How pgEdge Is Transforming The Multi-Billion Distributed Database Application Market

By Amit Chowdhry ● Mar 22, 2023
  • pgEdge is a company that makes it easier to build and deploy highly distributed database applications. This is the story behind pgEdge.

pgEdge is a company that makes it easier to build and deploy highly distributed database applications that recently raised $9 million in a seed round of funding led by Sands Capital Ventures and Grotech Ventures.

To learn more about the company Pulse 2.0 interviewed Phillip Merrick, co-founder and CEO of pgEdge.

Phillip Merrick

Amit: Could you tell me more about your background?

Phillip: I am a developer by background, and among other things co-invented what we now call web services and web APIs (I have my name on the original XML-RPC patents). This technology became the basis of webMethods, the first company I co-founded and ran as CEO. webMethods went on to an IPO and grew to over $200 million in revenues.

Following that, I co-founded EnterpriseDB with my good friend Denis Lussier to help make the Postgres open-source database more usable by large enterprises. Now EnterpriseDB (EDB) is the largest independent Postgres company and Postgres is the world’s most populous database. More recently I was CEO of SparkPost, an email delivery company acquired by MessageBird for $600 million. And then I became CEO of Fugue, a cloud security company acquired by Snyk in early 2022.

Amit: How did the idea for pgEdge come together?

Phillip: Basically, we started pgEdge for two reasons. First off, application architectures are evolving to place more components at or near the edge of the network. It began with static content at the presentation layer, and more recently companies like Cloudflare, Akamai, and Fastly have opened their platforms to allow computing to happen at the edge in a serverless way. The next logical step is for the database to be closer to the edge.

We think the best database to put at or near the edge is Postgres, the world’s most popular open-source database. And until now there has been no company doing distributed Postgres on top of the standard Postgres engine while also making their source code available.

Second, large enterprises are moving away from heavy and expensive proprietary databases like Oracle to open-source databases, especially Postgres which has been proven in the enterprise space over the past 15 or more years.

However they need the same distributed capabilities Oracle provides, particularly for high-availability architectures. And having been trapped previously by a proprietary vendor they don’t want to invest again in proprietary solutions. That is a need we wanted to meet with pgEdge Distributed PostgreSQL, and why we are keeping it open and based on standard Postgres.

Part of the pgEdge backstory is that all the way back in 2004 Denis Lussier co-founded EnterpriseDB, now one of the more successful independent companies in the Postgres community. The idea for EnterpriseDB was to bring missing enterprise capabilities to open-source Postgres.

We looked at adding both Oracle compatibility and fully distributed databases but realized as a startup we needed to focus on one thing at a time. It seemed early for fully distributed so we chose Oracle compatibility.

Fast forward to early summer 2022 and Denis and I decided that with industry developments like the emergence of full-fledged edge computing platforms such as Cloudflare Workers, Fastly Compute@Edge, and similar it was time to revisit “Door number 2”: Fully distributed Postgres.

As luck would have it, Denis and his team had been working on multi-active (multi-master) distributed Postgres – the Postgres extension we now call Spock — and so pgEdge was born!

Amit: What are pgEdge’s core products and features?

Phillip: Our core product is pgEdge Distributed PostgreSQL, which is fully distributed Postgres optimized for the network edge. With pgEdge, database nodes can be geographically distributed and take both read and write traffic.

For customers, this means reduced data latency and must faster web page load times, and it makes it easier and less costly to implement high-availability database applications.

The selective replication features of pgEdge provide the ability to tackle data residency challenges mandated by regulations or customer preference, where locally generated data must stay local within the region (e.g. Europe) or the country.

pgEdge Distributed PostgreSQL is available as a fully managed database-as-a-service (DBaaS) offering called pgEdge Cloud. Alternatively, it is also offered as self-hosted and self-managed software called pgEdge Platform.

Amit: What was the process of taking the idea for pgEdge to a full-fledged business?

Phillip: We built pgEdge around the initial team and Spock technology Denis had put together and self-funded the company initially to further grow the team.

We worked in stealth mode throughout 2022 and up until our launch just this week, testing our technology with several early customers. Concurrent with our launch we announced $9 million in seed financing, which will allow us to grow our sales, marketing, and engineering functions.

Amit: What have been some of pgEdge’s biggest milestones?

Phillip: Founding for sure. Acquiring our first customers, and then securing our seed financing.

Amit: Are you able to discuss funding and revenue milestones?

Phillip: Since we have only just launched and announced our seed funding this is a little premature, but we are planning on growing our revenues sufficiently to achieve Series A financing in the next 12 to 18 months.

Amit: What is the total addressable market (TAM) size that pgEdge is pursuing?

Phillip: The edge database market is nascent but sits at the intersection of the $39 billion database-as-a-service (DBaaS) market growing at 50% annually and the $37 billion edge computing market growing at 19% (These numbers are for 2021 and come from Gartner and Markets&Markets, respectively).

Amit: What distinguishes pgEdge from its competition?

Phillip: Unlike other vendors offering a distributed database solution, pgEdge is fully based on the standard Postgres database, and is 100% open with the source code available on GitHub.

Amit: What are some of pgEdge’s future company goals?

Phillip: Our goal quite simply is to make it easy to deploy distributed databases to make applications more responsive, more global, and more resilient. We believe the demand for always-on, globally distributed, and highly available applications will only continue to increase. Hence the market for open and standard fully distributed databases will grow dramatically in the coming years.