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Starburst Looks To Boost Data Lake Analytics With Acquisition

Rick Whiting

In the company’s first acquisition – but probably not its last – Starburst has acquired Varada, an Israeli developer of data analytics acceleration technology.


Data analytics software provider Starburst has acquired Varada, an Israeli developer of data lake analytics acceleration technology, the companies said Thursday.

The acquisition is Starburst’s first and CEO Justin Borgman said that with his company well-financed by its venture capital backers, other acquisitions are possible.

“Given the current economic climate and the changes in venture fundraising, all that is going to create opportunities for us to make more acquisitions now,” Borgman (pictured) said in an interview with CRN.

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Starburst develops a data analytics engine, based on the open-source Trino distributed SQL query technology, that speeds up analytics tasks for data in data warehouses, data lakes and data mesh systems. The company, founded in 2017 and based in Boston, offers its analytics capabilities through its Starburst Enterprise software and cloud-based Starburst Galaxy service.

Varada, based in Tel Aviv, develops software that specifically accelerates data analysis queries on data lake systems or “data lakehouses.” Starburst is building the Varada technology into its own systems, which Starburst said will speed up data lake query times by a factor of seven and reduce cloud compute costs by 40 percent.

“It‘s really a perfect fit for our technology. They built their technology to work with our technology. So it’s a very natural acquisition,” Borgman said.

“It just makes our stuff faster,” the CEO continued. “And it does that through this smart indexing technology that is effectively indexing and caching data on the basis of the workloads that a customer is running and allows for faster queries. So we get, on average, a 7x performance boost, which is substantial. And we can also help customers save money because it allows them to run on smaller clusters, which means potentially saving some of their AWS costs or whatever cloud they run on. So faster and cheaper analytics in a data lake.”

Because of the existing links between the Starburst and Varada technologies, the company expects to make the integrated products available to select customers within the next 30 days and make them generally available by this fall.

Favorable Acquisition Environment

The terms of the acquisition, which closed June 20, were not disclosed. Starburst is bringing on board 17 Varada employees, including the company’s co-founders and principals, and will maintain the Tel Aviv office.

“We are pleased to join Starburst and bring our innovative technology to a global audience,” said Roman Vainbrand, Varada co-founder and vice president of R&D, in a statement. “We believe the combined Starburst and Varada solution will deliver the best performance and cost benefits in the analytics query market, enabling organizations to accelerate the time-to-insight, while optimizing infrastructure operations and investments.”

Starburst raised $100 million in Series C financing in January 2021 and another $250 million in Series D funding in February of this year – the latter putting the company’s valuation at $3.35 billion. Borgman said that capital provides the company with more than enough funding to pursue acquisitions.

And Borgman said that more early-stage startups may be available for acquisition. With the uncertain economy and plunging stock markets, startups’ potential valuations are lower and it’s becoming harder for them to raise venture capital financing. So more startups may look to be acquired.

“It gives us the opportunity to look for startups that will have a harder time continuing to raise [funding] at the valuations that maybe they could have raised a year ago and that creates [acquisition] opportunities,” Borgman said.