Today we are celebrating Airbyte’s 1 year anniversary, and it was a hyperspeed year! (Also,there is an announcement at the end of this post :))
There’s been a bit of internal debate as to the exact day we started working on Airbyte. Some say July 20th...others say July 27th. Well, let’s make it official: we started on the 27th and it wasn’t called Airbyte!
From Zero to Soft Launch
At that time we were investigating several pivot ideas and, for this particular project, we were reaching out to all the customers of existing ETL/ELT solutions that we could find online. We had some intuitions about the need for addressing the long tail of integration, the need for customization, data security and cost control. Our objective was to validate or invalidate these intuitions (spoiler alert: it confirmed them).
At the time, we wanted to experiment with Airbyte's concept for one month while creating technical assets that we could use for other ideas we had in mind. As our interviews were progressing, it became obvious that the open-source approach was the only way to go if we wanted to create a MUST HAVE product. So we decided to extend our project evaluation period to be unbounded, and we set an internal goal of releasing the first MVP at the end of September.
We had two months. So we went heads down into it. Lots of code and lots of interviews with frustrated customers of other solutions.
Initially, we were trying to leverage Singer, and although it helped accelerate some aspects of the development, we were spending more time working around the limitation of the spec and the deficiencies of the taps and targets. Most of their connectors weren’t working and hadn’t been updated for years.
As we were developing the project, we asked people around us to test and give feedback about Airbyte (we had renamed it to Airbyte by that time).
And finally, on September 24, we did a soft launch. We announced it on LinkedIn and sent emails to all the people we had interviewed, asking for their feedback. It was very barebone: 6 connectors kind of working, no support for incremental updates and the first version of the UI.
And guess what?
From Soft Launch to Hard Launch
The community picked it up! Within a month, we went from 16 stars to 350 stars and about 100 companies started replicating data with Airbyte.
Many users started to join our Slack. We were spending a lot of time with them to understand the issues they were having and to help fix them. This desire to support our community is part of our DNA, and we have been continuously investing in it.
During that time, we were shipping many important features. We built the support for incremental replication. We released the Alpha version of Kubernetes but, more importantly, we built an extensible and modern data protocol so we could finally move away from Singer.
We also hired Chris, our in-house dbt expert.
While we were focusing on our community and our product, we were also getting a lot of interest from investors. This is when we decided to talk to them. Our goal was to find a partner that would understand and support our vision and our approach, and we found them with Accel.
A few weeks after signing the Seed round’s term sheet, we did our hard launch of Airbyte on HackerNews—and since then, the traction has been incredible.
From Hard Launch to Series-A
During the months after our hard launch, the community continued to grow and became the largest online community about Data Integration. We hit 1,000 members on our public Slack and over 2,000 instances of Airbyte replicated data.
We released our CDK (Connector Developer Kit) to help our community build and maintain connectors efficiently. The CDK is a cornerstone project in our strategy to address the long tail of connectors while maintaining a high level of quality and support. After we released it, we saw an uptick in community contributions, for both new connectors and improvements to existing ones.
We continued to improve Airbyte. We released support for Change Data Capture, large volume replication, better data normalization, and, of course, we continued to support our community. We hired Marcos, who contributed the Airflow connector and the OracleDB integration to lead our community support, and Abhi to lead all our Dev Rel initiatives.
While we were experimenting with this fantastic growth in usage and community, we started some conversations with Benchmark. Their experience and success with open-source companies gave them a unique perspective. Every conversation we had with them advanced our vision for the future of Airbyte. We ended up raising our Series-A with them in May.
And Now Airbyte Is 1 Year Old!
During June and July, we doubled our community. We now have over 2,000 members on our Slack, and the contributor contributions have exploded.
On the product side, we have continued to make huge progress. Kubernetes deployments are now completely stable, the CDK supports destinations, and we can now replicate data to Data Lakes destinations.
We have also been preparing Airbyte Cloud. The whole team is working really hard on this initiative to make it a reality very soon. We will be launching our private beta mid-August, and we will launch publicly at the end of September...
The news: We now support more than 100 high quality open-source connectors! And we are on our way to supporting 200 by the end of the year! This will make Airbyte the most complete platform for data integration, and this is just the beginning for us.
We would like to thank all of you for your continuous support. We wouldn’t be where we are without our vibrant community and all the people who have been advising us over the past year.
Let’s continue to make Airbyte amazing and, together, let’s commoditize data integration and break down all data silos!