2020, Databricks invited Redash CEO and founder Arik Fraimovich in for a meeting to inquire about a potential collaboration between the two. “Within just two hours it was obvious that both companies have a lot in common,” Xin explains.
Fraimovich confirms that there was immediate chemistry: “We talked, and realized that there was not only a personal admiration but a shared vision regarding company culture. I made a presentation explaining what Redash is and where we’re headed. Then I went on their website and saw that not only were our goals the same but we shared the same vision… It just felt natural.”
We began negotiations a few months ago, but then the threat of the pandemic crisis set hovering overhead, nevertheless, the deal kept on course: “We weren’t worried that they would back out, because throughout the whole process they were the ones with their foot on the gas and they had the means to get it done (a little over $500 million in the bank). Moreover, we were already a profitable company and weren’t dependent on this deal going through,” Fraimovich proudly explains.
It’s already open-source, why would anyone acquire you?
Fraimovich: “They definitely could have used the product without us, but their goal wasn’t what we had done, but rather what we could do if we keep developing this product, as part of Databricks’ platform and as open-source, and for that they needed our team. We know the ins and outs of the project, its optimal operation, how to run it as Saas model servicing thousands of customers, as well as envision where we can take it next.”
The Redash team will continue to work under Databricks, developing the open-source project as well as expanding on the SaaS model which will be offered to Databricks’ customers.