Seqera LabsMar 22, 2022

Seqera Labs Enjoys Record Revenue and Customer Growth on the Strength of Nextflow Tower

BARCELONA, SPAIN - March 15th, 2022 - Seqera Labs, the creators of Nextflow announced strong revenue growth and momentum on the strength of Nextflow Tower, a platform for collaborative data analysis at scale. Since its initial release in 2013, Nextflow has emerged as a favorite tool among bioinformaticians. By delivering a seamless user experience, Nextflow has helped transform how organizations build scientific pipelines. Today, Nextflow is used by thousands of organizations worldwide, is downloaded more than 55,000 times monthly, and is among the most successful open-source software projects in life sciences.

Paolo, Rob, and Evan from Seqera Labs

Nextflow Tower propels Seqera Labs to new heights

By any measure, creating another project as successful as Nextflow would be tough to achieve. However, with the formation of Seqera Labs in 2018, Nextflow’s creators signaled their intent to do just that. While Nextflow provided substantial benefits to bioinformaticians, clinicians, and data scientists, research communities still had many unmet needs. Users struggled with deploying complex compute environments, making data pipelines more accessible, and enabling secure collaboration among local and remote teams. Enter Nextflow Tower – a full-stack web application for the management of data-intensive pipelines. Tower builds on the capabilities of Nextflow by enabling collaborative data analysis at scale on-premises or in any cloud.

First released in 2019, Nextflow Tower is following in the footsteps of Nextflow and seeing rapid adoption. Fueled by the success of Tower, Seqera Labs saw dramatic growth in 2021. By the end of the year, the company had achieved significant milestones:

  • 50 commercial clients, including 8 of the world’s top 20 pharma companies.

  • Over 800% YoY growth in annual recurring revenue.

  • USD $5.5M+ in new funding from industry-leading firms.

  • A tripling in Seqera Labs employees.

A key reason for Tower’s success is that it enables researchers to focus on the science that matters rather than details such as infrastructure engineering. The past year saw several innovations in both Nextflow and Nextflow Tower, including:

  • Major releases of Nextflow Tower including Launchpad, Actions, and Secrets.

  • Azure Batch integration.

  • Nextflow support for SQL databases.

  • Versioned Nextflow Datasets in Tower.

  • Tower Cloud Community Workspace.

  • Nextflow Tower Command Line Interface (CLI).

In a field where cloud resources are often billed by the second, efficiency is critical. Commercial organizations have recognized that Tower can not only boost productivity but also help reduce spending, resulting in savings that flow straight to the bottom line.

COVID-19 shines a light on new requirements

Nextflow has been playing a key role in the global battle against SARS-CoV-2, powering dozens of pipelines used for genetic surveillance and the development of therapeutics. Notable examples include the Ncov2019-artic-nf pipeline used to analyze SARS-CoV-2 sequences and Elan, a pipeline used by the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium (COG-UK) for aggregating and publishing COVID datasets. A separate pipeline called Phylopipe is responsible for building phylogenetic trees from the COG-UK data and has been instrumental in tracking the emergence of new variants.

Early in the pandemic, lab capacity for testing was overwhelmed. Genetic surveillance needed to scale quickly and massively as dozens of public and private labs were enlisted into the COVID fight. Pipelines needed to be robust, reliable, easy to publish and distribute, and portable across various on-prem and cloud-based compute environments. Scaling testing also required that pipelines be accessible to non-specialists.

With support for containers, multiple clouds and workload managers, and deep integrations with modern source code management (SCM) systems, Nextflow and Tower hit the sweet spot. Nextflow literally “ticked every box,” making pipelines exceptionally easy to build, deploy, maintain, share, and scale.

nf-core plays a key role

nf-core, a community to collect a curated set of Nextflow analysis pipelines, has played a vital role in the success of Nextflow and Tower. With more than 1,070 contributors, nf-core has developed 73 high-quality, production-ready pipelines. More than just another registry, nf-core is a community effort. All pipelines are based on a standard template for consistency and commonality in design and usage. Since nf-core allows only one pipeline per data & analysis type, the focus is on quality over quantity.

Pipeline schemas are a powerful tool in the nf-core toolbox. Pipeline schemas enable developers to make pipelines easily accessible through web interfaces and enable pipeline validation. Tools available at nf-core help automate building these interfaces, further enhancing the quality and usability of nf-core pipelines.

nf-core pipelines are instantly accessible from within the Tower Web UI, making them easy to use and share. Access to stable, validated, reproducible pipelines is a game changer for researchers. In recognition of the importance of this effort, Nextflow and nf-core were named as recipients of three separate grants under the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s (CZI) Essential Open Source Software in Sciences (EOSS) program.

Looking towards the future

As we approach the tenth anniversary of the Nextflow project, Seqera Labs is just getting started. In a recent nf-cast podcast, Seqera Labs’ CEO and co-founder shared his thoughts about Seqera and the evolution of Tower.

“We’re extremely gratified by the market acceptance of Tower,” said Evan Floden, CEO of Seqera Labs. “Since launching Tower Cloud, we’ve seen over 3,000 users on the platform. Biology is undergoing a fundamental shift, and organizations need to rapidly expand their capacity to process complex data. Tower makes this easier than ever before.” According to Seqera’s founders, areas of focus going forward include strengthening Tower’s capabilities around data management and automation. Users have run hundreds of thousands of pipelines through Tower Cloud. There is value in automating actions and exposing all this data and making it easier to access and analyze through dashboards. Other areas of focus include reporting and building new capabilities around cost and resource optimization.

Readers can learn more about Nextflow Tower at http://tower.nf. For a demonstration of Tower, and a discussion of what’s next for the platform, check out the latest nf-cast featuring an interview with Dr. Evan Floden.

Seqera Labs is the leading provider of workflow orchestration software for data pipeline processing, multi-cloud infrastructure provisioning, and secure collaboration. The core open-source technology Nextflow has transformed the building of massively scalable and distributed computing solutions. The software enables developers and data scientists to create and securely deploy data applications in the cloud and/or on traditional on-premises infrastructure.