Extra Crunch roundup: Edtech VC survey, 5 founder mistakes, fintech liquidity, more

Edtech is so widespread, we already need more consumer-friendly nomenclature to describe the products, services and tools it encompasses.

I know someone who reads stories to their grandchildren on two continents via Zoom each weekend. Is that “edtech?”

Similarly, many Netflix subscribers sought out online chess instructors after watching “The Queen’s Gambit,” but I doubt if they all ran searches for “remote learning” first.

Edtech needs to reach beyond underfunded public school systems to become more sustainable, which is why more investors and founders are focusing on lifelong learning.

Besides serving traditional students with field trips and art classes, a maturing sector is now branching out to offer software tutors, cooking classes and singing lessons.

For our latest investor survey, Natasha Mascarenhas polled 13 edtech VCs to learn more about how “employer-led up-skilling and a renewed interest in self-improvement” is expanding the sector’s TAM.

Here’s who she spoke to:

  • Deborah Quazzo, managing partner, GSV Ventures
  • Ashley Bittner, founding partner, Firework Ventures (a future of work fund with portfolio companies LearnIn and TransfrVR)
  • Jomayra Herrera, principal, Cowboy Ventures (a generalist fund with portfolio companies Hone and Guild Education)
  • John Danner, managing partner, Dunce Capital (an edtech and future of work fund with portfolio companies Lambda School and Outschool)
  • Mercedes Bent and Bradley Twohig, partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners (a multistage generalist fund with investments including Forage, Clever and Outschool)
  • Ian Chiu, managing director, Owl Ventures (a large edtech-focused fund backing highly valued companies including Byju’s, Newsela and Masterclass)
  • Jan Lynn-Matern, founder and partner, Emerge Education (a leading edtech seed fund in Europe with portfolio companies like Aula, Unibuddy and BibliU)
  • Benoit Wirz, partner, Brighteye Ventures (an active edtech-focused venture capital fund in Europe that backs YouSchool, Lightneer and Aula)
  • Charles Birnbaum, partner, Bessemer Venture Partners (a generalist fund with portfolio companies including Guild Education and Brightwheel)
  • Daniel Pianko, co-founder and managing director, University Ventures (a higher ed and future of work fund that is backing Imbellus and Admithub)
  • Rebecca Kaden, managing partner, Union Square Ventures (a generalist fund with portfolio companies including TopHat, Quizlet, Duolingo)
  • Andreata Muforo, partner, TLCom Capital (a generalist fund backing uLesson)

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In other news: Extra Crunch Live, a series of interviews with leading investors and entrepreneurs, returns next month with a full slate of guests. This year, we’re adding a new feature: Our guests will analyze pitch decks submitted by members of the audience to identify their strengths and weaknesses.

If you’d like an expert eye on your deck, please sign up for Extra Crunch and join the conversation.

Thanks very much for reading! I hope you have a fantastic weekend — we’ve all earned it.

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch

13 investors say lifelong learning is taking edtech mainstream

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin

Rising African venture investment powers fintech, clean tech bets in 2020

After falling into yesterday’s wild news cycle, Alex Wilhelm returned to The Exchange this morning with a close look at venture capital activity across Africa in 2020.

“Comparing aggregate 2020 figures to 2019 results, it appears that last year was a somewhat robust year for African startups, albeit one with fewer large rounds,” he found.

For more context, he interviewed Dario Giuliani, the director of research firm Briter Bridges, which focuses on emerging markets in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Talent and capital are shifting cybersecurity investors’ focus away from Silicon Valley

A road sign that says "Leaving California."

Image Credits: MCCAIG (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

New cybersecurity ecosystems are popping up in different parts of the world.

Some of of that growth has been fueled by an exodus from the Bay Area, but many early-stage security startups already have deep roots in East Coast cities like Boston and New York.

In the United Kingdom and Europe, government innovation programs have helped entrepreneurs close higher numbers of Series A and B rounds.

Investor interest and expertise is migrating out of Silicon Valley: This post will help you understand where it’s going.

Will Apple’s spectacular iPhone 12 sales figures boost the smartphone industry in 2021?

On Wednesday, 20 January, 2021, in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Image Credits: NurPhoto (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Today’s smartphones are unfathomably feature-rich and durable, so it’s logical that sales have slowed.

