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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 Yingjun Wu, CEO and Co-Founder of Rising Wave Labs, a SQL stream processing platform that has raised $40 million in funding. Let’s dive into the insights and experiences Yingjun shared with us.

  • Yingjun has dedicated over a decade to stream processing and database systems, underscoring his deep expertise and passion for the field, which he furthered through his PhD and experiences at AWS Redshift and IBM.
  • Rising Wave Labs focuses on revolutionizing SQL streaming databases in the cloud, aiming to facilitate real-time data processing and decision-making for businesses, a leap forward from traditional batch processing.
  • Despite the company’s technical focus, Yingjun emphasizes the importance of customer obsession, inspired by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, ensuring Rising Wave prioritizes customer satisfaction and needs over competitive benchmarks.
  • The startup journey for Rising Wave began with the observation that existing data processing solutions did not offer the real-time analytics businesses increasingly require, leading Yingjun to pivot from AWS to founding his own company.
  • Rising Wave has seen impressive growth with over 5,000 deployments and significant community engagement on GitHub, attributing success to leveraging popular technologies like Rust and focusing on educating potential users about the benefits of stream processing.
  • A notable go-to-market challenge for Yingjun has been prioritizing amidst a multitude of customer requests and integrating with various systems, highlighting the balancing act of responding to immediate needs while planning for strategic growth.
  • Yingjun’s advice to new founders is to engage with customers early and often. Understanding customer workloads, requirements, and integration needs is critical, even more so than initial product development.
  • Looking ahead, Yingjun envisions Rising Wave Labs becoming a leader in the stream processing domain, maintaining a sharp focus on customer needs and real-time data processing without diversifying into unrelated tech trends.

Actionable
Takeaways

Embrace Your Niche with Passion and Expertise:

Yingjun showcases the power of specializing in a specific technology area for over a decade. For B2B tech founders, deeply understanding your field and its future can be a significant competitive advantage. Leveraging this deep expertise enables you to identify and fill gaps in the market more effectively.

Customer Obsession Drives Innovation:

Inspired by the ethos of Amazon, Yingjun’s approach to always prioritizing customer satisfaction and needs over beating competitors or rushing to market underscores the value of being customer-obsessed. Founders should focus on solving real problems for their customers, which can lead to more sustainable growth and innovation.

Strategic Product Development from Day One:

Rising Wave Labs' success illustrates the importance of starting with a clear, strategic vision for your product, especially when innovating in crowded or complex markets. Founders should focus on how their product differs and solves problems in ways current solutions do not, particularly emphasizing real-time solutions for immediate needs.

Community Engagement and Education are Key for Growth:

Yingjun’s emphasis on educating the market about the benefits of stream processing and leveraging community engagement on platforms like GitHub highlights a non-traditional but effective growth strategy. Educating your potential users and engaging with technical communities can significantly amplify your reach and product adoption.

Prioritize Based on Customer Feedback:

The challenge of prioritizing features and integrations based on customer feedback and requests is critical for maintaining focus and delivering value. Founders should develop processes to continuously gather, analyze, and act on customer feedback to ensure their product evolves in alignment with user needs.

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