Snap snaps up database developer KeyDB to make its infrastructure more snappy


As Snapchat’s app continues to grow, the company is turning to the open source community to help further improve its technology infrastructure. This morning, Snap announced it’s acquiring the Toronto-based KeyDB, the developer of an open-source, high-performance database, for an undisclosed sum.

The startup’s six-person team, including its co-founders John Sully and Ben Schermel, will join Snap’s infrastructure team following the deal’s close, and will work to improve Snap’s caching technology and its sizable engineering workloads, the company says.

A Y Combinator-backed startup, KeyDB touted its solution as being a faster alternative to Redis, offering a focus on things like multi-threading, memory efficiency, and high throughput. For Snap, it sees the advantage in bringing the technology — and the team’s expertise — in-house to help the company reduce its operational costs across teams and to free up engineering bandwidth. This also allows Snap to focus more on building out other core Snapchat experiences, the company said.

A Snap spokesperson told TechCrunch that KeyDB’s technology will be of significant use across all of Snap, including its monetization and Spotlight platforms. The latter is Snapchat’s short-form video product and a rival to TikTok, which is now a key part of Snap’s business.

KeyDB’s multithreaded database utilizes Redis data structures, flash storage, and replication and runs at Snap scale, the company noted. It’s also an open source project that has a large community with over 3 million public downloads.

Fortunately for other engineers, Snap says it will continue the open source project and will also open source KeyDB’s Pro and Enterprise offerings following the acquisition. This will allow the company to continue to benefit from the broader community contributions, we’re told, but will also help Snap to better establish its own presence within the open source community and establish relationships with more developers.

Plus, as Snap’s engineers merge their own internal improvements into the KeyDB project, the company believes it will be able to help solve challenges across the broader community.

Going forward, visitors to the KeyDB GitHub repository will be redirected to the Snap GitHub repository.

The KeyDB team, meanwhile, will continue to work from Toronto where Snap already has a sizable office that includes, among others, its Bitmoji team.

Snap has been fairly acquisitive over the past year or so, with many of its recent mergers and acquisitions being focused on underlying technologies. In 2021, for instance, Snap bought a 3D mapping developer Pixel8earth for $7.6 million; a fitting technology startup Fit Analytics for $124 million; as well as a location data startup StreetCred; mind-controlled headband maker NextMind; and an AR startup to power Spectacles, WaveOptics, for $541.8+ million.

The company had disclosed the prices for FitAnalytics and WaveOptics in an SEC filing due to their size, but said all over 2021 acquisitions in aggregate only totaled $266.1 million. The company would discuss KeyDB’s price, but Crunchbase reports the company was seed-funded with $1.3 million.

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