Tembo capitalizes on the database boom and lands new cash to expand

As the demand for AI grows, so, too, does the demand for expertise in maintaining databases — a critical part in any AI pipeline. Databases store the information used to train, run and fine-tune AI systems, and it’s been shown that good data management can smooth the pathway to AI adoption in an enterprise.

One of the vendors to benefit from the database boom is Tembo, a startup creating a platform that lets developers deploy different flavors of Postgres, the open source database system, to cloud and local environments. Tembo on Monday announced that it raised $14 million in a funding round led by GreatPoint Ventures with participation from Venrock, Grand Ventures, Wireframe Ventures, Defined VC and Cintrifuse Capital.

“We’re harnessing the power of Postgres for everyone to use,” Tembo founder and CEO Ry Walker told TechCrunch. “With Tembo, enterprises can cut costs by minimizing the number of databases and increase efficiency by enabling less complex data pipelines.”

Walker studied computer science at the University of Cincinnati before dropping out to build a web agency, Sharkbytes, in the ’90s. After selling his first company, Walker started Differential, a venture studio, out of which spun Astronomer, an open source data engineering pipeline that Walker co-founded.

It was shortly after the launch of Astronomer that Walker said he realized his passion for early-stage ventures. So he founded Tembo. “After building Astronomer and working on open source passion projects, I realized our model at Astronomer could be applied to the database industry with even more impact,” he said.

Tembo provides a managed, metered software-as-a-service Postgres service as well as self-hosted software to set up and orchestrate Postgres databases. Customers can spin up databases with features like auto-scaling and soon auto-tuning for self-maintenancing.

Recently, Tembo launched Machine Learning Stack, which allows devs to build and deploy AI models — including the open generative AI models that Tembo provides as a service — leveraging workflows alongside their databases.

“The astronomical increase in data has caused a massive data sprawl that is inefficient and extremely expensive,” Walker said. “With Tembo, enterprises can cut costs by minimizing the number of databases and increase efficiency by enabling less complex data pipelines.”

With $20 million in capital and a team of about 25 people, Cincinnati-based Tembo plans to focus on product development, hiring and advertising, Walker said. The challenge will be continuing to beat back rivals, including Postgres creator Mike Stonebraker’s new startup, DBOS. But Walker says that Tembo’s up to it.

“We’re reaching a critical inflection point to help enterprises with their strategy by leveraging Postgres for all of their growing data capture and storing needs,” Walker said. “The global database market is growing 15% year-over-year, expected to be $200 billion by 2027. This is just the tip of the iceberg over the next decade. Our goal is just as ambitious as the opportunity; we’re harnessing the power of Postgres for everyone to use.”

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