OMERS Growth Equity backs US data analytics startup Imply in $100 million USD Series D

OMERS says Canadian-led Imply faces “a multi-billion dollar opportunity.”

Burlingame, California’s Imply has secured $100 million USD to expand the reach of its real-time data analytics platform.

The Canadian-led, United States-based startup, which was founded by the original creators of the open-source Apache Druid project, offers a database designed to help developers build data analytics applications.

“We are excited about the company’s massive TAM, strong product, and exceptional management team.”
-Warda Shaheen

Imply co-founder and CEO Fangjin “FJ” Yang—a Canadian and two-time University of Waterloo graduate now based in San Francisco—said that the number of use cases for the company’s analytics database offering has “expanded exponentially.”

This expansion is part of what attracted PE firm Thoma Bravo, which led Imply’s Series D financing, and fellow new investor OMERS Growth Equity.

Warda Shaheen, OMERS Growth Equity director and co-head of software, told BetaKit that Imply is facing down “a multi-billion dollar opportunity in the early innings of adoption.”

“We are excited about the company’s massive [total addressable market], strong product, and exceptional management team,” Shaheen added.

The all-equity Series D round also saw participation from existing Imply investors Bessemer Venture Funds, Andreessen Horowitz, and Khosla Ventures. In response to questions from BetaKit, Imply did not confirm whether the round involved any secondary capital. If all primary, the round brings Imply’s total funding to $215 million and gives the company a valuation of $1.1 billion.

Imply’s database allows developers to create interactive data experiences on streaming and batch data. The startup’s customer base includes Salesforce, Atlassian, Reddit, Intercontinental Exchange, Adobe, Amazon, Pepsi, and Walmart.

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Thoma Bravo Partner Robert (Tre) Sayle described Imply as “at the cusp of a market evolution in analytics,” adding that the company is helping to open up “a whole new world of analytics use cases and economic value.”

According to Shaheen, Imply has benefitted from the shift away from traditional ‘transactional’ or ‘batch-like’ databases towards “more instantaneous, real-time databases that process information ‘live.’” Amid the proliferation of cloud-based and IoT data, Shaheen claims “the value of real-time analytics will only multiply over the following decades.”

Shaheen, who heads up OMERS Growth Equity’s software vertical alongside Mark Shulgan, has previously led investments in Québec City search, AI, and analytics firm Coveo, Toronto-based restaurant software startup TouchBistro, Burnaby legaltech unicorn Clio, San Francisco-based document workflow firm PandaDoc, and developer operations platform GitLab, among others.

According to Shaheen, OMERS Growth Equity has been following the data and analytics industry closely for the past few years.

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“We believe that Imply is a market leader within its niche,” said Shaheen. “Although there are some competing products, we believe that the vast majority of the addressable market is unpenetrated today, making for strong future growth prospects.”

Shaheen expects the need for databases that support real-time analytics to grow over the coming years. “We think that people do not realize how early in the adoption curve the data and analytics industry still is,” she added.

Yang, who is also a member of the C100, grew up in Canada and earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo, where he went on to complete his master’s in computer engineering—the latter of which was paid for by Cisco, which he joined post-grad as an R&D engineer.

After leaving Cisco, Yang served as lead engineer at San Francisco adtech startup Metamarkets for nearly four years, which was later acquired by Snapchat parent Snap in 2017. Metamarkets created Apache Druid, an open-source analytics database.

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Yang co-founded Imply in 2015, teaming up with two other Metamarkets alums in Imply CTO Gian Merlino and Chief Experience Officer Vadim Ogievetsky, who both worked as software engineers at Metamarkets.

Imply’s Series D round follows the company’s recent March product launch of Imply Polaris, a fully-managed database-as-a-service offering built from Apache Druid. The startup plans to use the fresh capital to further build out Imply Polaris, advance open-source Druid, and expand its global presence.

Imply currently has about 220 employees, 5 to 10 of which are based in Canada across product, engineering, and go-to-market functions. By the end of the year, the startup plans to grow its staff to 300. Yang told BetaKit that the startup’s global expansion plans include Canada, where Imply intends to expand its headcount and presence to somewhere between 10 and 20 employees.

Feature image courtesy Imply.

Josh Scott

Josh Scott

Josh Scott is a BetaKit reporter focused on telling in-depth Canadian tech stories and breaking news. He is also the winner of SABEW Canada’s 2023 Jeff Sanford Best Young Journalist award. His coverage is more complete than his moustache.

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