A phone purchased 18 months ago is probably “good enough” for many consumers, especially in times of economic uncertainty.

Then again, of the record $111.4 billion in revenue Apple earned last quarter, $65.68 billion came from phone sales, largely driven by the release of the iPhone 12.

Even though “Apple’s success this quarter was kind of a perfect storm,” writes Hardware Editor Brian Heater, “it’s safe to project a rebound for the industry at large in 2021.”

The 5 biggest mistakes I made as a first-time startup founder

Boy Standing with Dropped Ice Cream Cone

Image Credits: Randy Faris (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Finmark co-founder and CEO Rami Essaid wrote a post for Extra Crunch that candidly describes the traps he laid for himself that made him a less-effective entrepreneur.

As someone who’s worked closely with founders at several startups, each of the points he raised resonated deeply with me.

In my experience, many founders have a hard time delegating, which can quickly create cultural and operational problems. Rami’s experience bears this out:

“I became a human GPS: People could follow my directions, but they struggled to find the way themselves. Independent thinking suffered.”

Dear Sophie: How can I sponsor my mom and stepdad for green cards?

lone figure at entrance to maze hedge that has an American flag at the center

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie:

I just got my U.S. citizenship! My husband and I want to bring my mom and her husband to the U.S. to help us take care of our preschooler and toddler.

My biological dad passed away several years ago when I was an adult and my mom has since remarried.

Can they get green cards?

— Appreciative in Aptos

Check out the amazing speakers joining us on Extra Crunch Live in February

Extra Crunch Live February Schedule: February 3 Gaurav Gupta Lightspeed Venture Partners Raj Dutt Grafana Labs February 10 Aydin Senkut Felicis Kevin Busque Guideline February 17 Steve Loughlin Accel Jason Boehmig Ironclad February 24 Matt Harris Bain Capital Isaac Oates Justworks

Next month, Extra Crunch Live returns with a lineup of guests who are extremely well-qualified to discuss early-stage startups.

Each Wednesday at noon PPST/3 p.m. EST, join a conversation with founders and the investors who backed their companies:

February 3:

Gaurav Gupta (Lightspeed Venture Partners) + Raj Dutt (Grafana Labs)

February 10:

Aydin Senkut (Felicis Ventures) + Kevin Busque (Guideline)

February 17:

Steve Loughlin (Accel) + Jason Boehmig (Ironclad)

February 24:

Matt Harris (Bain Capital) + Isaac Oates (Justworks)

Also, we’re adding a new feature to Extra Crunch Live — our guests will offer advice and feedback on pitch decks submitted by Extra Crunch members in the audience!

10 VCs say interactivity, regulation and independent creators will reshape digital media in 2021

Photo of a young woman watching TV in the bedroom of her apartment; eating sushi and enjoying her night at home alone.

Image Credits: Aleksandar Nakic (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Since the pandemic disrupted the social rhythms of work and school, many of us have compensated by changing our relationship to digital media.

For instance, I purchased a new sofa and thicker living room curtains several months ago when I realized we have no idea when movie theaters will reopen.

Last year, podcast sponsors spent almost $800 million to reach listeners, but ad revenue is estimated to surpass $1 billion this year. Clearly, I’m not the only person who used a discount code to buy a new product in 2020.

At this point, I can scarcely keep track of the multiple streaming platforms I’m subscribed to, but a new voice-activated remote control that comes with my basic cable plan makes it easier to browse my options.

Media reporter Anthony Ha spoke to10 VCs who invest in media startups to learn more about where they see digital media heading in the months ahead. For starters, how much longer can we expect traditional advertising models to persist?

And in a world with hundreds of channels, how are creators supposed to compete for our attention? What sort of discovery tools can we expect to help us navigate between a police procedural set in a Scandinavian village and a 90s sitcom reboot?

