Hasura’s incredible journey from a food ordering platform to a GraphQL API masterpiece

In-between connecting C and Python libraries, Tanmai and the team realized that they were solving way bigger problems than what was set out to be just a food ordering application.
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Priyanshu Anand
January 18, 2022

Fun fact: The name Hasura comes from the Sanskrit word for demon “Asura” and the language that was used to build the platform - Haskell. The more you know 🤷‍♂️

Food cravings, the app dev ecosystem, and destiny

Are you a foodie?

Well, so were the founders of Hasura.

Rajoshi Ghosh, Co-founder, and COO at Hasura, despite being a successful entrepreneur today, didn’t really start out that way.

Having graduated in Computational Biology, her career path was heading anywhere but towards where she is now. She was in Singapore back then and also worked as a Bioinformatics Specialist for a while. Later she went around, did a few things, you know, the usual stuff until she finally moved back to Chennai.

This is where the story begins.

The food-oriented side of her demanded that she should try out the local cuisine.

Shuffling between hectic schedules, the only bridge that could foreclose the gap between her food cravings and the inability to find the time to fulfill them, were the food delivery networks.

But that didn’t really pan out the way she hoped it would.

Tired of not satiating her hunger for some good Chennai cuisine, she decided to take matters into her own hands and started a food delivery platform only for home-cooked meals. Unfortunately, this didn’t work out as the logistics and overhead operational problems became an unsurmountable roadblock at the time.

But much like most start-up stories, this is also the result of failed attempts and learnings along the way.

Soon Rajoshi met Tanmai Gopal, the CEO, and Co-founder of Hasura, who was at the time also figuring out his purpose. Graduated from IIT Madras with a dual degree, Tanmai wasn’t the kind to give his best years to fancy corporate names.

Like two peas in a pod, Rajoshi and Tanmai were the perfect startup duo - A techie who could build and an entrepreneur who could scale.

What was even more surprising was that Tanmai was a food-enthusiast just like Rajoshi 👀

He started with application development but he soon found out that he wasn’t a big fan of the app development ecosystem. Matter of fact, he was quite concerned upon learning about the lack of various standards across the development spectrum. The dilemma soon became a concerning factor as there wasn’t a solution he could pick from the stack of programmes to use.

“But the only way out is through”

Tanmai dived into frameworks and technologies trying to connect the dots putting together pieces of the technological puzzle, trying to make the life of his team easier.

After a few more iterations they developed something they called procrust.es which amalgamated the use of NoSQL API with the ability to handle transactions. The goal was to create something that wouldn’t need developers to worry about database consistency every time there was a change and instead focus on more client-facing issues.

In-between connecting C and Python libraries, he (and the team) realized that they were solving way bigger (core) problems than what was set out to be just a food ordering application.

The birth of Hasura

A couple more iterations and there it was - Hasura - an open-source GraphQL platform that allows you to use dynamically setup backend databases and services that can be queried from the frontend clients easily. Essentially Hasura enables developers to build quality apps on top of their platform.

In the words of Tanmai himself 👇

Let us break this down.

APIs have become increasingly ubiquitous with time. You’re making reservations online? API enables that. You’re making payments? Yup, API. Social media? API

APIs are like messengers that listen to your request for data, take it to the database, retrieve or update requested data, and give you what you need.

Simply put, the internet and APIs have a deeply rooted relationship that powers the information we put or get online.

Even while requesting data, things can get complicated when you need various information from various sources resulting in innumerable (and unnecessary) requests from databases. Sometimes this can become an inefficient way to get information on a larger scale.

This is where GraphQL comes in.

GraphQL is a query language for API that controls or executes ‘queries’ defining exactly what information is needed from whatever database or source.

Check this out 👇

The use and implementation of GraphQL are booming with companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Instagram, and even The Home Depot adapting to a new way of working with APIs.

The GraphQL landscape shows an aggregated adoption covering a table of 161K stars with a market cap of $7.1 Trillion and funding of $4.7 Billion.

