Alibaba paid $130 million to take over Berlin-based data and stream processing startup Data Artisans. The combined companies intend to work jointly on open source initiatives around big data.
Founded in 2014, Data Artisans has built an open source framework for enterprise-scale data processing. The startup claims that its framework, Apache Flink, is one of the fastest growing communities within the Apache Software Foundation and has hundreds of contributors. Data Artisans uses Apache Flink to power its dA platform. The platform, which also has an application manager, helps enterprises build, operate, and run streaming applications using stream processing.
Data Artisans, on record, has raised $6.5 million in two rounds — a seed round and a Series A round led by Intel Capital. In the blog post announcing its purchase by Alibaba, Data Artisans co-founders Kostas Tzoumas and Stephan Ewen said the startup also participated in a Series B round last year.
Alibaba began work with Data Artisans in 2016, both as a production user and as a contributor to the project. According to a post on Alizila, Alibaba’s corporate news site, Alibaba’s contributions to the project have been to “improve the architecture and performance of the software to meet the stream-processing demands of enterprises worldwide.”
Aside from Alibaba, customers of Data Artisans and Apache Flink include Ericsson, CapitalOne, Uber, Comcast, Bouygues Telecom, eBay, and Huawei.
As part of the acquisition, Alibaba will contribute its in-house developments around Flink, which it deemed Blink, to the open source community.
Under Alibaba’s ownership, Data Artisans intends to maintain and expand its open source technology. Alizila Managing Editor Tom Brennan wrote with this purchase Alibaba wants to “accelerate stream-processing adoption and further develop a supportive environment for even more developers globally.”
This may be part of a greater push by Alibaba to support various open source communities. Last year, it led a $27 million investment in the Finland-based open source database MariaDB. Alibaba Cloud and MariaDB have jointly built a cloud-friendly database project AliSQL. The Chinese company, last April, wrote in a blog post that it had over 150 open source projects on GitHub.