Here’s who Anthony interviewed:

  • Daniel Gulati, founding partner, Forecast Fund
  • Alex Gurevich, managing director, Javelin Venture Partners
  • Matthew Hartman, partner, Betaworks Ventures
  • Jerry Lu, senior associate, Maveron
  • Jana Messerschmidt, partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners
  • Michael Palank, general partner, MaC Venture Capital (with additional commentary from MaC’s Marlon Nichols)
  • Pär-Jörgen Pärson, general partner, Northzone
  • M.G. Siegler, general partner, GV
  • Laurel Touby, managing director, Supernode Ventures
  • Hans Tung, managing partner, GGV Capital

Normally, we list each investor’s responses separately, but for this survey, we grouped their responses by question. Some readers say they use our surveys to study up on an individual VC before pitching them, so let us know which format you prefer.

Does a $27 billion or $29 billion valuation make sense for Databricks?

Data analytics platform Databricks is reportedly raising new capital that could value the company between $27 billion and $29 billion.

By the end of Q3 2020, Databricks had surpassed a $350 million run rate — a $150 million YoY increase, reports Alex Wilhelm.

At the time, he described the company as “an obvious IPO candidate” with “broad private-market options.”

Which begs the question: “Can we come up with a set of numbers that help make sense of Databricks at $27 billion?”

End-to-end operators are the next generation of consumer business

Tourist route to the top of the mountain. Rope bridge in the clouds. Crimea. Ai-Petri

Image Credits: Natalia Timchenko (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Rapid shifts in the way we buy goods and services disrupted old-school marketplaces like local newspapers and the Yellow Pages.

Today, I can use my phone to summon a plumber, a week’s worth of groceries or a ride to a doctor’s office.

End-to-end operators like Netflix, Peloton and Lemonade take a lot of time and energy to reach scale, but “the additional capital required is often outweighed by the value captured from owning the entire experience.”

Unpacking Chamath Palihapitiya’s SPAC deals for Latch and Sunlight Financial

On January 25, Social Capital CEO Chamath Palihapitiya tweeted that he was making two blank-check deals.

Enterprise SaaS company Latch makes keyless entry systems; Sunlight Financial helps consumers finance residential solar power installations.

“There are nearly 300 SPACs in the market today looking for deals,” noted Alex Wilhelm, who unpacked both transactions.

“There’s no escaping SPACs for a bit, so if you are tired of watching blind pools rip private companies into the public markets, you are not going to have a very good next few months.”

Fintechs could see $100 billion of liquidity in 2021

Long exposure spillway shines water and light. Copy space.

Image Credits: dan tarradellas (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

On Monday, we published the Matrix Fintech Index, a three-part study that weighs liquidity, public markets and e-commerce trends to create a snapshot of an industry in perpetual flux.

For four years running, the S&P 500 and incumbent financial services companies have been outperformed by companies like Afterpay, Square and Bill.com.

In light of steady VC investment, increasing consumer adoption and a crowded IPO pipeline, “fintech represents one of the most exciting major innovation cycles of this decade.”

Drupal’s journey from dorm-room project to billion-dollar exit

Dries Buytaert, co-founder and CTO at Acquia

Image Credits: Acquia

On January 15, 2001, then-college student Dries Buytaert released Drupal 1.0.0, an open-source content-management platform. At the time, about 7% of the world’s population was online.

After raising more than $180 million, Buytaert exited to Vista Equity Partners for $1 billion in 2019.

Enterprise reporter Ron Miller interviewed Buytaert to learn more about his 18-year journey.

“His story is compelling, but it also offers lessons for startup founders who also want to build something big,” says Ron.


Subscription-based pricing is dead: Smart SaaS companies are shifting to usage-based models

Software buying has evolved. The days of executives choosing software for their employees based on IT compatibility or KPIs are gone. Employees now tell their boss what to buy. This is why we’re seeing more and more SaaS companies — Datadog, Twilio, AWS, Snowflake and Stripe, to name a few — find success with a usage-based pricing model.

The usage-based model allows a customer to start at a low cost, while still preserving the ability to monetize a customer over time.

The usage-based model allows a customer to start at a low cost, minimizing friction to getting started while still preserving the ability to monetize a customer over time because the price is directly tied with the value a customer receives. Not limiting the number of users who can access the software, customers are able to find new use cases — which leads to more long-term success and higher lifetime value.

While we aren’t going 100% usage-based overnight, looking at some of the megatrends in software —  automation, AI and APIs — the value of a product normally doesn’t scale with more logins. Usage-based pricing will be the key to successful monetization in the future. Here are four top tips to help companies scale to $100+ million ARR with this model.

