Today we are proud to announce our investment in Supabase — a backend-as-a-service platform that allows frontend developers to easily set up the backend for their apps by providing managed services on top of the Postgres database (auth, access controls, etc.).
Our journey with Supabase began in 2021 when we started hearing chatter about their product in developer communities and within our own portfolio CTOs. We then spoke to a lot of high-quality developers and heard extreme love. Supabase’s NPS was touching north of 9+! Developers were raving about the product — we heard them say things like “Supabase is just doing it right” or “Every time I look at the sample code I feel, yes this is exactly how it should be, everything is well thought out”, or “10/10 for a relational database” or “10/10 if you need a solution for building SaaS”. It didn’t come as a surprise that Supabase was already one of the fastest-growing OSS projects on GitHub (#3 globally in Feb’21).
Unfortunately for us, we were a few days too late in our work and Supabase’s Series A was filled completely by their existing investors. However, through our work we knew we wanted to be in business with this amazing team, so we did what Lightspeed enjoys doing the most — being in service to visionary founders! We started helping Ant and Paul with hiring, product roadmapping, positioning, introducing them to potential advisors and more. We also felt a strong resonance with where Supabase was headed — a full fledged enterprise-ready Postgres-aaS cloud offering — so our broader vision for the company was in strong alignment and our mutual bond grew over time. When they were raising their Series B, Paul and Ant were kind enough to invite us in. It was one of the fastest checks we’ve written because so much of the context and conviction was already built into our decision by then.
As always, our investment thesis for Supabase is centred first and foremost around the founding team. Both Ant and Paul are mission-driven, hustling, repeat entrepreneurs with the right ingredients: a keen nose for a developer’s needs, outlier product instincts, and strategic long-term orientation. Besides the team, there were a few key structural reasons that made Supabase such a compelling investment for us. We believe Supabase is at the centre of 4 waves in enterprise infrastructure today:
1.The rise of JAMStack / front-end developer (ref): the Front End devs rule the roost — world has become way more agile and A/B testing of front-ends and rapid prototyping is very critical. Supabase’s tactic to position itself as the “BaaS of choice” for the JAMstack community and scale fast bottoms up is both strategic and necessary to build into this wave.
2. The rise of open source software (OSS): Developers today love the vendor-agnosticism and community-based models of OSS and Supabase is built on top of PostgreSQL which has over 30 years of OSS development behind it.
3. The “re” rise of SQL: there are strong signals that after a 10yr gap where noSQL was the first choice of backend developers, SQL is now coming back. People love the intuitiveness and simplicity of SQL and the issues which they moved away from SQL for, have more or less been resolved through better, faster storage, compute, and security offerings.
4. The rise of low/no-code: Supabase allows FE devs to access the whole backend via a very easy-to-use, intuitive, low/no-code platform. Developers we spoke to gave Supabase a 10/10 on its usability, scalability and intuitiveness.
It is no surprise that the developer traction and usage metrics for Supabase are world class at their stage. With consistent growth in total developers, active databases per developer, and growing number of daily signups — all of this completely organic via a now legendary “Ship and Shout” strategy — Supabase now has users from a variety of large enterprises and we are seeing developers staying on and building larger and larger projects over time over “SupaStack”.
Databases are one of the most important and evergreen parts of the software category. In the past, BaaS companies such as Firebase, Kinvey & Parse did not succeed in building large independent companies but today the market is much, much larger. Firebase, Parse and others were also built in the days when OSS was not yet mainstream. Today, some of the fastest-growing devtools have an OSS-first approach. Most importantly, prior BaaS platforms failed to provide a “graduation” path to enterprise use-cases. Firebase, even to-date, is great for “starter / hobbyist” projects but devs at large enterprises spin up their own DBs when they hit a certain scale.
The beauty of Supabase is that, on the surface it is an intuitive, easy to use, feature-rich BaaS, but under the hood, it is good old dependable Postgres that all developers are familiar with and can therefore graduate into. This approach solves the interoperability, scalability and reliability problem that other BaaS platforms suffer from.
Supabase’s growth is a testament to their product quality and market pull. They are already on their way to build a fully managed cross-cloud postgres-aaS platform that customers are using as an alternative to Amazon RDS or Aurora. This allows Supabase to serve both small as well as large revenue clients over time, several of whom are listed below that have either developers or internal champions of Supabase already.
At Lightspeed, we love investing in what we call generational founders who are building category defining businesses. We are proud, honoured, and — yeah, we’ll say it, supaxcited 🙂 — to start our journey with such a stellar team!
— Lightspeed India Saas & Enterprise Team
About Lightspeed India SaaS/Enterprise team: Lightspeed India’s SaaS and enterprise team brings together decades of experiences of prior founding journeys, business and product building, and investing across India and US markets. We have built hardware and software products across application, infrastructure & developer tools for global companies such as Google, Flipkart, AMD, Stripe and more, and invested in companies such as Innovaccer, Hubilo, Darwinbox, AccelData, Yellow.ai, Pixxel, Rattle, Supabase, and many more.
About Lightspeed: Lightspeed is a multi-stage venture capital firm focused on accelerating disruptive innovations and trends in the Enterprise, Consumer, and Health sectors. Since 2000, Lightspeed has backed entrepreneurs and helped build companies of tomorrow, including Snap, Affirm, AppDynamics, OYO, Nutanix, Byju’s, and Udaan. Lightspeed and its affiliates currently manage more than $10 Billion across the global Lightspeed platform, with investment professionals and advisors in India, Silicon Valley, Israel, China, Southeast Asia and Europe.