Backed by fresh Series A funding from Accel: Josh Benamram, Co-Founder of Databand
Learn about Josh's obsession with data pipelines and National Geographic
In this series, we’re putting the spotlight on founders who leverage software beyond the screen to build exciting startups. Each founder has their own nerdy background (we define nerdiness as having a deep obsession) and their own path to arrive at the founding moment of their startup.
Meet Josh Benamram, co-founder of Databand, an AI-based observability platform for data engineering teams. Ubiquity Ventures backed Josh and his co-founders Victor Shafran and Evgeny Shulman in their seed round in early 2019. This morning, Databand is announcing their new Series A financing led by Accel.
Can you sum up what Databand does in just one sentence?
We help data engineers deliver better quality data products.
What is the story behind how you started your company? How did you meet your co-founders? What brought you together?
Myself and my two co-founders were working in big data teams and we experienced similar frustration with the unreliability of data systems today. We all saw this from a slightly different lens.
I was a data product manager, and from my experience our users were in a constant battle with their ETL (extract-transform-load) logic and constantly failing data pipelines. Users didn’t know how to organize their ETL logic or where to focus attention when failures came up. This resulted in people losing trust in analytical dashboards and other tools because it was never clear that the data was actually accurate.
Similarly, my two co-founders were running data teams, and from their lens, they did not have the tools needed to measure system quality and safely deliver improvements to production. We all saw the need for better visibility and a new way of thinking about DevOps, but with a data spin on it.
When did you first get into the technical area of your startup? What drew you to it?
I got into the data world at one of my first jobs in college when I was working at a small shipping logistics company. The company was just beginning to digitize, bringing in better tools for tracking the locations of packages from trucks to warehouses to businesses and consumers. It was just astounding to see the difference in processes as they shifted from paper and pencil to digital. We were able to find more optimal ways of moving packages, opening up thousands of dollars of new revenue opportunities (which was very meaningful for our business) and more accurate tracking of inventory, meaning happier customers.
The transformation my old company went through by having more data available showed me how much value was ready to be tapped by making data recorded and workable. Ever since then, I've been fascinated by the different ways companies productize their data. It's awesome to now help organizations make sure those products are trusted and reliable.
We think of nerds as people who are obsessed with something (see our blog post on the subject). What are you nerdy about or obsessed with?
Great point! Despite being a lifelong techie, I’m obsessed with nature and natural history. I'm an avid reader of National Geographic (that's a free shoutout, they are not a sponsor). I grew up reading their magazines and still read a quick article as part of my morning routine.
Working in the tech industry, it's always fascinating to see how systems in technology reflect patterns in the nature world. An example of that in our domain is how our solution at Databand fits in a broader ecosystem of tools, like an organism needs to fit in the ecosystem of its environment. Our product requires great integrations to various other technologies that engineers use to run their pipelines. As with any observability company, "fitness" is a function of how well the system fits in the ecosystem of tools that people use, and how it adapts to that ecosystem as it changes.
What’s your advice to budding technical founders who haven’t yet jumped off to launch their new company?
Don’t overthink it.
If you have an idea for a product, the number one litmus test is whether you would really use it, and if there are more people like you that would also use it. If yes, and you are ready for an adventure, don’t hesitate to jump in!