1. Land-and-expand is real

Usage-based pricing is in all layers of the tech stack. Though it was pioneered in the infrastructure layer (think: AWS and Azure), it’s becoming increasingly popular for API-based products and application software — across infrastructure, middleware and applications.

API-based products and appliacation software – across infrastructure, middleware and applications.

Image Credits: Kyle Poyar / OpenView

Some fear that investors will hate usage-based pricing because customers aren’t locked into a subscription. But, investors actually see it as a sign that customers are seeing value from a product and there’s no shelf-ware.

In fact, investors are increasingly rewarding usage-based companies in the market. Usage-based companies are trading at a 50% revenue multiple premium over their peers.

Investors especially love how the usage-based pricing model pairs with the land-and-expand business model. And of the IPOs over the last three years, seven of the nine that had the best net dollar retention all have a usage-based model. Snowflake in particular is off the charts with a 158% net dollar retention.


Okta SaaS report finds Office 365 wins the cloud — sort of

Each year Okta processes millions of SaaS logons via its authentication system. It kindly aggregates that data to find the most popular apps and publishes an annual report. This year it found that the most popular tool by far was Microsoft Office 365.

It’s worth noting that while app usage popularity varied by region, Office 365 was number one with a bullet across the board, whether globally or when the report broke it down by geographic area. That wasn’t true of any other product in this report, so Office 365 has extensive usage across the world (at least among companies that use Okta).

But as with everything cloud, it’s not a simple matter to say that because lots of people signed onto Office 365, Microsoft is the clear winner in a broader sense. In reality, the cloud is a complex marketplace, and just because people use one tool doesn’t preclude them from using tools that compete directly with it.

As a case in point, consider that the report found that 36% of Microsoft 365 customers were also using Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite), which offers a similar set of office productivity tools. Further, Okta found that 42% of Office 365 customers were using Zoom and 32% were using Slack.

This is pretty remarkable when you consider that Office 365 bundles Teams with similar functionality for free. What’s more, so does Google with Google Hangouts, so people use the tool they want when they want, and sometimes it seems they use competing versions of the same tool. The report also found that of those Office 365 users, 44% are using Salesforce, 41% AWS, 15% Smartsheet and 14% Tableau (which is owned by Salesforce). Microsoft has products in all those categories.

Microsoft is clearly a big company with a lot of products, but the report blows a hole in the idea that because people like Office 365, they are going to be big fans of other Microsoft products, or that they can count on any kind of brand loyalty across the range of products or even exclusivity within the same product category.

All of this, and much of the other data in this report makes tremendously interesting reading as far as it goes. It’s not a definitive window on the state of SaaS. It’s a definitive reading on the state of Okta customers’ use of SaaS, on the Okta Integration Network (OIN), a point the company readily acknowledges in the report’s methodology section.

“As you read this report, keep in mind that this data is representative of Okta’s customers, the applications and integrations we connect to through the OIN, and the ways in which users access these tools through our service,” the report stated.

But it is a way to look at the state of SaaS taking advantage of the 9400 Okta customers using the network and the 6,500 integrations to the world’s most popular SaaS tools. That gives the company a unique view into the world of SaaS. What you can conclude is that the cloud is complicated, and it’s not a zero-sum game by any means. In fact, being a winner in one area is not a guarantee of winning across the board.


Percona Monitoring and Management 2.14: Moving to a Push Model for VictoriaMetrics

Moving to a Push Model for VictoriaMetrics

Moving to a Push Model for VictoriaMetricsIn Percona Monitoring and Management 2.12.0 (PMM), we replaced Prometheus with VictoriaMetrics. Metrics data can now be ‘pushed’ to the server as well as being ‘pulled’ by the server.

This is useful if you want to keep open ports to a minimum or your monitored system is in an environment that favors “inside–>out” communication (like Kubernetes).

When adding new services for monitoring, you can use the --metrics-mode=push flag of pmm-admin and starting with v 2.14.0 push will be the default mode if you don’t specify.  (Note: Installing the 2.14.0 or newer PMM server will change the default behavior on 2.12.0 and 2.13.0 clients from “pull” method to “push” for any newly added services, existing services will remain whatever mode they were in prior to upgrading.)

