Sponsored Features

Since Dgraph seems to be low on the number of programmers it has, we obviously see a lot of slow progress (if any) in the software lately other than bug fixes.

Obviously it cost money to pay programmers. I think it would be a GREAT idea to have sponsored feature requests.

Each Feature Request would be given an estimated hours to complete.

Example (ignore my numbers, just an example):

  • Nested Filters: Cost: $5000 = $100 / hour X 50 hours
  • Full Text Search on Multiple Fields = $500 = $25 / hour X 20 hours
  • etc…


  • Users that want a feature request would donate money for that feature until the reserve is met. That way the votes are literally paid for (in this case a good thing).
  • If the estimated time is a little less than expected, the money is used as a credit for another feature. If it is more, the company is TRANSPARENT about the problems and estimated time left.
  • Obviously programmers can make anywhere from $19 to six figures, so we only need to know estimated project total value (not our business what they make).


  • Obviously this could be an a whole website idea in general (someone please build this), but I believe there could be ways to simplify it
  • Maybe just everyone Donates money, when a reserve is hit, everyone just votes on the top feature (this is VERY doable right now)

This could go in MANY different directions, but I feel like the idea needs to be put out there with its critiques and simple implementation ideas.

The most important part of this concept is this:

  • Programmers need to be paid, people RIGHT NOW are willing to pay for features (even if it is not their number one choice)… that is a very powerful fact DGraph needs to consider.



I would love this. Right now I don’t have any way to express my need for a feature, but a text in this forum that will disappear in no time. I’d rather put some money behind a feature and see it being worked on if people agree.

This allows for additional transparency, as I would actually see, which features people want and if I would need them as well, what is being worked on and why it was a priority.

I will also emphasize on TRANSPARENCY. After all this is still an open source project and if you add such a way of contribution, the communication as it is currently will not suffice.

Possible solutions:


or… what I would probably do is set up a paid membership called Dgraph Sponsors, then paying members choose what they donate per month. Paying members are granted voting rights on a Canny board and vote on features. Dgraph would be able to see the collective MRR per item (Canny aggregates the LTV of the users who voted on a particular issue). Ideally the collective MRR for each item would be made visible to sponsors.

I would definitely sponsor Dgraph development if there was an option.


I will comment here as a Dgraph fan and an user. Not as part of it.

From what I’ve seen so far (in my almost 4 years of experience at Dgraph) a startup like Dgraph is really expensive (especially with the Cloud part). The burn rate is too high. And I believe that only VCs are able to keep the train running at least for now. As you can see out there in the media, some competitors have already captured over 100 million USD in consecutive series of investments. And they are “black holes of money” still.

Therefore, I think that this scheme that you guys suggest would not work effectively. Maybe for very punctual things. But Dgraph and Dgraph Cloud are complex. It is necessary to have good programmers(expensive ones, with programmers fixed for a longer time). This is difficult nowadays. Hiring people is complicated.

Dgraph is a wonderful product with incredible potential even with the free stuff. What we need is people spreading the word. Adoption, engagement and so on. And solve the most critical problems while gaining traction. Without this, there is no way for the product to grow fast as we wish.


I think the theory would be that Dgraph hires a new programmer full-time, and the sponsored money would go directly to Dgraph. The only new costs we would be adding would be one programmer’s salary (or more if the idea took off), which would pay for itself IMHO from the sponsored money.

Perhaps all of us passionate users just need to put our money together, find a programmer, pay him, and do a pull request to Dgraph… open discussion on ideas on this one (anyone reading this)…

@MichelDiz - Please quote this in your next meeting:

“How can we believe in DGraph, when the core team is nowhere to be found?”

The users understand that money is tight. That makes us more passionate about this project (as the underdog with the most talent perhaps). What we don’t understand is when the coach and assistant coaches are nowhere to be found. You are only dedicated passionate person (the team probably saw that, and figured you can be the one to answer the forms). However, where is everyone else? We have an average of less than 10 posts a day. You comment on 8/10 of them. Once every two weeks we get once response from a programmer, and the rest is ignored. Is the team hiding form its users? Seriously, I want to know…

Where is this guy? You guys need this guy desperately. This guy should also help (with your very very passionate userbase) market for more money.

We WANT to help out, but it is like playing table tennis with ourselves, while you @MichelDiz, are the security guard watching every move.

You have so so many people that believe in this product. We will dedicate a lot of our extra free time to do whatever it takes to help Dgraph get off the ground. But we need support from the whole Dgraph Team TOP-DOWN to do it. @MichelDiz - We truly respect and appreciate your work, but you are just one person. Can we get an actual roadmap, responses to repeated issues, and maybe the actual future vision of Dgraph (priorities etc). This is everything but fair to the many dedicated Dgraph users.

