Goodbye 2021, Welcome 2022!

As we enter the new year, we want to take the time to reflect about what we’ve accomplished over the past year. It is also the time to plan for what we will be doing during the year ahead of us.

In 2021 we overcame many obstacles, as humans of the planet earth (no thanks to COVID), as a team and as a company. We also had a lot of tremendous successes. It is very important for all of us to do this kind of retrospective, as it allows us to grow and be stronger for 2022.

Focusing on Airbyte, 2021 is when we went from 0 to 1 with our community, our team and our product. 2022 is when we go from 1 to 100. 

So brace yourself because things are about to go even faster!

2021 - From 0 to 1 - Bootstrapping the standard

During 2021 we fought on multiple fronts. We built a community from scratch, and with our community, we built the Airbyte Platform with over 160 out-of-the-box connectors. 

Our platform and connector growth

One of Airbyte’s promises is to remove all the pain that data teams are dealing with when it comes to data integration. This pain can take several forms:

  1. The operation of a complex data system
  2. The creation and  maintenance of data connectors
  3. Lack of autonomy among the consumers of data

All of our efforts on the product and engineering side were about solving these 3 main problems, and our North Star was: “Airbyte just works.”

In order to achieve that North Star, we built the connector orchestration layer working on Kubernetes, with Temporal and other battle-tested technologies. Our goal is to keep our system simple while also preparing it for the very large scale at which it will be operated.

On top of this platform we built a user-friendly UI and a comprehensive API so that our users can decide what is the best way for them to interact with Airbyte.

And, obviously, we put a LOT of effort into our connector development. On the API side, we very quickly released our CDK so that our community can contribute with very little effort to the project. We also worked on database replication with support for Change Data Capture, and today we support all the major data warehouses.

We also built many integrations with the rest of the data ecosystem, including Airflow, dbt and Prefect.

As we were talking with our community members, one of the top asked-for “features” was: do you have a hosted version of Airbyte? It hit a point where we just couldn’t continue to delay it, and we decided to accelerate the creation of Airbyte Cloud to respond to that feedback from our community. And guess what? We now have a Beta version of it!

Our usage and community growth

To address data integration, you need a community-powered product. It is simply not possible for a closed-source company to address customized use cases or the long tail of connectors and to provide maintenance in a timely manner.

When we started Airbyte, we made the conscious decision to start with the ELT use case because we knew that our contributors and users were the same people. This choice allowed us to grow to 200 PR contributors – over 750 if you also account for issues.

Very early on in the life of our company we invested a lot of time to help our community – both users and contributors – be successful with Airbyte. We even created a role specifically for this: User Success Engineer (aka USE).

This early and continuous investment in our community has proven very successful. Today we have the largest and most active community around data integration, and we finished 2021 with almost 5,000 community members on our public Slack. 

The adoption of Airbyte also went really fast, as we had over 10k companies replicate data with Airbyte in only one year. The surface area of these companies was very broad, from Mom & Pop shops to large enterprises.

Our team growth

This explosive adoption obviously put a lot of pressure on the team, and we had to start scaling the team faster than anticipated.

Going into 2021 we were only 6 people, and we finished the year at 35. We hired across all parts of the company: engineering, product, community, sales, analytics, people ops, recruiting, content, marketing…

Being a remote company helped a lot with hiring so many amazing people and, although we couldn’t bring everyone together because of COVID, we were able to bring many Airbyters together in San Francisco at the end of November. What a great team we’ve assembled!

Other notable moments

We announced our long-term strategy for addressing the long tail of connectors with our participative model. The gist is that we will enter in a revenue-sharing agreement with maintainers of connectors in exchange for maintenance and SLAs.

We also moved a part of our open-source code to the Elastic License (ELv2).

And, finally, it is also the year when we de-risk a lot of the future of Airbyte. We raised our Seed with Accel, our Series-A with Benchmark and our Series-B with Coatue & Altimeter. With $180M raised, we now have all the fuel needed to build the best team and the best product.