But what if you need to change the metrics mode for an existing service?  You must first remove it then re-add it with the same name and some extra flags, and I wrote this blog to show how easy that process is.

I’ll explain using my test installation that has three monitored services already added in pull mode.

pmm-admin list

percona monitoring and management

make a note of the service names to be switched to push mode. (I write carefully because if the service name is accidentally changed, the system will treat this service as a new one and both new and old services will show up on your dashboards.)

Here’s the switch for the mysql_8_dev service. (I’ve highlighted the metrics-mode option.)

pmm-admin remove mysql mysql_8_dev; 
pmm-admin add mysql --username="root" --password="ps" --host="" \
--metrics-mode=push mysql_8_dev

You can use similar commands for PostgreSQL services:

pmm-admin remove postgresql PSQL-Stg; 
pmm-admin add postgresql --port="5432" --metrics-mode=push PSQL-Stg

Now, check that these two changed services are working in the new mode:
Node exporters can also be changed to work in push mode.

However, this involves all services on the node, due to the node_id changing. So, you need an extra step: collect the details of currently monitored services on the node, including all the authentication credentials your services may use for exporters’ access.

When you have your list of services, with their names, sockets, and credentials (which you will need after this step) you can run the re-configuration command for the node:

pmm-agent setup --config-file="/usr/local/percona/pmm2/config/pmm-agent.yaml" \
--server-insecure-tls --server-username=admin --server-password=admin \
--server-address= --metrics-mode=push generic Dell-5480 \

(Note the use of the --force flag, used for removing the node with this name and creating a new one.)

Now, the node is in push mode and you must re-add services using the same names as were used previously. (The commands are the same as those shown above for adding services.)

When all services have been added, check the current state of modes:

Here you see all exporters are working in push mode.

You’ll see the new metrics data for your services on dashboards after a short wait:

I hope that shows how easy it is to switch from pull to push modes, so long as you use the same names as before.


Webinar February 10: Kubernetes – The Path to Open Source DBaaS

Kubernetes The Path to Open Source DBaaS

Kubernetes The Path to Open Source DBaaSDon’t miss out! Join Peter Zaitsev, Percona CEO, as he discusses DBaaS and Kubernetes.

DBaaS is the fastest-growing way to deploy databases. It is fast and convenient yet it is typically done using proprietary software and tightly coupled to the cloud vendor. Percona believes Kubernetes finally enables a fully Open Source DBaaS Solution capable of being deployed anywhere Kubernetes runs – on the Public Cloud or in your private data center.

In this presentation, he will describe the most important user requirements and typical problems you would encounter building a DBaaS Solution and explain how you can solve them using the Kubernetes Operator framework.

Please join Peter Zaitsev, Percona CEO, on Wednesday, February 10, 2021, at 11:00 AM EST for his webinar on DBaaS and Kubernetes.

Register for Webinar

If you can’t attend, sign up anyway, and we’ll send you the slides and recording afterward.


Hong Kong startup ICW eyes supply chain diversification demand amid trade war

For American importers, finding suppliers these days can be challenging not only due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. The U.S. government’s entity list designations, human-rights-related sanctions, among other trade blacklists targeting Chinese firms have also rattled U.S. supply chains.

One young company called International Compliance Workshop, or ICW, is determined to make sourcing easier for companies around the world as it completed a fresh round of funding. The Hong Kong-based startup has just raised $5.75 million as part of its Series A round, boosting its total funding to around $10 million, co-founder and CEO Garry Lam told TechCrunch.

ICW works like a matchmaker for suppliers and buyers, but unlike existing options like Alibaba’s B2B platform or international trade shows, ICW also vets suppliers over compliance, product quality and accreditation. It gathers all that information into its growing database of over 40,000 suppliers — 80% of which are currently in China — and recommends them to customers based on individual needs.

Founded in 2016, ICW’s current client base includes some of the world’s largest retailers, including Ralph Lauren, Prenatal Retail Group, Blokker, Kmart and a major American pharmacy chain that declined to be named.

ICW’s latest funding round was led by Infinity Ventures Partners with participation from Integrated Capital and existing investors MindWorks Capital and the Hong Kong government’s $2 billion Innovation and Technology Venture Fund.