But, back to the topic at hand, I will help pay for some new features.



I would pay money too!!! I love dgraph with the full bottom of my heart and I am ready to support it!


The engineers we have are busy with various tasks at Dgraph (and especially the Cloud) and in their personal lives. They don’t have a lot of time and energy to come here on Discuss. Yet they appear. Some people I believe are on vacation, others are solving personal problems (I believe). Other than that, the focus is on the Cloud itself.

If you need them, you may find them in the Cloud Tickets.

But I will deliver the message.


I’m here. And I’m listening. I’m not sure how much I can say at this very moment though.

Things have been really hard for us this year. Very, Very hard. Dgraph is the most under funded Spanner like database that’s out there; and VCs don’t have much love for graph systems.

I’m truly floored by you guys. I’m a passionate open source developer, and I believe a strong community can turn anything around.


Tell me what you guys need Dgraph to be. Let’s create a list of things that it should be. And, then let’s figure out how you guys can help us achieve those things.


Hey Manish! :heart_decoration: Hope you’re still able to walk after your 666 mile bike ride!

Really great to be able to talk discuss this stuff.

Would be great if you could elaborate on this! Neo4j just raised $325m, and FaunaDB raised $27m last year?

Dgraph clearly beats both these competitors because:

  1. It’s easier to use, definitely easier than Neo4j
  2. It has superior GraphQL
  3. It’s 1.OPEN 2.SOURCE

I have some more thoughts that are relevant, but I’ll add them to the ‘What is Dgraph lacking?’ thread.


Neo4j wasn’t able to raise from US VCs for the longest time. Thankfully for them, European VCs have been supporting them during their over a decade and a half long journey in this field. They’ve been working in the graph field since 2000s, and this is the first time they raised from US VCs – largely due to their incredible revenue traction. This is in stark contrast to SQL databases, which find a lot of support among the investors.

Fauna – my understanding is that they raised due to being a unique database as a service offering and cloud is hot. Also, they’re a multi-model DB, not really graph DB.

Absolutely agree that Dgraph is a better product – databases take time to build right, and Dgraph is at the cusp of that journey. We just need to cross the chasm now.


Ok, I am probably the most uneducated when it comes to how VC works. I joined a group by Adam James (don’t remember his handle here) trying to learn some of this, but I got lost fast. It is a different world for sure!

So my question, is it possible for Dgraph to try to do a funding round in the UK? Or does that only work if it is a UK company? You have a partner @mikehawkes in that part of the world already?

Surely that indicates that we’ve hit an inflection point with graph databases? Seems like graph databases are ready to go mainstream, and the only thing that has really prevented this IMO is usability. Dgraph has solved the usability problem, it’s well positioned to become the most widely used graph db as a result. Super curious about why the VCs Dgraph is talking to are bearish on graph databases?

Dgraph would seem to be a really investible company for so many reasons. Passionate user base, powerful BaaS offering, game changing db performance, the most user friendly graph database etc etc. It’s confounding why VCs would decline to invest.

Could Dgraph not position itself like this? It’s obvious why BaaS products are attracting a lot of investment right now—web development is becoming insanely complex. Dgraph if you ask most Dgraphers has all the functionality of a great BaaS platform, perhaps the best. It’s just not marketed that way.

Yes! Please let us know how we can help.

There has to have been investors who missed out on the Neo4j round who’d be interested in Dgraph. Surely? Does it matter if you raise in Europe?

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I just want to clarify something here. It is not JUST the BaaS or DBaaS that we love about DGraph. It is the middleware. For DGraph, that middleware happens to be GraphQL. While I love GraphQL, I don’t care about GraphQL in-and-of-itself, I care about deploying my app easily with the needed features.

I could probably find 10-30 cloud database as a service competitors. Maybe 10-15 of those would be Graph databases. There are actually a lot of them.

I CANNOT find but 3-7 options that offer middleware for security. And I can ONLY find 3-4 options that offer streaming / subscriptions (websockets) out-of-the-box.

Supabase currently doesn’t even offer security with its subscriptions (although it is working on it).

The only other competitors I know are Firebase, Fauna, and Hasura. That is it!

Firebase can’t do relational data or counters, Hasura is a hell of a lot slower than any graphdb, and fauna is a vendor lock-in.

The rest of the products are difficult to use with crap documentation, require spinning up several dockers for similar features, or require you to write complex middleware.

Cloud DGraph is a damn gem. Not just the Dbaas, but the freaking middleware on top of that. You simply must market that, before it is no longer unique even if you want to concentrate on DQL.

Exactly. Time is everything.