How and why we started Hasura

Hasura started because building and deploying an application was more painful than it needed to be. Read on to find out more.

Originally written on 1st Sep 2016. Last updated on 26th Dec 2019.

The story of Hasura starts as all of my best stories do — I was pining for some good food. Having just moved to Chennai, I was looking forward to sampling some of the local cuisine. However my schedule left me heavily dependent on existing food delivery networks, none of whom gave any weight to healthy/wholesome/local food; Instead I was lucky enough to discover that Chennai has more pizza/burger joints than New York. Uncompromising person that I am (especially when it comes to my hunger pangs), I decided to take matters into my own hands, and start a food delivery company that would focus exclusively on home cooked food.

Tanmai and Rajoshi, co-founders, Hasura

Things came to a boil when I met Tanmai (co-founder at Hasura; all-around nice guy), who had just finished his master’s degree in computer science from one of India’s best engineering colleges. Tanmai was on his own search for a business partner, having turned down lucrative offers from both corporates and academia. He was equally uncompromising when it came to food. Clearly, destiny also wants you to have healthy wholesome food.

Tanmai expected that he would be able to dive straight into application development and that building the apps themselves would be the easiest part of the whole process — he did have two degrees after all, and had worked on the cutting edge of technology — computer vision, machine learning, the works.

That was when Tanmai first met the app development ecosystem. As someone who had spent his entire life discerning patterns, he was baffled by the lack of common standards among the various frontend, backend and deployment frameworks. The only point of agreement was that the process of application development needs to be made easier — a contention he shared, particularly in light of the excellent job that the million different frameworks had made in simplifying the same. Tanmai likens the encounter to that fateful day in his childhood when he made the connection between Santa being more svelte than he appeared in all the pictures he had seen, and his dad being a thin person — at the time, he was left devastated.

Wanting to make the process as simple as possible for his team, he dived headlong into the various frameworks and technology choices, and set about developing a combination of informed judgements and tooling that would streamline the entire effort. His favourite phrase became in my humble opinion, and his favourite acronym IMHO — he was 100% committed.

The first outcome of this effort was a platform named procrust.es. In keeping with the elegant simplicity of its mythological namesake, procrust.es was a database platform that combined the ease of use of a noSQL API with the ability to handle transactions. It freed up developers from having to worry about consistency every time there was a database change, so they could instead focus on the more important customer side of the application.

The penny finally dropped when several of Chennai’s developers started dropping by our office to enquire about Tanmai’s work, and to ask if it were possible for them to use procrust.es themselves. Realising the value of the work we had done on the technology front, we (very reluctantly I might add — my love for food still persists) decided to abandon our food industry revolutionising dreams and switch to make technology the core focus of our company. Procrust.es itself underwent several iterations and eventually evolved into Hasura.

Hasura is an open-source GraphQL engine that helps you instantly setup a scalable and realtime GraphQL backend. Hasura makes your team super productive by dynamically composing a schema backed by databases and services that you can securely query from frontend clients.

We are now a 25 member strong team based out of Bangalore. Our mission to simplify the app development ecosystem continues apace — each new version of the platform gets us one step closer to that dream. (One Day!)

If you are looking to build a new product, or migrate an existing product to a more modern stack, and want to know how Hasura can help do drop us a note at [email protected].

Rajoshi Ghosh, 
Co-founder, Hasura

26 Dec, 2016
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