In Silicon Valley, tech startups typically build their businesses with help from cloud computing services — services that provide instant access to computing power via the internet — and Frenkiel’s startup, a San Francisco outfit called MemSQL, was no exception. It rented computing power from the granddaddy of cloud computing, Amazon.com.
Nikita Shamgunov and Eric Frenkiel first met during Facebook bootcamp. Like every other new engineer hired by the company, they spent a good eight weeks in the hacker equivalent of Parris Island, fixing bug after bug after bug inside the world’s largest social network, coming to terms with the swashbuckling Facebook culture, and mentally winding their way through the sweeping software systems that juggle data inside the house that Zuck built.
Buzzworthy in-memory database startup MemSQL will add features that can help more developers get onboard and bring in historical data easily alongside other data already coming in. The goals can help the company make its scalable relational databases more accessible to everyone.
For this week’s Founder Stories, I sat down with Eric Frenkiel, founder of MemSQL, to compare notes on starting enterprise software startups. After being accepted as one of Y Combinator’s first enterprise-focused startups, Eric and his co-founder built the now 14-person company in stealth and officially launched MemSQL, a database for real-time analytics, in June of last year.
The sake was cold and the waitress was eager to pour, but the diners didn't end up being big drinkers. Even at 11 p.m. there was too much work to do that night and the next day. In between bites of tuna belly at Ozumo, an upscale sushi restaurant in San Francisco's SoMa district, Box's Aaron Levie (center, standing) and the group exchanged theories about billion-dollar business trends and which incumbents were likeliest to slip up first.
Zynga has deployed nearly 100 nodes of MemSQL, the hot new database from two former Facebook engineers. It might not be a magic pill for Zynga’s woes, but it could help the company boost revenue and even build new types of games.
Social gaming pioneer Zynga hasn’t exactly been killing it in the earnings department since going public, but a new database system might help change that. At the very least, it could let the company do some things previously out of its reach, such as serve real-time recommendations and ads, and create advanced multi-player games. Building a better product is usually a good first step toward turning things around.
The database in question is MemSQL, the eponymous offering from a startup company by former Facebook employees Eric Frenkiel and Nikita Shamgunov. The company, which launched in June, speeds up database operations by using in-memory storage and its own unique technique for converting SQL into C++, similar to what Facebook does for its PHP code. Frenkiel told me that other big-name customers already using the product include JPMorgan Chase, Hitachi and NY Life.
MemSQL Product Overview
When Eric Frenkiel started an engineering job at Facebook in 2010, he encountered one of the world's biggest databases: a stash of hundreds of millions of users' likes, messages, and photos. After just a year, Frenkiel realized that he could use his experience to build a better data storage system for companies less tech savvy than his employer. He and Nikita Shamgunov, another Facebook engineer, left the social network in February 2011 to create-- bravado alert-- "the world's fastest database," according to Frenkiel, 26. "People thought we were crazy because we left before Facebook went public," he says. "There we were, just two guys and a dog."
With Facebook engineers, it appears the high-performance database apple doesn't far fall from the tree. On Monday, former Facebookers Eric Frenkiel and Nikita Shamgunov (who also spent six years as a senior engineer on Microsoft SQL Server) launched a startup called MemSQL that seeks to speed relational databases by taking a page out of the Facebook playbook. The company has raised a $5 million in venture capital thus far from First Round Capital, IA Ventures, NEA, SV Angel, Y Combinator, Paul Buchheit, Ashton Kutcher, Max Levchin and Aaron Levie.
Last year, we introduced you to MemSQL, a plucky young Y Combinator alum that was building technology that would let developers give their databases a Nitrous boost, while simplifying application development and maintenance. Founded by ex-Facebookers Eric Frenkiel and Nikita Shamgunov, MemSQL raised $2.1 million in seed funding last July from an impressive roster of investors, before going silent to plug away at their private beta.
Received $3M Seed Funding
Participation IA Ventures, Digital Sky Technologies
MemSQL may not have the sexiest name or, as a database management software startup, live in the sexiest industry, but that doesn't mean it isn't appealing to investors. The Y Combinator Winter 2011 grad is announcing today that it has raised $2.1 million in seed funding, led by an impressive list of angels and VCs. The stalwart list includes venture backing from First Rounds Capital, New Enterprise Associates, Start Fund, SV Angel, and Y Combinator — as well as participation from celeb tech investor Ashton Kutcher, early Google employee and FriendFeed Co-founder Paul Bucheit, Loopt Founder Sam Altman, Guy Oseary, and several others.
Received $2.1M Seed Funding
First Round Capital, New Enterprise Associates, Start Fund, SV Angel, Y Combinator, Paul Buchheit, Sam Altman, Ashton Kutcher, Guy Oseary, Ron Garret. Janis Krums, Karl Jacob, Marco Bergmann,&