CWI spinoff DuckDB Labs on an adventure in the US

CWI spinoff DuckDB Labs on an adventure in the US

Database company DuckDB Labs, a spin-off of Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI), has co-founded a startup called MotherDuck in the US with a handful of database players. The young American company received $47.5 million this week from the likes of tech investor Andreessen Horowitz. With this, the company is building a cloud service on top of the open source database system DuctB.

DuckDB was launched in 2019 by Hannes Mühleisen and Mark Raasveldt, two researchers from CWI’s Database Architectures research group. They came up with a database that you can easily install and embed in running processes. This enables new applications such as mobile apps and self-driving cars. The system works anywhere, fast and even in a web browser, making it popular among data scientists and tech companies. It is downloaded more than eight lakh times a month.

In 2021, the database system CWI was held by a spinoff DuckDB Labs led by Mühleisen and Raasveldt. This company still exists CWI at the Amsterdam Science Park.

Google is a great query

“We’re building a data analytics platform that grows with you, without the complexity of distribution systems”

DuckDB gained attention in the US. There, Jordan Decani came up with a way to use this database system as a cloud service. Similar to what he did earlier when he founded BigQuery, Google’s cloud-based data analytics platform. Digani co-founded MotherDuck with other techies and received a $47.5 million investment this week in collaboration with DuckDB Labs.

The idea behind MotherDuck is that it is a good alternative to mainstream providers offering cloud solutions for data analytics. According to the startup, these mainly focus on processing very large amounts of data, which is unsuitable for the average user. The young company promises to make personalized user experience easier and faster to process without incurring high costs.


Data processing in DuckDB is column-based and vectorized, which means that even a simple laptop can run a database table with a billion rows in under a second, according to MotherDuck.

We build a data analytics platform that grows with you, without the complexity of distributed systems. You can easily scale up and down as your needs change. Digani’s team includes people from data companies such as Google, Snowflake, Databricks, AWS, Meta and Elastic. Motherduck is located in Seattle.

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