Darwin’s finches are probably the best example of adaptive radiation and natural selection in evolutionary biology. These finches, all stemming from a common ancestor, settled on the different islands in the Galapagos and evolved differently to take advantage of the different food and terrain.

In the context of tech evolution, storage and databases may be the “finches” of infrastructure software. Namely, they are one of the software categories adapting the fastest to the unique attributes of the cloud.

As I have previously written, the cloud-native generation of companies took advantage of the new environment and cloud-intrinsic attributes: separation of storage and compute, elasticity of resources, and serverless architectures that both scale up to demand and scale down to zero. While companies born in previous generations struggled to adapt by transplanting existing tech to the cloud, the new species of cloud-native companies evolved specifically for the new environment and flourished. For instance, Snowflake popularized the idea of separating storage and compute, and paved the way for several others such as Rockset and Chronosphere. More recently, companies like Neon exemplify the evolution of Postgres for a cloud-native world.

Today, the data layer may be one of the fastest evolving markets. On a global scale, we are producing more data (and more varied data types) and at increasingly faster rates. To reference Gartner’s 2001 phrasing of “volume, variety, and velocity,” these triple pressures have forced evolution faster in data than in many other markets.

That’s why we are excited to announce our Series A investment in WarpStream, a cloud native data streaming company. WarpStream is the evolution of Apache Kafka, a completely Kafka compatible streaming data platform built from the ground up for cloud environments. WarpStream “warps” the cost/speed continuum that forces most databases to trade off between performance and cost by instead running directly on object storage with no local disks –  thereby reducing costs by 10x compared to other streaming data solutions. It separates compute and storage like cloud native data lakes do to provide elasticity, and by leveraging object storage like AWS S3 it avoids inter-zone networking costs. In addition, WarpStream’s compute layer is entirely stateless, reducing operational management costs significantly compared to other Apache Kafka solutions.

In summary, WarpStream is streaming data, evolved.

In the past, systems like Apache Kafka were expensive or complicated to manage and use, thus limiting the market to engineers with the appetite to take on managing Kafka. WarpStream, on the other hand, makes streaming data affordable and accessible to all developers by reducing cost and complexity. It is available in both a serverless or a bring your own cloud (BYOC) offering.

WarpStream was founded in 2023 by Richard Artoul and Ryan Worl. Richie and Ryan are the epitome of cloud native technologists and founders, possessing unique insights on both how developers want to use the cloud and how to best leverage the cloud to provide game changing solutions like WarpStream to the data market. Ryan and Richie worked together at Datadog where they built Husky, Datadog’s event store, and pioneered cloud native architecture for the company. We first met the team several years ago when they joined Datadog and were lucky enough to follow their careers over the next four years. After they left Datadog and raised a seed round from our friends at Amplify, we worked closely and quickly to earn the right to lead their Series A. Over several months in 2023, we got to know Ryan and Richie and were impressed not only with their deep technical insights but by their relentless focus on building and solving customer pains. Today you can try WarpStream with the GA of their self service cloud or you can learn more about WarpStream on Slack, Discord, and X (formerly Twitter). We are thrilled to be a part of this journey and look forward to seeing what Richie, Ryan and the WarpStream team build!


Jerry Chen

Jerry searches for ambitious founders who are redefining enterprise software.

visually hidden

Corinne Riley

Corinne works with early-stage founders who are creating data and AI products at the infrastructure and application layers.

visually hidden