Starburst, a leading analytics engine for data, was gearing up to launch Starburst Galaxy, their next flagship product, following the success of the Starburst Enterprise Platform. With Metronome powering their billing experience, the Starburst team smoothly launched a new product and revenue channel in time for the AWS re:Invent conference.
Launching a new product and a bottoms-up, product-led growth motion
Starburst Galaxy is the industry's first cross-cloud analytics solution and enables customers to eliminate data silos by querying data across AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.
With Galaxy, Starburst wanted to create a frictionless self-serve motion and user experience. Since the new product also employs a new business model, the team weighed buying vs. building a billing solution. Investors and fellow founders in enterprise SaaS resoundingly recommended adopting a solution that would enable flexibility for new pricing down the line.
Starburst's Director of Product, Bob van Leeuwen, shared, "We decided against building this functionality in-house, since it would require covering a vast space of billing problems. We were looking for a partner that would allow us to adopt a usage-based model that aligns with product-led growth."
Timing a product launch around a strategic event
Announcing Galaxy at AWS re:Invent and having the product available on cloud marketplaces on launch day was a strategic opportunity to drive awareness and adoption.
"It was important for us to launch Starburst Galaxy at AWS re:Invent with the ability for our customers to purchase Galaxy via the AWS Marketplace–an important channel for companies in the infrastructure space."
Purpose-built billing platform with fast time to implementation
Starburst chose Metronome as its usage-based billing platform to reduce internal engineering lift required to build and maintain a robust billing engine. Metronome partnered closely with the Starburst team to have a billing solution implemented in a few months to meet their launch timeline.
"Without Metronome, we would have spent significant engineering resources building a minimum viable billing solution to support our first customers. With Metronome, we have the expertise of a purpose-built solution as opposed to a non-core add-on that we internally try to maintain."
Flexibility to launch and iterate new pricing models
Starburst's product and engineering team knew they needed a billing platform that could adapt to changing go-to-market strategies and future product offerings. The flexibility of the Metronome platform and robust pricing capabilities gave the team assurance they had the right billing infrastructure in place.
"Metronome provides us the agility we need in a billing solution. They take care of a really important part of our stack and are able to move at the same speed as us—which is really freaking fast."
Proven experience with product-led growth business models
Starburst looks to Metronome for guidance and expertise in running billing infrastructure for product-led growth and usage-based business models.
"Metronome is able to see around corners for us. Because they have existing customers who've gone through the same billing journey as us, they see the steps we're going to go through and can get ahead of it. In addition to the technology, we get their consultative expertise so we can avoid first-timer mistakes. The constant responsiveness and proactive follow-up from the team has been really reassuring."
Integrating with cloud marketplaces
The Starburst team uses Metronome as a complete billing solution, which means invoicing customers on whichever channel they sign up for Galaxy on.
Metronome and Starburst collaborated on a first-of-a-kind integration to power automated billing through cloud marketplaces. The first cloud marketplace integration implemented, the AWS Marketplace and Tackle integration, increases the discoverability of Galaxy and provides a transparent end-user billing experience. This integration enables Metronome to flow usage data directly to AWS, draw down AWS credits, and appear on AWS invoice statements.
"After spending time with the Metronome engineering team, we were impressed by how thoughtful they were in architecting around downtime scenarios and ensuring customers are billed accurately on cloud marketplaces. It's clear that they are invested in building production-grade integrations that are reliable and robust."
Creating a transparent, customer-first experience
The Starburst team prides itself on delivering a delightful customer experience. For Galaxy's product-led growth motion, a focus on customer experience is critical to building trust early on with users. With Metronome, Starburst can give customers real-time visibility into usage data, so they can better manage and analyze spend.
"We use the Metronome API to power our customer-facing dashboards and our marketplace integration. One of the nicest things I hear from customers is that in addition to having real-time usage data in our product, we also have real-time usage displayed in their cloud marketplace dashboard, so they have a central place for cost optimization."
While displaying usage in customer-facing dashboards can seem like table stakes for a good user experience, not all dashboards show real-time data. Starburst is proud of their ability to provide this level of visibility and to help customers make informed spend decisions.
"With a lot of usage-based systems, you still get one bill at the end of the month. You have no visibility in the month leading up and you can't change your usage pattern if things are out of control or if you're way under your bill. Metronome allows us to provide real-time data, so our customers can take action."