I’ve founded a company. Introducing OramaSearch Inc.

Michele Riva
6 min readFeb 27, 2023
www.oramasearch.com

I’m writing to celebrate my first working anniversary at NearForm, the best company I’ve ever worked for. So why am I announcing my departure? This article is about how NearForm changed my life and what’s coming next.

In principle, it was Lyra.

In early 2022, I joined NearForm as a Senior Software Architect. I’ve been lucky enough to join a team initially managed by Matteo Collina, a well-known open-source developer, now co-founder and CTO of Platformatic.

While preparing some material for a talk on algorithms and data structures at WeAreDevelopers, I developed Lyra, a small, full-text search engine written entirely in TypeScript.

My first talk presenting Lyra at WeAreDevelopers in Berlin, 2022

My team was composed of some of the most talented engineers I’ve ever met in my life. Matteo, Rafael, Paolo, Jonas, Cody. Matteo was the one who prompted me to open-source the beta version of Lyra, and all the other engineers helped me with code reviews, fixes, and more, at least in the early stages.

After a conference where I presented Lyra, I discussed it with another speaker until he told me: “wouldn’t it be cool if we had search engines running on edge networks?”

I asked my colleague Paolo (who was in Berlin with me for another conference) how to achieve that, and it took him half a day to make it happen!

As soon as we announced compatibility with every major edge network, Lyra gained much popularity. At the time of writing, it reached almost 5.5k stars on GitHub and more than 25k monthly downloads on npm.

Presenting Lyra at NodeConf 2022 in Kilkenny, Ireland

Announcing OramaSearch Inc.

Italian founders in Monza, Italy

Today I am glad to announce OramaSearch Inc, the company I co-founded with a great, experienced engineer and former CTO of one of the biggest tech companies in the world. I am not gonna spoil the name for now… I want to roll out big news one at a time! 😄

OramaSearch Inc will be the new home of Lyra, which from now on, changed its name to Orama.

We found the best professionals out there and created the team that I always dreamed of.

The initial team will see me (CTO), Angela Angelini (Head of Design), and Paolo Insogna (Principal Architect).

We also started hiring and welcomed Francesca as a Senior Software Engineer. Employee #1 onboarded already!

For the next few months, we have big plans for Orama. Of course, it’s a bit too early to talk about the future evolutions of the project, but one thing’s for sure: it’s gonna be great.

Also: we’re hiring a core engineer to work on search algorithms. If you’re interested, reach out!

About NearForm.

Talking at the LeadDev conference in Berlin, 2022

I’d like to dedicate a couple of words to NearForm. I left an excellent position at Paramount to pursue open-source software, knowledge sharing, and developer relations. And you know what? I loved my job at Paramount, but NearForm has been a total life-changer.

I enjoyed every single day I spent working there.

If I think of all the engineers who worked here before me, people like Matteo Collina, James Snell, and Anna Henningsen, to name a few, I think of NearForm as the Midas of developers. Whomever they touch, they turn golden.

I can’t say I see myself turned into gold, but I see the opportunity this company offers to its employees. Lyra wouldn’t have been the same without NearForm.

On the client side, NearForm is the kind of company you want to have on your side when building really complex stuff, when things change quickly, and you need people capable of adapting fast, or when things go wrong.

I don’t get anything out of saying this, but believe me: NearForm is the professional service company you want to have with you.

On more personal notice, since I started working remotely, I never actually thought of getting back to an office anytime soon. But meeting my colleagues in real life has been just amazing, and I definitely wish I had spent more time with them.

During our annual retreat (the NearFest), I made connections and hung out with people that changed my life forever. I’ll be eternally grateful to NearForm for this.

NearForm’s NearFest 2022
NearFest 2022

To all the NearFormers reading this: I will really miss you, and I’ll try to sneak into the next NearFest… save some beer for me!

The future of Lyra.

Talking about Lyra, it will be progressively rebranded into Orama, starting from our social network accounts, to our open-source repositories.

OramaSearch will be the new home, and you can follow the development of the next-generation full-text search engine here:

I’d also recommend you follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to get up to date with the latest news.

Also, subscribe to our mailing list to get news as soon as we release them!

Acknowledgments.

There are too many people I feel grateful to.

First of all, I wanna say thanks to my current manager Paula. Hands down the best manager I have ever had. Whoever is gonna take my place at NearForm, they’re gonna find a fantastic person as a manager.

Then, I’d like to say thanks to Cian and Ciaran, respectively founder and CEO of NearForm. I am not leaving because I wanted to change, I am leaving because I found an opportunity where I couldn’t say no. And that has been possible thanks to you as well. So thank you both!

I know that Cian always dreamed of NearForm as a place that could help incubate and spin up open-source-based companies. As I said, OramaSearch wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for NearForm, and I am humbled to take a part in realizing his vision. I am sure that this will pave the ground for many game-changing companies to come.

I’d also like to thank my team, who’s making a dream come true. I feel blessed to be able to work with such talented and passionate people.

Last but not least, I’d like to thank all the Lyra contributors. Open-source is not just about writing code, it is also about debugging, opening issues, and exposing new ideas; Lyra is the perfect example of an open-source project that grew within a great community, that helped shape the product we know today.

So, what’s next?

We have big plans for the next few months, where we’ll be focusing on working on Orama more than ever, with a full-time team dedicated to developer experience, performance enhancements, new features, and much, much more.

Orama is a new kind of search engine, with some features that make it unique when compared to other solutions.

If you have any suggestions, feature requests, or bugs to report, please feel free to join our Slack community.

We’re going to make something great.

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