Wednesday, 1 March 2023

Microservices orchestration platform Temporal raises $75M and remains a unicorn

by Berkeley Lovelace

Temporal, an open source microservices orchestration platform used by companies including Netflix, Snap, and Comcast, has raised $75 million from a slew of high-profile investors including Sequoia Capital and Greenoaks.

The startup has also maintained its coveted unicorn status with a valuation of “just over” $1.5 billion, despite some reports to the contrary a few months back suggesting that its valuation had dipped below $900 million.

Founded in 2019, Temporal simplifies the development of distributed systems, which includes microservices, a software architecture built around integrations between smaller, function-specific components that are easier to maintain and scale compared to the monolithic software of yore. Such distributed systems rely on “queues” — a type of asynchronous cross-service communication — and databases to synchronize data across the board, which isn’t always reliable and is difficult to manage at scale.


Temporal calls itself a “durable execution system” that allows companies to manage an application’s state and monitor the execution of logic, all the while enabling them to push out software updates without disruption. Ultimately, it’s all about helping developers and engineers spend time on building differentiated products rather than creating reliability code to ensure that their microservices don’t break.

The Seattle-based startup is the handiwork of Maxim Fateev and Samar Abbas, who while working at Uber developed an open source orchestration engine called Cadence, designed to route requests and mediate interactions between different microservices to ensure they work in harmony.

The duo left Uber four years ago to launch Temporal, an open source project based on a fork of Cadence.

“Temporal simplifies the development process by shifting complex, error-checking code, retry processes, and state management to a central platform, so developers don’t have to manage these complexities,” Temporal CEO Maxim Fateev said in a statement. “My co-founder Samar and I have been building a durable execution framework for the better part of 15 years, and much of that work is foundational to Temporal.”

As with many similar open source projects, Temporal is building a hosted cloud incarnation replete with service level agreements (SLAs) for enterprise clients. Many of its original open source users have transitioned to paying cloud customers, including Netflix, Comcast, Snap, Box, Qualtrics and Postman, though it also claims other high-profile users that yet to make the leap, such as Datadog, Instacart and Coinbase.

Temporal had previously raised around $129 million, including a chunky $103 million Series B round valuing the company at $1.5 billion last year. In the intervening months, the economic climate has decimated valuations of some of the world’s biggest public and private companies, and reports surfaced late last year that Temporal was facing a similar fate — valuation tracking service Prime Unicorn Index noted in December that Temporal was in the midst of raising fresh cash at a valuation or around $880 million. However, Temporal says its valuation is more or less the same as it was a year ago — so while this isn’t a down round, it’s not exactly an up round either.

Temporal’s latest cash injection incorporated repeat investments from its Series A and Series B backers including Sequoia Capital, Index Ventures, Amplify Partners, Madrona Venture Group and Addition Ventures, with participation from new investor Greenoaks.

Microservices orchestration platform Temporal raises $75M and remains a unicorn by Paul Sawers originally published on TechCrunch