Why Citus Data is donating 1% equity to PostgreSQL organizations

Written by Ozgun Erdogan
October 24, 2018

Today, we’re excited to announce that we have donated 1% of Citus Data’s stock to the non-profit PostgreSQL organizations in the US and Europe. The United States PostgreSQL Association (PgUS) has received this stock grant. PgUS will work with PostgreSQL Europe to support the growth, education, and future innovation of Postgres both in the US and Europe.

To our knowledge, this is the first time a company has donated 1% of its equity to support the mission of an open source foundation.

To coincide with this donation, we’re also joining the Pledge 1% movement, alongside well-known technology organizations such as Atlassian, Twilio, Box, and more.

Why make this donation? Because it’s the right thing to do

At Citus Data, we have a special relationship with PostgreSQL. Our flagship product Citus builds on and transforms Postgres into a distributed database. Our team attends and presents at Postgres conferences. We sponsor PostgreSQL events and meetups. We learn from and contribute back to the community. Our customers use many drivers, tools, and connectors in the Postgres ecosystem.

In short, our team and our company have hugely benefited from Postgres over the years. We owe a lot of our success to the PostgreSQL project and the many talented people involved.

Today, we’re giving back to the community that who made this project so successful.

Why is this important? Because PostgreSQL is the world’s only independent database

PostgreSQL is unique.

Postgres is not only the world’s most advanced open source relational database. It is also the world’s only independent database. No single company backs or represents the Postgres project.

In one sense, the PostgreSQL community came to be, rather than being put together by one company. And the Postgres open source community has been steadily building new features for more than 20 years.

PGCon 2006
Signage for the first PostgreSQL Conference (PGCon) celebrating 10 years of development, in 2006. Photograph by Oleg Bartunov.

Today, Postgres offers a capable, robust, and popular alternative to proprietary relational databases, such as Oracle. Postgres also offers a solid starting point for new applications. Those who use it never look back.

With this donation, we’d like to do our part to make sure that PostgreSQL prospers for the next 20 years (and more) to come. By sharing a piece of our future success with PgUS, we hope the Postgres community will continue to be the independent and successful one that it is today.

Magnus Hagander, the president of the non-profit PostgreSQL Europe, puts it the best:

“The PostgreSQL community is committed to driving innovation on the world’s most advanced open source database. And to do this, we need advocates and community members to continue to do the great work they do. I think this donation is a generous way to support the PostgreSQL community, and shines a light on the importance of supporting open source projects that underpin so many products and companies today.”

Magnus Hagander, PostgreSQL core team member and president of PostgreSQL Europe

We hope others who benefit from Postgres and open source will also contribute

One challenge with being an independent open source project, is financial. How does the funding model evolve over time to ensure the sustainability of Postgres?

Today, the PostgreSQL community is built around many independent contributors and maintainers—as well as several independent software vendors, such as 2ndQuadrant, Citus Data, Crunchy Data, EnterpriseDB, and Postgres Professional. The collaboration of so many people in the PostgreSQL project has made PostgreSQL more successful than ever. In fact, earlier this year, PostgreSQL was named the database management system (DBMS) of the year for 2017.

At the same time, the distribution model for databases is shifting to the cloud. With this shift, the economics of open source communities are changing.

I like how James Governor describes our 1% donation:

“One the most important issues in modern software is building sustainable open source models in the age of the cloud. Citus Data is both making an innovative bet, and paying it forward, by applying the 1% Pledge model to underpin the renaissance of the Postgres community.”

James Governor, RedMonk analyst and co-founder

As co-founders, Umur Cubukcu, Sumedh Pathak and I feel privileged to be able to share a piece of our future success with the PostgreSQL Association.

We also hope this donation starts a larger conversation—a much-needed one—on giving back to open source communities in the age of cloud.

Big thank you to the Postgres community. We will keep working, day in and day out, to make this equity donation financially meaningful for you

It was around 7 years ago that we graduated from Y Combinator with a prototype and a vision. We wanted to make it so that developers would never have to worry about scaling their databases again.

Back then, NoSQL was considered the right way to scale. PostgreSQL was a wild bet. Our interactions with the Postgres community were limited to reading interesting conversations in pgsql-hackers list.

A lot has changed since then. Postgres emerged as the standard database for organizations around the world. It’s recognized far and wide for its innovative work. At the same time, a lot has also stayed the same. The community keeps growing and the database keeps getting better every year.

We’re looking forward to seeing the Postgres database continue to prosper. Here’s to a future where the Postgres community continues to thrive for the next 20 years to come.

On behalf of the Citus Data team—co-founders Ozgun Erdogan (CTO), Sumedh Pathak (VP Engineering), and Umur Cubukcu (CEO)

Ozgun Erdogan

Written by Ozgun Erdogan

Co-founder & CTO of Citus Data. Former Postgres engineering team director at Microsoft. Worked on distributed systems at Amazon. Speaker at PGCon, XLDB Conf, DataEngConf, PostgresOpen, & QCon. Dad.