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Conversation
Highlights

 

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.

 

Actionable
Takeaways

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.

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