Supply chain shift

In line with the ongoing shift of sourcing outside China, in part due to the U.S.-China trade war and China’s growing labor costs, ICW has seen more customers diversifying their supply chains. But the transition has limitations in the short run.

“It’s still very difficult to find suppliers of certain product categories, for example, Bluetooth devices and power banks, in other countries,” observed Lam. “But for garment and textile, the transition already began to happen a decade ago.”

In Southeast Asia, which has been replacing a great deal of Chinese manufacturing activity, each country has its slight specialization. Whereas Vietnam abounds with wooden furniture suppliers, Thailand is known for plastic goods and Malaysia is a good source for medical supplies, said Lam.

When it comes to trickier compliance burdens, such as human rights sanctions, ICW relies on third-party certification institutes to screen and verify suppliers.

“There is a [type of] qualification standard that verifies whether a supplier has fulfilled its corporate social responsibility … like whether the factory fulfills the labor law, the minimum labor rights or the payroll, everything,” Lam explained.

ICW plans to use the fresh proceeds to further develop its products, including its compliance management system, product testing platform and B2B-sourcing site.


After soaring above $23B, Qualtrics’ founder and CEO reflect on a stellar debut

Amidst all of the the sturm und drang of l’affaire GameStop, Qualtrics went public today.

After pricing its stock above its raised IPO range, the company received a warm welcome from public investors. After starting its trading life worth $41.85, Qualtrics closed the day worth $45.50, up some 51.67%.

Qualtrics did everything that it said it was going to.

The software company’s debut comes after a lengthy path to the public markets; Qualtrics sold to SAP on the eve of its first run at a public listing back in 2018. Now, SAP has completed spinning the company out, though the software giant remains the Utah unicorn’s largest shareholder.

That Qualtrics’ IPO might perform well was presaged in its pricing run, having prices far above its initial valuation estimates; there was evidence of strong demand even before its shares started to trade.

But did Qualtrics misprice, given its strong first-day performance? TechCrunch spoke with Qualtrics CEO Zig Serafin, and its founder and current executive chairman Ryan Smith about its public offering, hoping to learn a bit about what is next for the company.

Pricing, plans

Having spoken to myriad folks on IPO days, I’ve learned the best way to kick off is to ask about emotions. Most CEOs and other execs are tied up in what they can (and cannot) say. And they are well-trained by communications experts regarding what to repeat and emphasize. You can sometimes loosen them up a little, however, by asking them how they feel.

In response to that question, Serafin described a feeling of gratitude and Smith brought up the long game. Qualtrics, he said, had been told that it couldn’t bootstrap, that it couldn’t build in Utah, that SAP had overpaid, that SAP had messed up and so forth.


How to Create PostgreSQL Custom Builds and Debian Packages

create postgresql custom builds

Some time ago, I required a specific version of PostgreSQL. After searching on all the repositories, I was unable to find that specific version. It seems that the PostgreSQL community removes the old package when a new minor version comes. For example, if you need the 12.2 version but the 12.3 version is out, it’s really hard to find out the exact version. I am a developer, so I always can build that specific version for myself, but for the user, they have two major issues. The first issue is they require the “deb” package, not the binaries, and the second issue is they don’t want a complete development environment on their production/staging server. So, I have decided to write a blog to explain how to make a custom build for Debian or ubuntu and make Debian packages.

1 – Download PostgreSQL from this FTP site (https://www.postgresql.org/ftp/source/). There are multiple archives available to download the desired version. After downloading you need to untar the archive.

wget https://ftp.postgresql.org/pub/source/v12.3/postgresql-$PGVER.tar.gz
tar -zxvf postgresql-$PGVER.tar.gz

2 – Download the Debian PostgreSQL’s package generator scripts from the site (https://salsa.debian.org/postgresql/postgresql). 

git clone https://salsa.debian.org/postgresql/postgresql.git

3 – Copy the “debian” folder to postgresql-$PGVER

cp postgresql/debian postgresql-$PGVER -rf

4 – Change the directory to PostgreSQL code.

cd postgreql-$PGVER

5 – The command will generate the Debian packages. This will compile the source code and run the test cases. After that, it will generate the Debian packages. 

sudo apt-get install dpkg-dev
dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot -b -uc -us

You may face some issues based on what PostgreSQL version you are building and what version of Debian you are using.

