May 26, 2022

When it comes to data-intensive applications, infrastructure setup is costly and time consuming. You often pay for resources you don’t use, even in the cloud. This is where serverless solutions work best – you only pay for resources when you use them, not when they are idle.

Upstash, an early-stage startup, is building a serverless data platform for data-intensive app developers using a consumption-based pricing model that should help keep prices down. First, it supports two popular open source projects Redis and Kafka.

As Enes Akar, founder and CEO of Upstash, explained, setting up a database infrastructure in the cloud costs hundreds of dollars every month before you even move data through your system. While there are managed versions of these services, Shape wanted to further reduce transaction costs.

“In our system, you can have hundreds of Redis databases or hundreds of Kafka clusters, but if they don’t receive a request, you pay nothing,” he said.

Serverless does not mean the absence of servers. They are there, but developers don’t have to worry about features that meet demand. A serverless provider provides just that many resources and not much (at least that’s the principle).

Upstash is another way to keep prices down by balancing data requirements between memory and storage. “Our approach is that we store your data both in memory and on disk. And if you can’t access your data, we’ll delete it from memory and put it on disk. So it’s a secret sauce that allows us to have very flexible pricing,” he said.

Last year, a Turkish company launched this product at the end of 2020. In terms of size, Upstash already has over 13,000 developers using the product. The free tier is available for 10,000 requests per day. After that you have to pay and there is an enterprise level if you have more than 1000 commits per second.

It’s early in terms of paying customers with a small percentage of users paying for the service, but Size is looking ahead and trying to decide whether it will be developers and SMBs or whether the focus is on large enterprise customers who need more of a traditional sales movement. He says it’s still being worked on.

At the moment, the company has seven employees, all engineers, and plans to increase the number of employees to 10 this year and double it next year. He said his team has been all-male so far, but he recognizes the need to consider diversity when shaping his workforce.

“This is important because founders define culture. … now, unfortunately, all seven engineers are men. So we need to think about diversity.”

The company today announced a $1.9 million seed round from Mango Capital, AngelList, ScaleX Ventures and selected industry angels.

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