They're playing our song: CenturyLink acquires Portland startup Orchestrate to deliver next generation data services

For many startups, the promise of substantially growing their businesses comes with strong partnerships. And often, those partnerships quickly become something much more significant. Such was the case, yesterday, when it was revealed that leading connectivity provider CenturyLink had acquired database-as-a-service startup Orchestrate to augment its CenturyLink Cloud offering.

Why pick up Orchestrate? Well, honestly, it’s happily sounding a bit like Victor Kiam:

[T]here are so many types of NoSQL databases that developers need to keep track of, and it seems like a new one emerges every day. There are dozens of database packages in the market that didn’t even exist five years ago. Each one has important tradeoffs. Is it easy to use? How does it scale? What does it take to get resilience? Developers are faced with the choice of either weaving together multiple technologies in order to get the backend services they need, or settling on a single-purpose platform that meets SOME of their requirements. There’s got to be a better way, right? Orchestrate tackled this challenge by building a multi-modal managed database fabric that gives developers a single API for key-value, geospatial, graph and time series data. They even managed to fit full-text search features into the service. Orchestrate caught our attention when we saw how well it performed on CenturyLink Cloud last year. We marveled at how easy it was to integrate with Orchestrate when we added them to our Cloud Marketplace earlier this year.

This is a game-changing approach for organizations of ANY size that have complex data needs but don’t want to stand up and run a fleet of different database engines. We love this idea so much, we decided to acquire Orchestrate.

Orchestrate cofounder and CEO Antony Falco provided his view in an Orchestrate blog post celebrating the milestone:

As a milestone blog post, this marks an end and a beginning. When Matt, Ian, and I founded Orchestrate, we had a pretty good idea of where NoSQL was going. It was consolidating. NoSQL databases unlocked tremendous creativity and value – most of the so-called unicorn startups of today have been either originators or major users of NoSQL technologies. Over time, however, running half a dozen specialized databases has proven inefficient. Enter multi-model (or multi-query or polyglot) databases like Orchestrate. We built a service that combined five different NoSQL database types in one and we made it simple to use. It couldn’t have been such a bad idea. Recently, others have started to follow suit.

Building a service, or a company for that matter, is really about building a team. I won’t add to the rivers of electronic ink spilled every day in blogs about teams except to say, after several startups, one thing is clear: character matters. Working with people of integrity, people who meet challenges with determination, people who find their primary motivation in doing excellent work and delighting users – people with these qualities make good outcomes seem inevitable. The biggest success of Orchestrate has been our ability to bring together such a uniformly strong group of people and turn them loose on the challenge of multi-model persistence.

Orchestrate had raised $3 million seed round led by True Ventures. Among its customers, perhaps the most famous is Rovio, makers of Angry Birds.

This marks the second alum from PIE, an early stage startup accelerator, to be acquired by CenturyLink. The first was AppFog, a participant in the coworking phase of the PIE experiment.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

For more information, see the CenturyLink press release. Or read the coverage from VentureBeat, GeekWire, The Oregonian, and the Portland Business Journal.

[Full disclosure: Orchestrate is an alum of PIE. I am the cofounder and general manager of PIE.]

  1. Congratulations, Tony! Well deserved!

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