Issue – 1: You may see some dependency unmet error messages, something like this below. In that case, you need to install all of these packages using the apt-get command.

dpkg-checkbuilddeps: error: Unmet build dependencies: bison clang-11 debhelper-compat (= 13) dh-exec (>= 0.13~) docbook-xsl (>= 1.77) f
lex gdb gettext libicu-dev libio-pty-perl libipc-run-perl libkrb5-dev libldap2-dev libpam0g-dev | libpam-dev libperl-dev libreadline-de
v libselinux1-dev libssl-dev libsystemd-dev libxml2-dev libxml2-utils libxslt1-dev llvm-11-dev pkg-config python3-dev systemtap-sdt-dev
tcl-dev uuid-dev xsltproc zlib1g-dev | libz-dev
dpkg-buildpackage: warning: build dependencies/conflicts unsatisfied; aborting

Issue – 2: There is no debhelper-compat on LTS Debian.

You need to modify the control file:

$ git diff 
diff --git a/debian/control b/debian/control 
index 3b94937..534fd56 100644 
--- a/debian/control 
+++ b/debian/control 
@@ -11,7 +11,7 @@ Rules-Requires-Root: no 
bison, clang-11 [!alpha !hppa !hurd-i386 !ia64 !kfreebsd-amd64 !kfreebsd-i386 !m68k !powerpc !riscv64 !sh4 !sparc64 !x32], 
- debhelper-compat (= 13),
+ debhelper, dh-exec (>= 0.13~), 
docbook-xsl (>= 1.77), 
dpkg-dev (>= 1.16.1~),

Then you need to create a compact file:

echo 9 > debian/compat

Issue – 3: You may not find llvm on Debian 9, so there you need to add these lines in /etc/apt/sources.list. The complete list of the repo can be found here (https://apt.llvm.org/).

deb http://apt.llvm.org/stretch/ llvm-toolchain-stretch main
deb-src http://apt.llvm.org/stretch/ llvm-toolchain-stretch main

sudo apt-get update
apt-get install libllvm-11-ocaml-dev libllvm11 llvm-11 llvm-11-dev llvm-11-doc llvm-11-examples llvm-11-runtime

After fixing the issue you can restart from step 5.

Following is the list generated by the last step, which can be copied to the machine where you want to install that.



Most people have some misconception that a custom build is a hard way, but it only requires a little bit of managed effort.

The Percona Distribution for PostgreSQL is free to download and use. It is the best and most critical enterprise-level components from the open-source community, designed and tested to work together in one single source. 


Load Balancing ProxySQL in AWS

Load Balancing ProxySQL in AWS

Load Balancing ProxySQL in AWSThere are several ways to deploy ProxySQL between your applications and the database servers. A common approach is to have a floating virtual IP (VIP) managed by keepalived as the application endpoint. The proxies have to be strategically provisioned to improve the resiliency of the solution (different hardware, network segments, etc,).

When we consider cloud environments, spreading instances across many availability zones (AZ) is considered a best practice, but that presents a problem regarding VIP handling.

Per definition, VPC subnets have to be created in a specific AZ, and subnet IP ranges can’t overlap with one another. An IP address cannot simply be moved to an instance on a different AZ, as it would end up in a subnet that doesn’t include it.

So in order to use the VIP method, we would need to keep all our proxies in a single AZ. This clearly is not the best idea. In addition to this, the regular VIP method doesn’t work, due to the fact that broadcast is not allowed in AWS.

Let’s instead see how to overcome this by putting ProxySQL instances behind a Network Load Balancer (NLB) instead.

