Jitsu raises $2m seed to build open-source data integration platform

After participating in YCombinator’s S2020 batch, we’re delighted to announce Jitsu’s $2m seed funding round led by Costanoa Ventures with participation of SignalFire, Altair Capital and few other investors. Tony from Costanoa Ventures wrote a very detailed blog post explaining why they decided to invest.

We released an initial version of EventNative on GitHub last August and since then we’ve quickly gained traction, attracting more than a 1,000 stars and a few dozen developers set up our software. It was clear a lot of companies needed a tool like this, which is why we decided to raise venture capital to help us move faster towards our goal of solving the problem of consolidating valuable business data into a data warehouse.

The problem

Data is the new oil of the digital economy. To extract value from data, it needs to be stored and be easily accessible. The modern data architecture hinges on the database as the single source of truth. Given the proliferation of SaaS applications, it’s surprising that capturing data from these sources is not an easy task. Our research has shown that even a small company has valuable data pieces scattered across at least 4 independent systems, for example, advertising platforms, payment processors, CRMs, etc. And event based user behavioral data — what your users do on your app or website — is a critical proprietary asset!

Imagine you run an e-commerce website. It’s likely built on Shopify (source #1). You run advertisements on Facebook, Google, and Twitter (source #2, 3 & 4). Payments go through Stripe (source number #4). Customers complain about late delivery time through Zendesk (source #5)... We can keep counting, but you get the picture - valuable customer data is split across at least 5 sources.

Let’s say you want an answer to simple questions about your users. What is the average revenue per user? What is the CAC? How many support tickets are created per day? What pages do users visit before making a purchase decision? All those questions can be easily answered with SQL queries. However, how do you bring all the necessary data into a single database in the first place?

The solution

There are several SaaS solutions helping businesses consolidate data in one place. However, they lack a few key features: transparency, flexibility, and control. 

  1. Businesses want to own their user data flow from start to finish
  2. They don’t want to be locked into one cloud data warehouse provider. 
  3. New regulations, such as GDPR and CCPA, show a trend towards internal user data management. Furthermore, technology such as AdBlock and 3rd party cookie restrictions make a shift to self-hosted deployment inevitable. 

We built Jitsu with all these concerns in minds. Jitsu is built on an open-core called EventNative and you can host it by yourself. We also have a hosted version that eliminates the necessity of deployment and maintenance process.

While developing EventNative we focused on simplicity and ease of use. It can be deployed with just a few clicks using Docker (or Heroku). You can also be confident that your data is never shared with anyone and that you have a full control over it.

Jitsu and EventNative support both cloud (BigQuery, Redshift, Snowflake) and self-hosted warehouses (Clickhouse, PostgreSQL)

Open-source

20 years ago SaaS wasn’t a thing. In the past, companies would buy on-prem enterprise software that was highly customized and required significant maintenance. Compared to traditional enterprise software, a website where you can just sign up and start using the product immediately was very refreshing and made for a much better user experience. SaaS was born because of that pain — a complexity of server software maintenance.

A lot of things have changed since then: servers are commoditized (thanks to AWS, GCP and other cloud providers), Docker and surrounding tech revolutionized software packaging. Now setting up a server feels almost like installing a smartphone app.

Our bet is that open source software will supplant SaaS. Maintaining server software shouldn’t bea job that only sophisticated organizations orlarge corporations can do. More and more teams prefer self-hosted alternatives over traditional SaaS (who could imagine 10 years ago that SaaS will be called “traditional”?). It feels refreshing because it gives you controland, by running your own instance of software, it guards users from privacy concerns.

Ok, why open-source then? Why not just sell a pre-build closed-source packages? 

The answer is trust and transparency. We want our users to be a part of our product journey. We want them to work with us to improve performance, design features and fix bugs. Open-source makes the process of running software a two-way street.

Making money

How can open source software make money if it's free?Believe it or not, there are many ways to monetize! Let’s take a look at the most popular ones:

  • Consulting. Help your users to configure and set up your product and charge for this work
  • Hosting (aka SaaS-version). Charge for running and maintaining your software
  • Open-Core. Charge a license fee for premium features which are not a part of open source.

We’ve chosen to monetize with the Hosting & Open-Core models. We don’t have any premium features yet, and open-core monetization is a longer-term plan. However, you can use the hosted version of Jitsu right now if you don’t want to spend time on deployment or maintenance.

Join us

As an open-source project, we welcome contributors and developers! We can’t wait to see your patches and feature request. 

If you want to dig deeper: