Quitting Dgraph Labs

Hey guys,

As of yesterday Jan 27, 2022, I have quit Dgraph Labs as the CEO, and the board seat I hold as majority common stockholder. The core Dgraph team have also submitted their resignation letters.

June 2021, in a rug pull event, we were told by the board to shut down the company. To avoid that, we did layoffs to conserve cash, prove revenue and raise from external investors. But, our raise was tainted by the events from June, and we couldn’t.

Last week, I requested Dgraph preferred stockholders to fully open-source the codebase and let us transition cloud customers over to that — in line with their recommendation from last year. But, that proposal was rejected.

They are now contemplating a few purchase offers. I have no control or say over this process. There’s a lot of politics. I’m a builder, not a politician and I see no point in staying on.


We have put our blood, sweat, and tears into building this software over the last 6 years. I have personally worked on solving this problem for the past decade. Building software that is a unique mix of Spanner, Search, Graph, and GraphQL is very hard and Dgraph contributors have spent countless hours sitting alone in closed rooms building this software.

Unfortunately, Dgraph was always undervalued by investors. Since the beginning, we found ourselves doing this extremely hard feat of building a graph Spanner on a shoestring budget. And last year, it fully dried up.

Despite all that, we strongly believe this software has incredible potential. And the true capabilities of Dgraph have not even been explored.

I’m fully committed to continuing my decade-long work on building this incredible graph system. The team and I plan on forking the Apache 2.0 licensed parts of Dgraph and building upon it.

I started Dgraph alone with a vision to simplify development and reduce the tech stack complexity with the power of a graph engine. I’m glad that today, I have a close-knit team that believes in this vision. And I feel really humbled that we have this incredible community that shares this vision with us.

To achieve this vision, we are starting a new company, Outcaste. And we’d invite any passionate Dgraph community members to reach out to us, and help us build this company.

As a first action, Outcaste is going to put an offer on Dgraph Labs for the preferred stockholders to consider.

We are available for a chat at [email protected].

Manish
Founder of Dgraph Labs

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So is anyone maintaining Dgraph Cloud??

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Thank you, @mrjn, for your transparency.

I can’t agree more with this, and I’m personally working to get the biggest potential out of it, so i’m eager to see how Outcaste looks like!

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What will happen to the ACL and Namespacing features which were locked behind the enterprise license?!

I am 6+ Months into a full refactor of our core stack with Dgraph as a centerpiece to the stack and we are to launch the first phase literally Monday! If I don’t have ACL and Namespacing available I’m going to have to go to my boss and tell him we need another 2 months + to gut Dgraph from the stack AND build an API to take it’s place.

You have advertised this product as available and sold us on it’s promise. Some of us have put their name on the line for it.

I’m calling for the board to immediately make available the Enterprise functionality to the open source community.

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As per my knowledge as of y’day, there would be one remaining Customer Success person.

If you were already have a Dgraph License to use those, you should be good.

ACL and Multi-tenancy, those are proprietary features that we can’t fork for open source. But, we could rebuild them.

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Yeah, I’m not staying on Dgraph Cloud if there is only going to be ONE remaining Customer Success person. Won’t be long before they are gone too for being overworked, understaffed, and not surrounded by competent developers to fix any problems that may arise.

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what an utterly selfish question, mind showing some compassion?

you just joined this community 3 minutes ago, I have no idea who you are, and you obviously do not understand the time I have personally invested in Dgraph. If anyone here has had compassion on Dgraph, it would be me. I am just trying to figure out what to do next.

I am sorry for you if you are the ONE left, no idea who that actually is. I don’t mean anything derogatory towards that ONE person. I did not call them incompetent, because I don’t know who it is, I just stated facts. If they are the only ONE left, then they cannot possibly be surrounded by any competent developers. If they are solely alone trying to fix all problems that arise, then they will be overworked which will show soon enough. And if they are smart, they will be looking for either an exit plan soon for themselves or beg for whoever is in charge to turn things around to help them continue to work.

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Woow, this is without a single doubt mind blowing.

I’ve been following dgraph work for some years now and I was really amazed on how it had been evolving and how promising the technology dgraph team built. Good stuff, hard stuff, even if difficult or even criticized a lot (here goes another intent of building a yet another database) but they still pursued and delivered.

As a fun fact I even made an attempt to join the dgraph team on 2020 but failed haha (probably I wasn’t as ready for the low level stuff these hard core engineers do) but hey, I was kinda motivated by the work I saw as the time passed.

Nonetheless, with this very sad story and announce I just want to say I’m heartfelt, even if I can only see the tip of the iceberg and cannot imagine such stressful situation to be at.

I also want to say thanks to dgraph team and manish for sharing his work and for the efforts on trying to build something cool and in community. They can buy the company but they can’t buy the geniouses.

Ánimo y buena suerte!

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The team and I plan on forking the Apache 2.0 licensed parts of Dgraph and building upon it.

What parts are under the Apache 2.0 license? Is it everything “not enterprise”?

I just can’t comprehend how the board can take such a decision knowing there are thousands of developers and companies actively using and depending on this product for their own companies and projects. I don’t have words for it… very disappointed. I still hope we can develop an open-source project though

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Manish, I’m sorry to hear that this is the direction things went. Your investors clearly don’t understand the value or potential behind this project or you as a founder. You can expect that a lot of the community will rally behind this new direction and support as much as we can. Stay strong! We’ll see you at Outcaste (although not a fan of the new name :-p sorry hehe)

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@mrjn While I was expecting a post like this today, it’s still incredibly sad to see. Thank you for building this incredible product and the community around it.

As for us, we will continue to build our company around Dgraph. We believe in the technology and the promise of a native graph database, and it remains a uniquely perfect fit for the problems we’re trying to solve. I’m betting on the fact that there will still be a community to maintain this project and that you’ll be involved in whatever form it takes. Dgraph is just too good to not exist.

We’re happy to contribute in whatever limited way we can.

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I don’t know what the prospect of future support is for Dgraph from Discuss, but wanted to post here again that there is an active community of Dgraphers (Outcaste whatever it/us gets called) on Discord:

I refuse to be the only one here answering questions in the future so I may stop being here.

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I already made a comment on Discord but wanted to leave a comment here for the record.

I’m really to sorry to hear what a rough time you guys have been through. But on the other hand I’m optimistic and bullish on Outcaste. I’m not sure if Dgraph Labs is acquired (and they somehow find a right team) they would be able to compete with the original visionary plus the prior team with all their domain knowledge.

If you can continue to build this product without this unsupportive board then maybe this is actually good news in the long run. Good luck in your bid to buy back the company.

If you are forced to continue your work on Dgraph with this new company, just let me know when you have built a new hosting service and I will sign up immediately.

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My full support to you @mrjn and the rest of builders :brown_heart:

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Congrats on Outcaste! Already excited to run my first Outcaste db (hahaha - or if you are able to acquire dGraph, then we’ll keep on that train, of course). I’ve often said that I love dGraph, but what I really mean is that I love what you’re building

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I’m really sorry to learn this but I’m glad that you’re starting a new company!
I really love your product and wish you the best!

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so dgraph is now deadgraph…

In any case, we all have respect for your persistence and skill. I’m sure you’ll make a success out of outcaste! Wishing you the best!

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