Interview with Martin Gaffney, Vice President EMEA at Yugabyte: The Leader In Open Source Distributed SQL Databases

Yugabyte is the company behind YugabyteDB, the open-source, high-performance distributed SQL database for building global, internet-scale applications. Yugabyte is aiming to build the default database for cloud-native systems of record in a multi-cloud world. Simple really.

We are an agile Silicon Valley headquartered organisation, with a fast-growing operation across EMEA. In May 2021, the firm’s total funding hit $103 million, and our backers include: Lightspeed Venture Partners, Dell Technologies Capital, 8VC, Wipro Ventures and Greenspring Associates. Plus, we were named a 2020 Cool Vendor by Gartner.
Yugabyte Raises $48 Million Funding Round to Accelerate Distributed SQL  Enterprise Adoption and Fuel Global Expansion | Business Wire

Tell us about why the company was originally founded?

Founded in 2016 by former Facebook and Oracle engineers, the co-founders scaled the Facebook platform from millions to billions of users in just a few years. Yugabyte was established to serve business-critical applications with SQL query flexibility, high performance and cloud-native agility, and to allow enterprises to focus on business growth instead of complex data infrastructure management.

To achieve the firm’s growth goals, the founders exploited the trends of: microservices, containerization, high availability, geographic distribution and easy-to-use APIs, with a strong commitment to the philosophy and practice of open-source software. Collectively, they felt that these trends would spill over from web-scale requirements to benefit most large businesses, and so YugabyteDB, the distributed SQL database built to power global-scale, cloud-native applications, was born.


How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

During the pandemic, it was relatively simple for us to adapt to a distributed and virtual/home-working environment. This was useful given the transformational impact of the pandemic on the Retail and eCommerce sector, to name but one sector, which has been pivotal for us.

One of our global customers is a supermarket giant, and it reported growth from 20% online in 2019 to 80% during the height of the lockdown. They were able to achieve that scale because they were already well-advanced in building a modern, micro-services-based, cloud-native architecture – exploiting YugabyteDB in the data layer. That’s been great for them and us. But this and other success stories have provided a sharp lesson to organisations that have not been so swift to modernise.

More and more organisations are now recognising that digital transformation isn’t just a pretty industry catchphrase, but a real commercial imperative. As we all learn to live with the pandemic, we are looking forward to helping these firms on their digital transformational journeys to achieve a competitive edge.

What can we hope to see from Yugabyte in the future?

As the newly appointed Vice President, EMEA, I am excited to support the international growth of the company, and am confident that the explosive growth for Yugabyte is a case of when, not if. The historical “system of record” database market is overdue for disruption. The growing move to cloud and microservices-based architectures is driving European enterprises to consider alternatives, as the monolithic, legacy providers’ technology is ill-suited to this new multi-cloud world.

We are already seeing positive customer feedback in the EMEA region, and the growing – and highly experienced – EMEA team is focused on scaling the business, accelerating our growth and having some fun on the journey.