As the Snapchat app continues to grow, the company is turning to the open source community to help further improve its technology infrastructure. This morning, Snap announced the acquisition of Toronto-based KeyDB, the developer of a high-performance open-source database, for an undisclosed sum.
The startup’s six-person team, including co-founders John Sully and Ben Schermel, will join Snap’s infrastructure team after the deal closes and work to improve Snap’s caching technology and its significant engineering workloads, the company said.
Startup backed by AY Combinator, KeyDB touted its solution as a faster alternative to Redis, offering a focus on things like multithreading, memory efficiency, and high throughput. For Snap, he sees the benefit of bringing technology — and team expertise — in-house to help the company reduce operational costs between teams and free up engineering bandwidth. It also allows Snap to focus more on building other core Snapchat experiences, the company said.
A Snap spokesperson told TechCrunch that KeyDB’s technology will be of great use across Snap, including its monetization platforms and Spotlight. The latter is Snapchat’s shorthand video product and a rival to TikTok, which is now a key part of Snap’s business.
KeyDB’s multi-threaded database uses Redis data structures, flash storage and replication, and operates at Snap scale, the company noted. It’s also an open source project that has a large community, with over 3 million public downloads.
Luckily for the other engineers, Snap says it will continue the open-source project and open KeyDB’s Pro and Enterprise offerings after the acquisition as well. This will allow the company to continue to benefit from contributions from the wider community, we’re told, but will also help Snap better establish its own presence within the open source community and build relationships with more developers.
Additionally, as Snap engineers merge their own internal improvements into the KeyDB project, the company believes it will be able to help address issues for the wider 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 large office that includes, among others, its Bitmoji team.
Snap has been quite an acquirer over the past year or so, with many of its recent mergers and acquisitions focusing on underlying technologies. In 2021, for example, Snap bought 3D mapping developer Pixel8earth for $7.6 million, tech startup Fit Analytics for $124 million, location data startup StreetCred, headband maker NextMind spirit and an AR startup to power Spectacles, WaveOptics, for $541.8+ million. .
The company had disclosed pricing for FitAnalytics and WaveOptics in a filing with the SEC due to their size, but said all 2021 acquisitions totaled just $266.1 million. The company wouldn’t discuss KeyDB’s price, but Crunchbase reports the company was funded with $1.3 million.