Way Beyond Search

I am thrilled to announce that we just secured a $24M Series B round of funding from Index Ventures.

I know what you're thinking ... “didn't you just close a $10M Series A in November?"

Yes we did, but this was very much the right thing to do for Elasticsearch as an open source project and as a company. Peter Fenton from Benchmark Capital led our A round, and Mike Volpi from Index's San Francisco office took the lead on our B Round - not a bad starting point for a company that's working hard to take Search way beyond merely querying data.

In the light of our investment announcement, there are 3 topics we would like to share our thoughts on:

  1. Our rationale for raising Series B
  2. Beyond just Search
  3. The future of Elasticsearch

Raising Series B

We did not wake up one day with the brilliant idea to set out and raise Series B. In fact, when the plan came together, we were still recovering from our previous fund raising adventure. We did have a great experience talking to some of the greatest minds in venture capital, and received great advice and feedback on how to build our company. Besides that, we learned that the investment community's interest in Elasticsearch was tremendous. This got the ball rolling, and sparked a series of brainstorm-style discussions that got us to start pondering what we would do if we raised an early B round. The answer came to us as quickly as the decision to look for Series B did. Raising a Series B allows us to execute faster on our growth plans for the company and thereby do a better job at serving our rapidly growing customer base on both sides of the Atlantic, in the US and Europe. The driver of this growth is the rapid evolution of search itself.

Beyond Just Search

Search today is so much more than it was even 5 years ago. The technology evolved into a data exploration mechanism and is now used in ways that go way beyond your basic “free text search" search box on the upper right corner of a website. Search has become top-of-mind for so many people and the world is quickly getting a handle on what search is actually capable of. We feel there are actually a number of reasons why search has made an amazing jump in popularity over the last 12 months:

  1. Search technology is more powerful, scalable and versatile than ever before
  2. Search technology is easier to adopt than other analytics solutions out there
  3. Data volume, velocity and variety has exploded since the beginning of the decade, making data querying solutions suboptimal
  4. Data often appears in unorganized, unstructured formats and sources
  5. Real-time data exploration has become relevant to almost anyone, in any role

Search solutions like Elasticsearch have a very promising relationship with rapidly expanding data volumes. Whereas search technology and large data volumes fell in love many years ago, we like to believe they recently got engaged and they're currently planning their wedding. It wouldn't surprise us if this celebrity wedding actually lasted.

What Elasticsearch made possible with its first release in 2009 (search beyond free text search), is now being adopted by some of the most data intensive organizations in the world. Next generation social network Path very recently announced advanced search functionality in their platform, and as recently as mid-January, Facebook launched its much-discussed Graph Search functionality.

Also, with the search technology now capable of powering advanced real time analytics, we see an increase in users depending heavily on search technology to power their dashboards.
We know of various companies that use Elasticsearch to drive Google Analytics-like features and can't afford for its service to be disrupted. Even trend analysis is something we see more and more often. For example, a user can query massive data sets though unstructured searches, sprinkle structure on top of the result sets to break down the result over time, and analyze results through a date histogram graph. Let's say that you're applying this formula to Twitter data, you would instantaneously see a trend in time: very powerful, yet extremely easy to realize these days with Elasticsearch.

The Future of Elasticsearch

It is our mission to make real-time data exploration available to anyone, and we feel Elasticsearch is very well positioned to achieve just that. Even though Elasticsearch is off to a good start, we feel there are still many places where we can add value into the future. As a company, one of our objectives is to accelerate the Elasticsearch learning curve and hereby shorten our users' “time-to-epiphany". The latter might sound a little odd, so allow us to explain. We find that many people still come to Elasticsearch for purely for classic search. Of course we are perfectly fine with that, but for those that are up for it, we want to be their main source for data analysis. Read: drive real time analytics through Elasticsearch, and truly benefit from what the product is capable of. We will work hard to help people go from their first download of Elasticsearch to their “Ahaaa moment" with Elasticsearch as soon as possible. This is going to be an important focus area for us.

But there is more. We also want to make the overall Elasticsearch experience better. One area in which we will increase our investment is our documentation. Our current documentation is excellent for reference purposes, but requires work when it comes to hands-on tips and tricks for day-to-day usage. We know this, and expect to be making a significant leap forwards here during the course of 2013. The product itself will also continue to involve, and we expect that evolution to accelerate towards an even more feature complete release in the near future.

Reliability is an important theme in the context of robustness. As Elasticsearch is playing a more and more mission critical part in the stacks of many organizations worldwide, we feel very responsible for the reliability of our product. That means we are engineering Elasticsearch in such a way and are adding new features that make it more dependable even in distressed situations, so that anyone using the product can sleep well at night, knowing that Elasticsearch takes care of your data.

Steven & Shay