|Power Score: 69.40||Momentum Score: 70.0 (4)||HQ: San Francisco, CA||CEO: Ali Ghodsi|
Valuation: $28 billion (+352% vs. 2020)
Amt. Raised: $1.9 billion
Lobbying Spend: No
Industry Orgs: No
Headcount: 2,387 (+56% YoY)
Engineering Headcount: 996 (+63% YoY)
Big Tech Experience: 17%
Open Roles: 275
R&D Spending: n/a
Patents Applied For: 0
Patents Owned: 17
Exec Team Exits: No
Diversity Data: No
ESG/CSR Data: No
Databricks poses the most direct threat to Snowflake, which bears out in the Power Scores. It has seen its valuation grow by more than three times over in the past year, having closed a $1 billion funding round in February 2021 at a $28 billion valuation. Databricks is firmly rooted in the Bay Area tech scene — its founders met as professors at UC Berkeley, having previously worked on the open-source Apache Spark project — and this placement and pedigree has helped it attract top talent away from Big Tech.
Databricks isn't just a disruptor in terms of its growth, but also in its founding ethos — which pits it squarely against Snowflake. Databricks is all about open source, whereas Snowflake believes that its closed ecosystem fosters innovation. With the Delta Lake project, Databricks has attempted to establish an open-source "lakehouse" architecture that would allow files to be shared across different storage systems. AWS, Microsoft and Salesforce Ventures participated in Databricks' latest funding round, which signals there may be broader institutional support for the open-source database approach. The battle between Snowflake and Databricks has a ton of disruptive potential because the companies aren't competing just for market share, but also for the chance to shape the future of database architecture.
Snowflake's blockbuster IPO raises the question: When will Databricks turn to the public markets? A public debut could help turbocharge Databricks' growth and appease all the Big Tech engineers who left their nap pods behind to join a relatively unestablished venture. (Extensive research reveals that the Databricks office may have a giant hammock, so maybe the nap pods aren't as big of a factor.) Ali Ghodsi told Protocol in June that an IPO would happen this year, with the "exact timing TBD." Ghodsi downplayed the significance of an IPO, however, referring to it as "one step in a long journey."
They Said It
" [Enterprises] want to choose something that's open. Why? Because, you know, in the past there were great companies like Oracle and others that sold them amazing tech, but it wasn't open so they got locked in. And over [the] years, that company did not need to innovate anymore. And now they [can't] get off of it because they're locked in." —Databricks CEO Ali Ghodsi in a March 2021 interview with Protocol