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October 4, 2013

MongoDB Goes Big with $150 Million Round

Alex Woodie

NoSQL database vendor MongoDB today announced it has secured $150 million in venture funding, bringing the six-year-old company’s total war chest to more than $230 million. The 230-person company is now reportedly valued at about $1.2 billion, and is viewed as a leader in a big data market segment growing at more than 30 percent per year.

With the latest cash infusion, MongoDB, which until recently had gone by the name 10gen, laid claim to being “the best-funded big data” technology company, in addition to the best funded NoSQL database vendor. MongoDB’s main competitors in the NoSQL field–including open source products like Apache Cassandra and Apache HBase as well as proprietary NoSQL vendors like CouchDB–haven’t attracted that same level of attention or funding.

The latest round of funding validates the company’s decision to operate out of dual headquarters–one in the heart of Silicon Valley, and the other in the financial capital of the world, New York City.

The new monies will be used to continue the “large and sustained investment” it’s making in its products and operations, says MongoDB CEO, Max Schireson. “This funding will allow us to continue to invest in the technology and the global operation our customers require,” Schireson stated in an announcement. “With this additional funding we will have the staying power to make these investments.”

Specifically, MongoDB says it will use the monies for the core MongoDB project as well as for MongoDB Management Service, a suite of tools and services that surround the core NoSQL database.

New MongoDB investors in this round included Altimeter Capital, EMC, and Salesforce.com, which is also a MongoDB customer. The latest round also included some existing vendors, including Intel Capital, NEA, Red Hat, and Sequoia Capital. The company was advised in this latest round by T. Rowe Price Associates.

According to MongoDB, there have been more than 5 million downloads of the MongoDB database, and 20,000 people count themselves as part of the company’s user group. The company currently has about 600 customers, and its sales and headcount are more than doubling each year, according to a Bloomberg story.

This latest round of funding establishes MongoDB as “the database of the future,” said Luis Robles, a venture capitalist at Sequoia Capital. “They are in a very large and competitive market, but they have all the ingredients to be big winners.”

Interest in NoSQL databases is soaring, as organizations look to products such as MongoDB’s to host not only new big data analytic workloads, but also more transaction-oriented systems that organizations traditionally would have hosted on a relational database system. Organizations are also looking to replace traditional relational systems with NoSQL and other, more exotic data stores that can more easily adapt to the size and variety of data today.

In response, the big relational database vendors like Oracle and IBM are moving to add new features, such as JSON support and support for column-oriented data stores, into their databases, in an effort to attract the new workloads and stem the migration to other vendors.

In the last few years, a plethora of NoSQL database vendors have set up shop in the space. A period of consolidation is widely expected to begin soon, perhaps in the next year or so, as the technology and business models shake out and the weaker players fold up their tents or get eaten by bigger vendors. With this infusion, MongoDB is positioning itself to be one of the diners at the party, as opposed to part of the feast.

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