Prisma raises $40 million for its ‘Rosetta Stone’ open source for database languages ​​– TechCrunch

When it comes to building databases and other backend software development, different organizations and developers don’t always speak the same language. Today, a startup called prism who built a platform – based on a server-side library – that allows users to write in the languages ​​most intuitive for them, but allows this work to continue in the wider application ecosystem of their organization, announces a financing of 40 million dollars to continue to develop its business.

Starting out with a focus on GraphQL, the company’s technology today works – in the words of CEO Søren Bramer Schmidt (who co-founded the startup with Johannes Schickling in Berlin) – “the layer underneath” and supports the JavaScript and TypeScript languages, as well as databases in PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLite, SQL Server, MongoDB and CockroachDB. Its open source-based ORM Prisma, launched last year, now has more than 150,000 developers using it for Node.js and TypeScript projects, growing at an average rate of 10% each month.

Schmidt said the plan is to increase investment in this open-source tool to attract more users, with a view to creating its first revenue-generating products. These commercial tools, which Prisma describes simply as an “application data platform” for now, are expected to launch later this year.

It was the traction he had for open source tools and plans for his first commercial steps that attracted investors. Altimeter leads this round, with Amplify Partners and Kleiner Perkins – a former investor – also participating. It also has, notably, founders supporting it from other “ecosystem companies” which are a sign of how Prisma is finding its feet in this broader landscape of platforms and tools. Among them, the founders of Vercel, PlanetScale, GitHub and SourceGraph.

(Quick note: Schmidt noted that one of the reasons Kleiner Perkins led its startup round in 2018 was that it was difficult to open doors with European backers as a startup that was in pre -income. At the time, the company also assumed that it would eventually have to move completely to the United States to continue growing. Fast forward to today, and he recognizes that a lot of things have changed, and they are growing happily as a company in Berlin.)

Prisma positions itself as a kind of Rosetta stone in the development world – or in the metaphor of prisms, an object that allows a source of information to be refracted into different parts. As Schmidt describes, after a period of essentially three languages, there was a proliferation of languages ​​in programming and database development that emerged about 15 years ago, part of a larger wave innovation in programming.

“But then the older, more boring ones saw all the good ideas and those started to flow into it,” he said. For example, JavaScript has become a much stronger language over the years. At the same time, however, the proliferation of database languages ​​has continued, he said, helped by the shift to cloud computing and a preference for using specialized databases for particular purposes. . “It’s much easier to host and operate a variety of databases,” he said.

Big tech organizations like Google and Twitter have invested a lot of money in in-house tools to circumvent this, producing “really good tools,” Schmidt said. But when it comes to a smaller organization, even a tech company, “they might have built something too, but they won’t be able to keep investing to keep it up to date. They have inferior tooling. Or nothing at all: “It’s a lot of learning and it’s difficult to be competent,” he added.

This is where the Prisma tools come in: they essentially help users stay compliant with various languages ​​when they code, query and manage these databases in a more efficient way, which mirrors the way developers work today. today.

Schmidt notes that Google’s or Twitter’s – built in-house – approach remains its biggest competition for the time being. It’s a little ironic, because it was the internal build to solve the exact same problem at a former employer, Trustpilot, that led him to the idea of ​​creating a product to solve the problem for everyone.

“The way developers build apps is changing,” Altimeter partner Jamin Ball said in a statement. “Prisma breaks down barriers between frontend and backend teams, and between data engineers, developers, and business analysts. The Prisma ORM is a product beloved by developers and an important step towards modernizing full-stack development. »

Maria H. Underwood