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Unicorn Valuation, Workhorse Values: Part 2 of Our Series C Announcement

 

Today we announced that Starburst has raised $100M in Series C financing, led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Salesforce Ventures, along with our existing investors Index Ventures and Coatue.

Previously, I have written about how I want to vomit every time I read about a startup achieving “Unicorn” status (i.e. a valuation of $1B+).  “Unicorns are not real!”, I yell.

Well, with this fundraise, we too have surpassed this artificial milestone.  Don’t let that fool you though, Starburst is a Workhorse, not a Unicorn.

What is a Workhorse?

A workhorse, like the name implies, is an actual horse that performs real work.  That pretty much sums up everything you need to know about the culture that we strive to create here at Starburst.

Beginning with our roots as a bootstrapped, profitable company, three of our core values are authenticity, humility, and grit.  Some startups adhere to the “fake it til you make it” philosophy, but we want to earn it every step of the way. We don’t give out free lunch and we don’t travel first class. We hire people who grind, day in and day out, and LIKE IT.

While our recent fundraise might have brought you to this blog post (and we’re happy you’re here), it’s never been our goal.  Our mission is to build a sustainable long-term business that transforms the data warehousing industry.  Call us old fashioned, but we think profit is cool, and we’re proud of the fact that we’ve been profitable 10 of the last 11 quarters. While we certainly spend some of this fresh capital to scale faster, we never want to lose sight of what it takes to build a sustainable business.

Meet Integritty - She’s the perfect blend of our values of Integrity and Grit. 


Unicorn valuation. Workhorse values. (2)

The Workhorse Playbook

If you’d like to learn more, Forbes has given me the opportunity to write a three-part series about this topic called The Workhorse Playbook. 

The first article in the playbook is about the value of bootstrapping. If founders have this option, they should take it. It forces you to really test your value proposition early and develop the right business fundamentals.  It also allows you the freedom to make decisions without the investor ROI clock ticking. Granted, this is not an easy path, and it means wearing many hats as you work with minimal resources.

The second article in the playbook is about finding blue-collar execs. Blue-collar execs are startup-ready leaders who have a strong bias toward action and aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. They are as fanatical as the founders and are motivated by the challenges that come with building something from nothing, not the status or title of the role. They have strong character, source their own talent, and are generally extremely resourceful - and they’re essential to building a workhorse culture as they themselves are workhorses.

The last article in the workhorse playbook is about creating a competitive, not cutthroat culture. This post is being finished up as we speak and will publish soon.  Achieving this is a bit of a balancing act. We want to foster an empathetic, collaborative, and supportive culture while at the same time celebrating and rewarding individual and team success often.

If you’re a workhorse and are looking for an exceptional opportunity, please check out our open roles.

Justin Borgman

Justin is the co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Starburst. Prior to founding Starburst, Justin was Vice President and General Manager at Teradata (NYSE: TDC), where he was responsible for the company’s portfolio of Hadoop products. Prior to joining Teradata, Justin was co-founder and CEO of Hadapt, the pioneering “SQL-on-Hadoop” company that transformed Hadoop from file system to analytic database accessible to anyone with a BI tool. Hadapt was acquired by Teradata in 2014.

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