Listen Here

| |



Welcome to another episode of Category Visionaries — the show that explores GTM stories from tech’s most innovative B2B founders. In today’s episode, we’re speaking with Nicolas Hourcard, CEO & Founder of QuestDB, an open-source time series database that has raised $15 Million in funding. 

Here are the most interesting points from our conversation:

  • The Genesis of QuestDB: Nicolas’ fascination with time series data began during his tenure at Rothschild and a crypto startup, culminating in the partnership with his co-founder to start QuestDB, aiming to address the burgeoning market need for efficient time series data analysis.
  • Early Days and Challenges: The initial journey involved pitching to venture capitalists in London, facing rejections, and being advised to prove the concept by generating revenue, a daunting task for a product intended to be open-source.
  • Y Combinator and Turning Point: QuestDB’s acceptance into Y Combinator marked a significant milestone, providing the validation and support needed to propel the startup into its next growth phase.
  • Monetization Strategy: QuestDB approached monetization cautiously, focusing first on product development and open-source community adoption before introducing enterprise features post-Series A funding.
  • Open Source as a Competitive Edge: The decision to make QuestDB open-source was pivotal, fostering a community of users and contributors that fueled the product’s development and adoption.
  • Marketing and Community Engagement: QuestDB’s marketing strategy emphasizes authentic, technical content that resonates with developers, leveraging the team’s deep engineering expertise to engage with the community and build a strong brand identity in the developer ecosystem.



Embrace Open Source for Community-Driven Growth:

Nicolas' decision to make QuestDB open-source was instrumental in its early development and user adoption. For tech founders, embracing open-source can not only drive product improvement through community contributions but also build a loyal user base that can transition into paying customers.

Prioritize Technical Content for Developer Engagement:

QuestDB’s marketing strategy, focused on authentic and deeply technical content, effectively engaged its target developer audience. Founders should consider leveraging their own technical expertise or that of their team to create content that resonates with and educates their user base.

Use Rejections as Learning Opportunities:

The early rejections from venture capitalists didn't deter Nicolas; instead, they highlighted the importance of proving the product’s market fit and potential. Founders should view rejections not as setbacks but as opportunities to refine their pitch and product strategy.

Wait for the Right Time to Monetize:

Nicolas’ approach to delay monetization until after Series A funding underscores the value of focusing on product excellence and community building first. Founders in the open-source space, in particular, may find this phased approach to monetization beneficial for long-term success.

Secure the Right Investors Early On:

The importance of choosing investors who understand and support your vision cannot be overstated. Nicolas emphasizes selecting investors who are aligned with your startup’s goals and can provide not just capital but valuable guidance and support.

Recommended Founder

Ryan Janssen

CEO and Co-Founder of Zenlytic

Ryan Janssen, CEO and Co-Founder of Zenlytic: $5.4 Million Raised for AI-Assisted Business Intelligence to Drive Better Decisions

Kaycee Lai

CEO and Founder of Promethium

Kaycee Lai, CEO and Founder of Promethium: $34.5 Million Raised to Make Building Data Products Easy

Vinoth Chandar

CEO and Founder of Onehouse

Vinoth Chandar, CEO and Founder of Onehouse: $33 Million Raised to Bring Order to Data Lakehouses

Sarah Nagy

CEO of Seek AI

Sarah Nagy, CEO of Seek AI: $7.5 Million Raised to Modernize Business Analytics with Generative AI-Powered Database Queries

Eric Olden

CEO and Founder of Strata Identity

Eric Olden, CEO and Founder of Strata Identity: $42 Million Raised to Build the Identity Orchestration Category

Dan DeMers

CEO of Cinchy

Dan DeMers, CEO of Cinchy: Over $24 Million Raised to Build a Data Collaboration Platform That Makes Data Integration Obsolete

Saket Saurabh

Co-founder & CEO of Nexla

Saket Saurabh, CEO of Nexla: $15 Million Raised to Build the Future of Data Operations

Jorge Penalva

CEO of

Jorge Penalva, CEO of $40 Million+ Raised to Build the Customer Experience Operations Category

Logan Havern

CEO and Founder of DataLogz

Logan Havern, CEO & Founder of DataLogz: $8 Million Raised to Build the BI Ops Category

Sean Knapp

Founder & CEO of Ascend

Sean Knapp, Founder & CEO of Ascend: $50 Million to Power the Future of Data Engineering

Jean Le Bouthillier

CEO of Qohash

Jean Le Bouthillier, CEO of Qohash: $20 Million Raised to Build the Future of Data Security

Idan Shchori

CEO of Datorios

Idan Shchori, CEO of Datorios: More Than $23 Million Raised to Build the Perfect Data Orchestration Environment to Run ETL Code

Michel Tricot

Co-Founder & CEO of Airbyte

Michel Tricot, CEO of Airbyte: $181 Million Raised to Build the Future of Data Integration

Ethan Aaron

Founder, CEO of Portable

Ethan Aaron, CEO of Portable: $3 Million Raised to Build a Cloud ETL Tool That Supports the Long Tail of Business Applications

Ajay Kulkarni

Co-Founder/CEO of Timescale

Ajay Kulkarni, CEO of Timescale: $180 Million Raised to Redefine the Database Category

Eduardo Silva

CEO of Calyptia

Eduardo Silva, CEO of Calyptia: $5 Million Build the Future of Data Observation

Nicholas Freund

Co-founder & CEO, of

Nicholas Freund, CEO of Workstream: $7 Million Raised to Build the Data Knowledge Management Category

Barr Moses

Co-Founder & CEO of Monte Carlo

Barr Moses, Co-Founder & CEO of Monte Carlo: $230 Million Raised to Build the Data Observability Category

Creating the Data Privacy Management Category with DataGrail

CEO and Co-Founder of DataGrail

Creating the Data Privacy Management Category with DataGrail’s Daniel Barber

Ian Coe

Co-Founder and CEO of Tonic AI

Ian Coe, Co-Founder and CEO of Tonic AI: $45 Million Raised to Build the Future of Synthetic Data

Ethan Ruby

CEO and Co-Founder of SaaSGrid

Ethan Ruby, CEO and Co-Founder of SaaSGrid: $3M Raised to Become the Standard For SaaS Metrics

Yardin Shaked

CEO of Varos

Yardin Shaked, CEO, and Co-Founder at Varos: $4M Raised to Revolutionize Competitive Analytics and Break Data Silos