Speaker – Reynold Xin

An academic unicorn: from PhD research to one of Silicon Valley's fastest growing startups, Databricks

Reynold Xin


Databricks is a San Francsico-based data & AI platform startup. The company has raised ~$1 billion in venture funding and is known as one of the fastest growing SaaS companies in history. 

In this talk, Reynold will share stories from how the founding team turned their hardcore academic research project into a business, and in seven years grew the business from a tiny corner office in Berkeley, CA to a global footprint with over 1500 employees and thousands of enterprise customers. 

In particular, Reynold will discuss: 

  • What led to the creation of the company 
  • Why and how the bets (cloud computing, AI) we made in 2013 paid off 
  • Difference between academic research and product development 
  • Various phases of growth 

Speaker Biography

Reynold Xin is a computer scientist and engineer specializing in big data, distributed systems, and cloud computing. He is a co-founder at Databricks. He's a co-creator as well as the #1 contributor to the Apache Spark project, the most popular and de facto framework for big data processing. He received a PhD in Computer Science from UC Berkeley, and BASc in Engineering Science (0T8+PEY) from the University of Toronto. 

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