Creating a Load Balancer

1. Create an NLB, specifying the subnets where you launched the ProxySQL instances:

aws elbv2 create-load-balancer \ 
--name proxysql-lb \
--type network \
--scheme internal \
--subnets subnet-03fd9799aedda2a1d subnet-0c9c99a5902d8760f

With the above command, the LB internal endpoints will automatically pick an available IP address on each subnet. Alternatively, if you want to specify the IP addresses yourself, you can run the following:

aws elbv2 create-load-balancer \
--name proxysql-lb \
--type network \
--scheme internal \
--subnet-mappings Subnet-Id=subnet-03fd9799aedda2a1d,PrivateIPv4Address= Subnet-Id=subnet-0c9c99a5902d8760f,PrivateIPv4Address=

The output of the above includes the Amazon Resource Name (ARN) of the load balancer, with the following format:


Let’s save the value on a variable for later use:

export LB_ARN=<paste the value from above>

Adding the ProxySQL Targets

2. Create a target group, specifying the same VPC that you used for your ProxySQL instances:

aws elbv2 create-target-group \ 
--name proxysql-targets \ 
--protocol TCP \
--port 6033 \
--target-type instance \ 
--health-check-port 6032 \ 
--health-check-interval-seconds 10 \ 
--vpc-id vpc-018cc1c34d4d709d5

The output should include the ARN of the target group with this format:


We can store the value for later use:

export TG_ARN=<paste the value from above>

3. Register your ProxySQL instances with the target group:

aws elbv2 register-targets \
--target-group-arn $TG_ARN \
--targets Id=i-02d9e450af1b00524

aws elbv2 register-targets \
--target-group-arn $TG_ARN \
--targets Id=i-05d9f450af1b00521

Creating the LB Listener

4. Create a listener for your load balancer with a default rule to forward requests to your target group:

aws elbv2 create-listener \ 
--load-balancer-arn $LB_ARN \ 
--protocol TCP \
--port 3306 \
--default-actions Type=forward,TargetGroupArn=$TG_ARN

The output contains the ARN of the listener, with the following format:


5. You can verify the health of the registered targets using the following? command:

aws elbv2 describe-target-health --target-group-arn $TG_ARN

Be aware it takes a few minutes for the health to go green.

Testing Access

6. Now let’s get the DNS name of the load balancer:

LB_DNS=$(aws elbv2 describe-load-balancers --load-balancer-arns $LB_ARN --query 'LoadBalancers[0].DNSName' --output text)

7. Test access to the load balancer itself:

curl -v $LB_DNS:3306

8. Finally, test the connection to the database through the load balancer:

mysql -u percona -p -hinternal-proxysql-1232905176.us-east-1.elb.amazonaws.com

Final Considerations

For this example, I am using a simple TCP connection to ProxySQL’s admin port as the health check. Another option would be to expose a separate HTTP service that queries ProxySQL to handle more complex health check logic.

It is also important to mention the difference between target-type:instance and target-type:ip for the target group. In the latter, if you check the client connections on the Proxy side (stats_mysql_processlist table) you will see they all come from the load balancer address instead of the actual client. Hence it is more desirable to use instance, to see the real client IP.


Workday nabs employee feedback platform Peakon for $700M

Workday started the work day with some big news today. It’s acquiring employee feedback platform Peakon for $700 million in cash.

One thing we have learned during the pandemic is that organizations need to find new ways to build stronger connections with their employees, and that’s precisely what Peakon provides. “Bringing Peakon into the Workday family will be very compelling to our customers — especially following an extraordinary past year that has magnified the importance of having a constant pulse on employee sentiment in order to keep people engaged and productive,” Workday co-founder and co-CEO Aneel Bhusri, said in a statement.

Without the ability to have face-to-face meetings with employees, managers have struggled throughout 2020 to understand how COVID, working from home and all the trials and tribulations of the last year have affected the workforce.

But this ability to check the pulse of employees goes beyond this crisis period. Managers of large organizations know that the bigger and more spread out your firm becomes, the more challenging it is to understand what’s happening across the company. The company uses weekly surveys to ask specific questions about the organization. For them it’s all about getting good data, and so far customers have used the platform to ask over 153 million questions since inception six years ago.

Peakon CEO and co-founder Phil Chambers sees Workday as a logical partner. “Workday excels at helping enable customers to leverage their data. Together, we’ll be able to help drive greater productivity, talent development and employee retention for our customers — and unify how employees interact with their organizations,” he said in a Workday blog post announcing the deal.

Peakon was founded in Copenhagen in 2014 and has raised $68 million along the way, according to Crunchbase data. Its most recent round was a $35 million Series B in March 2019. The deal is expected to close by the end of this quarter subject to typical regulatory review.

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