Number of companies worldwide across various revenue caps adopting GraphQL
Top 5 industries adopting GraphQL in their ecosystem

Imagine you’re cooking something and to your surprise, every ingredient you’ll need is right there in front of you. Saves you a trip to the farmer’s market right?

You can think of Hasura as something like that. It’s a service that allows you to build your apps faster on top of a robust and flexible database. What’s even better is that you don’t have to be a GraphQL expert to get started and it takes almost no time to connect your new or existing databases to production-grade GraphQL APIs.

Boasting customers like Walmart, Atlassian, Airbus, and Swiggy (among others), Hasura is gradually becoming a force to be reckoned with.

In September 2020, the company raised $25 million as a part of their series B funding, which comes just 6 months after their series A round which cleared $9.9 million funding. Altogether, Hasura has now raised $36.5 million.

Soon after they announced their second funding, Hasura took to their blog to shed light on some things they will be focusing primarily on as they move forward. On the top of that list was “Continue investing in our community”.

Community is core to the identity of Hasura

A community is made up of companies, contributors, users, customers, learners, followers, and so much more. The stewardship of this community belongs to each of us… and not just to the company. Each of you reading this plays an important role in building, and maintaining, a healthy, welcoming, safe, diverse environment. Your participation matters and we value it!

The reason why the creators of Hasura decided to keep it open-source is precisely because they wanted the platform that was created for the users, to be improved by the users.

When they decided to open-source a portion of their work, it allowed developers to git push and deploy directly on their Kubernetes cluster. This picked up over 1,000 stars on Github within a few days of release.

Today, their Github repository has almost 25K+ stars with over 400 active contributors, close to 3000 closed issues, and a sea of helpful articles written about Hasura GraphQL engine (even in languages other than English).

Hasura’s discord is like their community headquarters that harnesses everything a group of people can accomplish.

10,000+ members strong, there’s hardly anything that’s not discussed on their discord channel.

Users sharing their accomplishments on discord

Hasura being a strong community-led growth supporter loves collaborating with people on educating as well as improving the platform.

How can you contribute to Hasura’s growing community?

Contribute to the Hasura GraphQL engine

If you want to effect change hands-on, and if you’re a developer, this might just be your opportunity to get directly involved with improving Hasura’s experience for all users.

They let you:

  • Improve and update their documentation to make/keep it comprehensive
  • You can do this by reporting missing content, fixing errors in existing documents, or adding new technical documentation.
  • Make upgrades to their learn page by updating and even adding tutorials.
  • Contribute to fixing issues on their open-source CLI.

Translate existing content

Do you want to make Hasura’s content more accessible and comprehensive for your local community? They’ve got you.

You can volunteer to translate docs, blog posts, readme, or whatever you think might make a difference.

Make a contribution to their Technical Writer Program

When a platform is open-source, the one thing that helps paint a clearer picture for users is a well-documented article. A technical blog post or an article can go a long way.

How long?

$300 worth.

Hasura announced their Technical Writer Program in 2019 that pays $300 dollars for each published post on their platform.

All you have to do is:

  • Apply with your proposal and idea.
  • Once the proposal gets accepted, the editors will help you throughout the writing process.
  • Upon publishing, you get your money and get credited for your work

It doesn't get better than this, does it?

Speak at events and earn your swag

If you’ve not been the same since using Hasura and you feel that the world shouldn’t be deprived of it, you can speak at meetups and conferences about the platform.

Not just that, Hasura’s team is ready to help you out with preparing for the event by making slides, collaterals, speech, you name it.

You can even organize such meetups and events for Hasura-enthusiasts or just developers, in general, to get sponsored by them.

Also, win #swag (merch) shipped directly to your doorstep.

Swag is Hasura’s way of sending gratitude to its community. They do constant giveaways so if you’re anyway involved in the community, who knows, you might just get lucky 🙃

Start a Hasura User Group (HUG)

That’s pretty straightforward. All you gotta do is create a group in your locality about all things Hasura.

Apparently, they love HUGs (much like all of us).

Community engagement initiatives

Apart from ways in which you can contribute to Hasura’s community, there are engagement events that they do to keep the community well informed.

