The 10 Hottest Big Data Startups Of 2020 (So Far)

Businesses and organizations today are turning to next-generation database software and data management tools to help them manage the huge volumes of data they generate and collect. Here’s a look at 10 companies that offer ground-breaking big data software to help solution providers and their customers achieve those goals.

Increasing Big Data Volume And Velocity Drives Innovative Startups

Many businesses and organizations today are struggling to keep up with big data that’s growing in volume, expanding in variety and accelerating in speed. Just managing big data is a challenge, let alone deriving value from that data by extracting useful insight and leveraging information for competitive advantage.

See the latest entry: The 10 Hottest Big Data Startups of 2022

Demands for better ways to manage big data is fueling the momentum of a wave of startups developing the next generation of database software and data management tools.

Here’s a look at 10 big data startups with ground-breaking products—including next-generation database software and data management tools—that have caught our attention so far in 2020.

For more of the biggest startups, products and news stories of 2020, click here.


Top Executive: Steven Mih, Co-Founder, CEO

Headquarters: San Mateo, Calif.

Ahana is one of several companies building big data systems around Presto, a high-performance, distributed SQL query engine for big data residing in a variety of data sources. Presto originally was developed by Facebook for querying data in the company’s multi-petabyte data warehouse. Facebook open-sourced the Presto technology in 2013.

Ahana recently emerged from stealth and is developing ad-hoc analytics software around PrestoDB, an open-source project based on the Presto technology. In early June the company said that it had raised $2.25 million in seed funding led by GV (formerly Google Ventures), money the company will use to expand its technical team and accelerate its development work.


Top Executive: Adrian Knapp, CEO

Headquarters: Santa Monica, Calif.

Aparavi, a provider of file backup and data protection products, debuted its Data Intelligence and Automation Platform in March, touting the system as the answer for how companies can deal with data chaos, risk and opportunity in a distributed IT world.

The Aparavi platform is used to find, classify, automate and govern distributed data across on-premises and cloud systems for a range of tasks including data discovery, data retention and access, data storage and protection, and data governance, risk and compliance. The system provides analytics, machine learning and collaboration tools with access to distributed data, helping users transform it into a competitive asset.

Cockroach Labs

Top Executive: Spencer Kimball, Co-Founder, CEO

Headquarters: New York

Cockroach Labs has been gaining attention with its CockroachDB, a distributed relational database system that’s designed to support next-generation, cloud-native transactional applications. In October 2019 the startup launched CockroachCloud, a fully managed distributed edition of its database.

In May the company raised $86.6 million in a new round of financing, bringing the startup’s total financing to $195.1 million.


Top Executive: Nir Livneh, Founder, CEO

Headquarters: Sunnyvale, Calif.

Businesses and organizations are generating a lot more data today and that means a lot more data needs to be moved between systems—often in real time. Equalum markets a data ingestion platform for developing and managing batch and streaming data pipelines for such tasks as data warehouse ETL (extract, transform and load), data consolidation into data lakes, and continuous data replication for change data capture. Equalum touts the “infinite speed and scalability” of its technology and its ability to develop data pipelines with zero coding.


Top Executive: Nick Halsey, CEO

Headquarters: San Francisco

Providing user access to increasingly large volumes of data—“democratizing access” is the buzz term—while enforcing data security and data governance policies is becoming a major challenge. Okera has developed a platform that IT managers use to automatically discover and tag sensitive data, develop and enforce data governance policies, and audit data security and governance operations.

In April Okera raised $15 million in Series B funding, bringing its total financing to $29.6 million, money the company is investing in expanding engineering, sales and marketing. The company also named Nick Halsey, previously president and CEO of ZoomData, as the company’s new CEO.


Top Executive: Jiten Vaidya, Co-Founder, CEO

Headquarters: Mountain View, Calif.

PlanetScale has developed a next-generation database system based on the Vitess open-source database technology for deploying and managing large clusters of database instances. The company offers PlanetScaleDB Cloud, a fully managed, multi-cloud, MySQL-compatible Database as a Service, as well as PlanetScaleDB Enterprise for customers that want to run their own Database as a Service.

In June the company launched PlanetScaleDB for Kubernetes, which deploys databases directly into a Kubernetes cluster.


Top Executive: Kaycee Lai, CEO

Headquarters: Menlo Park, Calif.

Promethium is addressing the challenges of self-service data discovery and analytics with its Data Navigation System, the startup’s augmented data management software that launched in October 2019. Data Navigation System uses natural language processing to give information workers access to an organization’s entire “data estate” for answers to questions developed in plainspoken language, eliminating the dependence on manual SQL scripting to develop queries. Promethium raised $6 million in venture funding in January.


Top Executive: Itamar Ben Hemo, Co-Founder, CEO

Headquarters: New York

Rivery offers an “intuitive” data integration and preparation platform that simplifies the process of aggregating and transforming internal and external data into a single stream for loading into cloud-based analytics systems such as Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery and Snowflake.

Rivery received $5 million in a seed round of funding in November 2019.


Top Executive: Justin Borgman, CEO

Headquarters: Boston

Starburst markets Starburst Enterprise Presto, the vendor’s commercial edition of the open-source Presto high-performance, distributed SQL query engine for finding and analyzing data scattered across a variety of data sources. By providing access to data wherever it resides and the ability to query the data without moving it, Starburst’s software offers an alternative to traditional data warehouse systems.

In June Starburst raised an impressive $42 million in Series B financing, in addition to the $22 million the company raised in Series A funding in November 2019.


Top Executive: Kevin Hurd, Co-Founder, CEO

Headquarters: Ottawa, Ontario

Theia offers an enterprise analytics hub that manages content across multiple business analytics tools, such as Tableau, Qlik and ThoughtSpot, and provides business users with a unified view. The system includes an analytics catalog for data discovery and governance, search and personalization capabilities, and an external portal for providing information to customers.

Research firm Gartner recently designated Theia a “Cool Vendor.”