2022 - from 1 to 100 - The unified platform

Based on all these accomplishments in 2021 and the traction we’ve had on the beta release of Airbyte Cloud, we are now on our way to make Airbyte the new standard for all modern data stacks. 

Becoming a reliable and ubiquitous integration standard

Airbyte is now a key component in many data infrastructures. This means that we are at the bottom of the data pyramid of needs, and it also means we are the foundation of these systems. It is important for us to acknowledge where we are because it impacts how we think about the guarantee that our system must provide. We can’t build a house on flaky foundations, and the same goes for building a data infrastructure.

In 2022, our North Star is to be the reliable and ubiquitous standard for data integration.

We will continue to invest massively in the reliability of the platform and in the reliability of the  connectors. What is important to realize when working on data integration is that data connectors are ALWAYS going to break one day or another. What is key is to build a resilient platform, with the necessary primitives for monitoring and observability, and also to build a great process for addressing connector maintenance. 

We will continue to expand our coverage of the long tail of connectors with the help of our community and to make database replication a breeze. All data integration needs, whatever they may be, must be addressed by Airbyte, whether out of the box or by extending the platform with the help of our CDK.

When we started Airbyte Cloud, a key focus was the pricing that we can offer. As opposed to other players, it must scale with the volume. That is what it means to build an infrastructure product.

More types of connectors will be created to support our ubiquitous North Star. We will focus on Reverse ETL and streaming. And we will also focus on accessing data within Cloud in other geographies and within private VPC.

All data, wherever it is, must become accessible. This is what will allow companies to make the best decisions. 

Embodying the community-powered solution with the biggest developer awareness and best developer experience

Airbyte’s mission has always been about enabling teams to accomplish their data engineering and analytics projects. And this will be reflected in our community and developer relations strategy. We will grow the team from 2 people to ~20 by the end of 2022. Here is what we intend to build. 

Our ambitions are to build the best content hub for data engineers and data analysts. The content hub will feature high-quality insightful articles, videos and podcast episodes, to foster a culture of learning data engineering and analytics best practices in the community. To do that, we will continue growing our content team, which is only composed of practitioners – data engineers and data analysts – and our dev advocacy team to focus on other media formats. Our goal is to provide new high-quality content every day. We will also expand our “Write for the community” program so it becomes a community where practitioners can grow their writing skills with us.

2022 is also synonymous with ubiquity for Airbyte. This means that you’ll be able to see us at most data-related events from now on. We will also foster a community of local meetups around the world, and we plan to create our first conference this year. 

No community effort would be complete without a strong focus on providing the best developer experience and documentation with a dedicated team. The participative model that will be launched in 2022 can only work if we make the experience seamless and engaging for our connector maintainers. This has become an important product and community initiative for us.

From a startup to a hypergrowth scaleup

The product and the community are both going to grow massively during 2022. 

To support them, we will need to grow the team and we will need to grow it fast. Today, we are focusing on building the right foundation for the team to ensure we can welcome the influx of so many great new individuals. Our goal is to finish the year with about 200 people. We are at 35 today.

This type of growth will only be sustainable if we stay true to our values and if we build the proper recruiting and people infrastructure. We are currently ramping up our people ops team to ensure we have all the right initiatives in place. Anyone who starts at Airbyte must have the best onboarding experience, and must feel welcome. We also want to support people who’ve been here for a longer time and make sure we continue to invest in their growth with training, coaching and new responsibilities.

Diversity & Inclusion has always been a key driver for building the team. Being a remote company was one of the early decisions we made to support it. As we head into this rapid-scale year, D&I will continue to be a key component in our hiring and team strategy.

If you would like to be a part of this phenomenal adventure, come and join us! If you know people who would be interested, please tell us about them. We have a great referral program :)

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2022 is full of challenges and full of bets. With the community, the team and the product we are building, we are confident that we will overcome these challenges, realize these bets and delight our users! 

Thank you for your continuous support. 

<3


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