Community call

You can sign up for Hasura’s community calls that walk you through company roadmaps, upcoming features, demos, and product updates directly from Hasura’s core team.

Here’s their last hosted Community call, check it out 👇

Webinars and Workshops

Attends webinars and workshops hosted by the core engineering team. This can be your front-row ticket to understanding how Hasura’s platform works, and the things you can do to take your applications from 0 to 100 real quick.

In one of the webinars, Hasura shares community stories by telling the story of how Cajoo - a French direct-to-customer delivery app - was able to replace their back office with Hasura and get a lighter interface to reduce response times for faster services.


Talks from senior engineers, consultants, analysts from tech brands that are disrupting the 21st-century technology space. Tanmai along with some of the most influential minds in the industry explores the operational benefits of using GraphQL and how the technology can be leveraged to improve developer experiences.

Notable conferences:

  • Hasura Con ‘21
  • The Enterprise GraphQL Conference ‘21
  • Hasura Con ‘20

Community-powered success

In one of their recent articles, Hasura recounts 2021 and how has it been for their community.

...and to say it’s been a busy year for the community would be an understatement and a half. As one user recently reflected, and I can attest, the amount of content that exists in and around the Hasura community as a whole is impressive!

Jesse Martin, A technical product marketer at Hasura, also in his article highlights some of the community achievements that further strengthened the identity of Hasura as a community-focused organization.

  • 10k+ members on discord
  • 400M+ downloads
  • 100+ open source contributions
  • Hasura Conference ‘21
  • 2 years of Hasura Community Calls
  • Other community events like fireside chats and office hours.

If you spend some time on Hasura’s website, the one thing that becomes abundantly clear is that “Community is core to the identity of Hasura”.

Considering how much the community has grown in the past year, and how much the company has grown with it - Hasura’s trust in a community-powered roadmap will go nowhere but deeper.

And when you genuinely care about improving people’s lives with what you have to offer, the people are bound to love you back.

As of their plans for community engagement and growth, well -

Whether we’ve seen you at one of our weekly office hours calls, around Discord, in the comments of a PR, or simply a reply on Twitter, we’ve enjoyed getting to interact with you over the last year and are looking forward to another great year of learning, growing, and making with all of you. Look forward to more physical interaction with Hasura the brand, more events, more transparency, and of course, more features!

From all of us here at Threado - May the force be with you, Hasura! 🙌

To Summarize

Food cravings, the app dev ecosystem, and destiny

  • Rajoshi’s food cravings for local Chennai cuisine, a hunger to satiate those cravings, and coincidence.
  • Crossing paths with Tanmai and starting a food delivery platform together.
  • Tanmai’s realization of how complicated the app dev ecosystem is and diving head-first into technologies and frameworks.
  • In the midst of solving the application development problem, they realized that they’re frying much bigger fish.

The birth of Hasura

  • Iterations after iterations until finally Hasura is born - a GraphQL based app development platform that allows you to set up dynamic backend databases that can be easily queried from front-end clients.
  • How do APIs work, how intertwined our lives are with them, and why is GraphQL convenient for developers.
  • The rise and use of GraphQL
  • Hasura’s fundings and rise to success.

Community is core to the identity of Hasura

  • Hasura’s decision of keeping the platform open-source to enable a community-powered roadmap.
  • Getting 1000 stars on Github within a few days of release. Currently, their Github repository has over 25K stars.
  • A strong discord channel for anything and everything with 10K+ members.

How can you contribute to Hasura’s growing community?

  • Contribute to Hasura GraphQL engine
  • Translate existing content
  • Make a contribution to their Technical Writer Program
  • Speak at events and earn your swag
  • Start a Hasura User Group (HUG)

Community engagement initiatives

  • Community call
  • Webinars and Workshops
  • Conferences

Community-powered success

  • Hasura’s year in review while recounting some of their biggest community achievements.
  • The road ahead

About Threado:

Threado is the command centre for your online community. Signup for the waitlist and check out our cool drops - Community OS, which ended up being the #1 Product of the Day on Product Hunt, and SamosaBot, which is a fun way of showing gratitude in your slack community!

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