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Engineering Spotlight - Starburst Data

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Starburst is on a mission to modernize data access & analytics.

We connected with Geoff Flarity, Engineering Manager for Galaxy at Starburst, to get an inside look at the company's tech stack, various projects, the team's culture, and more.

Quick Hit Details

  • Year Founded: 2017​
  • Number of employees: 341
  • Number of engineers: 83
  • Industry: Analytics, Big Data, Information Technology, Open Source

Can you share a summary on what Starburst Data does?

Starburst is the analytics engine for the Data Mesh. We unlock the value of distributed data by making it fast and easy to access, no matter where it lives. Based on open source Trino, our SQL-based MPP query engine allows you to see all of your data across all of your platforms. Starburst queries data across any database, making it instantly actionable for data-driven organizations. With Starburst, teams can lower the total cost of their infrastructure and analytics investments, prevent vendor lock-in, and use the existing tools that work for their business. 

We are also excited to share that Starburst has raised $250M in Series D financing on February 9th at a $3.35B valuation, making us one of the most highly valued private technology firms in Massachusetts. This round was led by Alkeon Capital Management, with participation from Altimeter Capital and B Capital Group, along with our existing investors, Andreessen Horowitz, Coatue Management, Index Ventures, and Salesforce Ventures. 

What are some of the different technologies that the engineering team gets to work with and at what scale?

As a Big-Data Infrastructure SaaS, we have to plan around AWS not having enough EC2 instances for us. So, big! Technologies we use include:

  • Java, TypeScript, React, Airlift, Trino (work with the founders of the Open Source Project), Kubernetes, AWS, Azure, GCP.

What are some of the interesting projects that the engineering team is tackling?

We’re designing and operating a Big-Data Infrastructure SaaS built around the open-source Trino (formerly Presto), a project led by its original founders from Facebook. Depending on the team, projects include new product features, solving scaling challenges, enhancing Trino, designing application security systems, operational automation tooling, internal admin interfaces, etc. 

Does your engineering team have a chance to work on projects outside of their day-to-day responsibilities? 

Starburst Galaxy is the ultimate skunkwork, based on and led by the founding engineers of the open source Trino project, Martin Traverso, David Phillips, Dain Sundstrom, and Eric Hwang. Our engineering team is already working on disruptive open source projects.

What is the culture like at Starburst Data for the engineering team? 

We’re an inclusive meritocracy that values humility, authenticity, ownership, and grit. We’re all trying to become better versions of ourselves. You will own your own performance and ultimately your destiny. 

What can a potential employee expect during the interview process?

We apply our core values to everything, including the interview process. In addition to looking for the needed engineering skills (you can expect to be challenged with coding exercises, problem-solving, and a systems design interview), we also place a big emphasis on matching our values with our applicants. 

Are you involved in any local tech organizations or Meetups?

Unfortunately, Meetups have taken a huge hit from COVID so, we host the Trino virtual Americas Meetup once a month that we stream on YouTube and LinkedIn. Nothing in person or specific to Boston as of now. That said, we are looking forward to participating in some soon - especially with our new office! 

Rapid Fire Q&A 

Star Wars or Star Trek? 

Star Wars

iPhone or Android? 

This is a heated internal debate, but Apple has an edge. Most of us already use Macbooks.

Coffee - hot or iced?

Hot. Many of us live in very cold climates for a good part of the year.

Favorite employee perk? 

Equity in a unicorn that’s tripled its revenue 2 years in a row with an IPO on the horizon :) 

What TV show describes the engineering team’s culture? 

Mark Rober on youtube.

About the

Starburst's distributed query engine helps the world's leading organizations make faster and better decisions.

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