Hasura’s Path to Success - Down The App Development Rabbit Hole!
Having just moved to Chennai to work as a Gartner technology incubator researcher, Rajoshi faced one of her worst nightmares - very few places that sold fine local cuisine!
Her new job left her dependent on food delivery networks, and none of them had any healthy cooked meals to offer her. Contrary to her expectations, she discovered that Chennai had more fast food restaurant chains than New York.
Being the type of person to whom food comes first, Rajoshi decided to do something about it. Chennai has a huge migrant worker population who are left with unhealthy feeding solutions offered by the city - just like Rajoshi! So, she decided to open her own food delivery company dedicated to delivering delicious home-cooked food.
What was clear from the start was that this kind of project needed to begin with an online headquarters, meaning that she needed to build an app for it.
That’s where the story of Hasura begins.
Cooking the Home-Made Food Delivery App
The project began to slow-cook (pun intended) when she met Tanmai, a ‘very nice guy’ who had just become a master in computer science. At the time, he was looking for the perfect job, as he had just turned down some extremely generous offers from both academia and corporates. What he was also looking for, was some nice food to eat - just like Rajoshi!
Clearly, food is an important factor in bringing people together to work on amazing ideas.
The business plan was to build a platform that connects consumers with local families that cook healthy meals. What Tanmai expected, as an IT expert, was to simply dive into app development - it was supposed to come easy, and it did - at first!
The first problems they encountered were all about logistics and operations: scheduling and organizing cooking families and deliveries. It was exactly the type of mess you’d expect when starting this kind of business.
However, Tanmai soon encountered a whole new set of problems: the app development ecosystem. As a person who’s been solving problems, puzzles, and patterns his whole life, Tanmai was shocked by a lack of standards and common language between front-end and back-end development frameworks, and his inability to overcome this adversity. Which stack to use? Which programs are compatible? How do you get a C library to communicate with Python’s library? How do you make integrations?
The only thing that was common to both the front-end and the back-end, was the fact that they had to be easier.
The Beginning of Hasura Before Hasura: procrust.es
Before even reaching the point of building their signature food delivery app, they had to solve these problems. These solutions were the groundwork for the beginning of Hasura, except the team didn’t know it yet.
They also received a call from a friend, which pushed their efforts towards this transition. He was in the middle of an app-building process when his developer abandoned him, and he needed help finishing the job. Rajoshi and Tanmai then realized that what they were doing was in fact, very applicable to their friend’s project!
With only one thing in mind - make web development easy again, Tanmai dived into countless frameworks, programs, and tools.
While 2012 was the ‘food delivery app’ year for the future Hasura team, 2013 was the year of product development and revenue discussions. Over the course of 2014, they began building the platform, and the first product created was procrust.es.
It was a database platform that combined a noSQL API and handled transactions. With procrust.es, developers no longer had to worry about consistency whenever they encountered a database change and could focus more on building the user-side of the application instead of the back-end.
Very quickly, procrust.es made a boom. Chennai’s developers were coming to their office to talk with Tanmai and to ask for permission to use procrust.es themselves. These people were the first customers, and they came into the picture relatively quickly after procrust.es was launched.
The duo now knew: they were onto something big!
Dropping the Food Game and Becoming the Tech Boss
With tears in their eyes, as their love for the food industry was (and still is) huge, Rajoshi and Tanmai took the step towards the final transition. They abandoned the food delivery platform idea and geared their efforts towards technology. After several iterations and hours upon hours of hard work, procrust.es evolved into Hasura. The name originates from the Sanskrit language, from the word ‘Asura’, which means daemon, and Haskell. Daemon and Haskell are names of the two languages they used to build the app.
The beta version of Hasura was ready by 2015, and to create an income, Hasura implemented a two-tier revenue model:
- The DIY kit, as a single developer, with Hasura sitting on the hosting server, at $25;
- Enterprise customers model at $250.
The main focus of Hasura’s team was to build a stronger web development ecosystem and solve back-end problems. Today, the platform is rich with instant APIs for quick development, and if you’re looking for a fast product, it helps you build a to-do app in just three minutes. Developers use Hasura to build, develop, and scale their apps - all in one.
Even though it looks like Hasura was built up from nothing, that’s not entirely true. In 2018 they applied for VC funds because they wanted to take their business to the next level.
They were accepted on their first attempt.
2018 was also the year when the company released the open-source access to the Hasura GraphQL Engine and an open-source event trigger system to help developers build serverless apps.
In seeding funding rounds, the company raised $1.6M from Nexus Capital Partners and GREE Ventures. The series A round came in 2020 when the company announced they raised $9.9 million.
They also became a part of TechSparks and Tech30 to be able to connect with various startups and enterprises.
From the two-people team building a food delivery business model, to becoming a tech startup with a revolutionary product, Hasura now has a 25-member team. With this extension, they moved to Bangalore.
They are working hard on making the app development ecosystem a friendly space, and with every product iteration, they are getting one step closer to achieving their dreams.
Hasura is proof that you never know how deep the rabbit hole goes - until you dive into it yourself!