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Q/A with Lightbend CEO about $20m funding round and the future for Reactive

Mark Brewer President & CEO, Lightbend, Inc.

Recently we announced our Series C funding round in a press release titled Lightbend Closes $20 Million in Series C Funding Led by Intel Capital, and we felt like it made sense to give a little more context for our community with these follow up questions.

What led to this new  funding for Lightbend?

As Gartner analyst Anne Thomas puts it: “Traditional application architectures and platforms are obsolete. A fundamental shift to digital business requires 50% of software in the next 5 years to be built with a new model.”

We are already seeing a shift in the industry towards the adoption of Reactive systems, Fast Data streaming applications and Microservices architectures, and we believe that building these systems using Lightbend technologies is the most effective and efficient  way to do it.

The company has closed funding rounds with Shasta Ventures and Bain Capital previously, which has enabled us to grow to the size that we are today. In recent weeks, we announced our acquisition of BoldRadius, and this latest round for $20 million, led by Intel Capital, will help us realize our ambition to grow considerably larger and scale out to address the broader Enterprise Java industry.

What interested Intel Capital in investing in Lightbend?

Intel is seeing that Big [Fast] Data, Mobile and IoT use cases are driving a sea change in enterprise architectures. Intel is capturing this momentum in many strategic areas, from OSS projects like GearPump, to commercial offerings like their Omni-Path Fabric product line.

Intel also sees a general trend in adoption of the Lightbend technology to allow enterprises to unlock the potential of hybrid cloud architectures by having highly efficient, highly performant and consistently responsive applications that can scale up and scale down dynamically on demand.

Recognizing this, all our investors understand that Lightbend provides the critical software infrastructure to enable enterprises to take advantage of the advances in both distributed application services and hybrid-cloud infrastructure to power the next generation of enterprise applications.

What are your plans for this funding?

Our plan is to continue to invest in delivering the tools and frameworks that development teams need to create these applications––Akka, Play, Lagom, Scala, Spark and so on––as well as adding to our complementary suite of management products that enable large enterprises to successfully run these applications in production.  We will be investing in our go-to-market and partnership efforts as well.

What are some use cases for the projects you are working on?

Lightbend Platform is used by our customers in many exciting, state-of-the-art projects with use cases for improved customer engagement, market expansion, integration of IoT, etc. and we need to continue to provide the technology leadership and enablement services to support a really broad set of requirements.

These customers use our technologies and services to achieve goals like improving customer engagement via mobile devices, integrate IoT data into real-time business decisions, content delivery to hundreds of millions of devices, auto-scaling resources to support massive spikes of website activity, etc.

One of the most exciting areas of investment for us right now is helping the many enterprises that are looking to modernize their legacy architectures and we have a new microservices framework called Lagom that makes this transformation much, much easier.

What are some of your key partnerships and strategy around partnering?

Many of the use cases we see require tight integration with other key components of a modern application architecture, particularly for “fast data” applications where the so-called “SMACK Stack” (Spark, Mesos, Akka, Cassandra, Kafka) is the reference architecture.

Consequently, as the company behind Akka, we partner with the companies behind the other open source projects in that stack:  Databricks, Mesosphere, Datastax and Confluent, as well as other key players such as IBM.  We are also seeing terrific opportunities in working with some of the global systems integrators, such as Accenture, who have practices dedicated to helping their clients move to modern, Reactive architectures.

Read the official press release announcing the funding: Lightbend Closes $20 Million in Series C Funding Led by Intel Capital.


The Total Economic Impact™
Of Lightbend Akka

  • 139% ROI
  • 50% to 75% faster time-to-market
  • 20x increase in developer throughput
  • <6 months Akka pays for itself