In July 2018, Yellowbrick Data emerged from stealth and publicly unveiled the Yellowbrick Data Warehouse. With a solution that is 30x smaller and up to 140x faster than existing offerings, Yellowbrick Data is disrupting the +$20B data warehousing market.

In October 2018, Next47 led the company’s $48M Series B funding round. We took the opportunity to catch-up with two of Yellowbrick’s co-founders, Jim Dawson and Mark Brinicombe, to talk about what they’ve learned and where they’re going.


What inspired you to found Yellowbrick?

JD: As big data and analytic processing have become indispensable tools for enterprises, the need for new solutions continues to grow. However, the data warehousing market has largely remained the same for decades. Today’s offerings are based on architectures designed when a terabyte was an unthinkable amount of data. Some of our customers process hundreds of terabytes daily. The legacy data warehouses have hamstrung efficiency and forced businesses to compromise on how quickly and easily they can derive insights from data. So, we decided to build a new data warehouse!

MB: We knew we were tackling a massive engineering challenge, but the complexity of building a new data warehouse from the ground up exceeded our expectations. With a team of experienced engineers, it took us four years to build a data warehouse that delivered the robust performance required for enterprises. Ultimately, we reengineered the entire data warehousing stack to get the system to perform at flash memory speeds, including developing our own database and our own integrated appliance.

What’s Yellowbrick’s vision of the future?

JD: We believe the hybrid cloud is the future for data warehousing. Companies need the flexibility to decide where and how they want to store their data, whether that’s on-premises, in the cloud (public or private), or in co-location or edge data centers.

MB: Most of our competitors have outdated architectures or are focusing on cloud-only solutions. The Yellowbrick Data Warehouse was specifically built for the hybrid cloud to give companies the flexibility to choose where they run analytics. To achieve this, we built a new architecture for native flash queries.

JD: In addition to providing the flexibility for hybrid cloud, this architecture also makes the Yellowbrick Data Warehouse faster, smaller and more economical than any existing data warehousing solutions.

What made Next47 the right venture partner?

MB: The long history of innovation of Siemens stood out to me.

JD: The ability of Next47 to reach companies within the Siemens network will help us as we build our credibility and name recognition within the industry.

What’s the toughest hurdle you’ve encountered so far, and how did you overcome it?

JD: We’re asking massive companies to trust their business-critical analytics with our technology, and until publicly launching this summer, no one had heard of us. Getting companies to understand our technology and recognize our performance claims has been one of the biggest hurdles for sales. We secured our first customers with a combination of the right account teams and the right product. After that, our technology really speaks for itself — it blows companies away. And now, we are building the marketing department to get the word out.

How has mentorship impacted your founder journey?

JD: This is not our first startup, but we knew we also needed advisors who have seen companies grow from startups to global corporations. I’ve been part of two companies that have completed an IPO (Fusion-io and 3PAR) but having advisors to help our business grow will be key. Our advisor Mark Leslie has a ton of experience helping companies navigate a high growth environment, in particular in the data infrastructure space.

MB: The data warehousing market is massive, so we knew we had to surround ourselves with advisors with a depth of experience in the space to help us create the product and company to begin with. Mark Hoffman (founder and former CEO of Sybase) gave us great insights into building a relational database.

JD: Another key advisor has been Ray Tacoma. As the original vice president of global sales at Netezza and later IBM, he has sold more data warehouses than probably anyone, and his advice is always welcome and very insightful.

What do you know now that you wish you knew a year ago?

MB: We made the product generally available just over a year ago in September 2017.

JD: What we didn’t know a year ago was how receptive the market would be to an integrated software and hardware solution. The appetite for data warehousing solutions that can span the hybrid cloud is bigger than we expected.

Any parting thoughts?

JD: Data warehousing is the hottest market that very few people know about.