Mar 28, 2019
| 10 min read


How Helps Drive Digital Transformation

This series highlights the key insights and lessons from our Digital Disruptor series of podcasts. We spotlight the important takeaways from our interviews in an accessible format. The following insights come from Christian Lutz, Co-Founder and CEO of Crate.ioStay tuned for the full podcast interview with Christian Lutz next week, in the meantime, take a look at our full library of podcasts. is a private company based in Berlin offering a database that leverages the scalability of NoSQL databases with the ease of use of SQL programming to address the unique scalability requirements and needs of heterogeneous industrial data. has been successful in helping industrial customers drive digital transformation by providing predictive visibility into manufacturing machine health, reducing downtime and freeing time spent manually inspecting assembly lines. 

Founders and Team  

Christian Lutz, Founder, CEO and Jodok Batlogg, Founder, CTO 

Business problem  

When Jodok Batlogg was the CTO of studiVZ (the Facebook of Germany) he had to deal with 20 million consumers that were uploading photos to the site. This is where the idea emerged to create a database to deal with these types of volumes in a simple way. There are a lot of databases that do not support SQL, which is the lingua franca of database, so the founders saw an opportunity to leverage SQL capabilities with more advanced data management technologies. Roughly 87% of all apps are using SQL, so there was a need to provide this sort of interface in order to help IoT implementations scale. 

About the solution  

Crate is a next generation database based on concepts from NoSQL, such as Vertica, BigTable and other more pure NoSQL companies like MongoDB and Elastic. The goal if the architecture is to enable NoSQL scale-out capabilities that could merge with a SQL front end and manage the exponential growth of machine data. The technology leverages several open source projects as foundational components. Crate is using Luzerne for indices and storage, Elastic Search for search and cluster management, Facebook Presto for the parser and Netty for the network communication protocol. All of these components are packaged into a library with a distributed SQL query engine on top of it. The database is designed to scale out easily, and to be able to handle multiple types of data simultaneously. 

Where the technology is applied 

The most interesting market for Crate is machine data use cases, particularly industrial IoT and manufacturing where the need is to collect sensor data at high rates and connect with other data – operational data, ERP systems, quality systems to enrich it. Crate is able to combine non-relational data from devices, relational data from business systems, geospatial data, BLOB (Binary Large Object) data from large images into a single system where it can be used for business analysis. 

Key reference customers include the multi-national packaging company Alpla which built a manufacturing platform powered by Crate. There are over 17 factories connected collecting real time sensor data from equipment on the shop floor, and Alpla has managed to generate ROI in less than a year. McAfee is another big customer with a cloud business unit (the former SkyHigh) that is a security platform where the devices look on the network level analyzing who is sending packets to whom on the network. McAfee is storing more than 10 billion records per day with over 150 nodes on Crate 

Looking to create value from machine data 

Crate’s technology is emerging as a uniquely scalable and flexible alternative for industrial IoT use cases. So far the company’s early success point to continued expansion, and the focus on industrial use cases for the time being provides an avenue for competitive differentiation.  

Disclosure: Momenta Ventures is an investor in 



Momenta Partners encompasses leading Strategic Advisory, Talent, and Investment practices. We’re the guiding hand behind leading industrials’ IoT strategies, over 100 IoT leadership placements, and 17+ young IoT disruptors. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about our Connected Industry practice.