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July 12, 2021

Off the Couch: Database Maker Seeks $160 Million In IPO

Couchbase plans to sell 7 million shares at about $20 to $23 each, netting the NoSQL database vendor about $160 million for its upcoming initial public offering (IPO), the company announced today.

The Santa Clara, California company, which filed its S-1 form last month with the Securities and Exchange Commission, is planning to go public in the near future. Its stock will be traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “BASE.”

Couchbase is an open source, document-oriented database that stores data in JSON. The database supports distributed operations and ACID transactions, and features a SQL-like query language called N1QL. It features a flexible data schema; native language bindings for CRUD, queries, search, and analytics across many popular languages; and is targeted primarily as the backend for Web and mobile apps.

Launched initially in 2011, Couchbase today is multi-modal, supporting a key-value store (based on Memcached) and geo-spatial capabilities. The company offers the database as a containerized service in the cloud, as well as a mobile-optimized version for disconnected devices. It also offers the first commercial implementation of SQL++, which provides analytical queries for JSON data.

Couchbase’s business plan is to replace legacy databases with its database, which it views as filling an unmet need for “systems of engagement” rather than systems of record. For every transaction that a traditional relational database handles, there are 1,000 interactions with consumers on Web and mobile applications.

However, “legacy” databases designed decades ago around relational technology are ill-equipped to handle these engagements, Couchbase says. This leaves companies to find other ways to fill the “look to book” gap.

“Legacy relational databases are simply not built to deliver the performance, scalability and agility that modern applications require,” the company writes in its S-1. “For enterprises to achieve digital transformation, new databases are needed to power new applications and re-architect existing applications.”

Companies using the commercial implementation of the product, called Couchbase Server, include Amadeus, Nasdaq, Experian, Carnival, and USAA, among others. Couchbase says the percentage of customers’ data workloads that are run on its database has risen from 40% to 80% in recent years.

The S-1 also shared information about Couchbase’s finances. Total revenue rose from $82.5 million in the year ended January 31, 2020, to $103.3 million in the year ended January 31, 2021, according to the S-1. Its net loss also widened, from $29.3 million in fiscal 2020 to $40.0 million last year, it shows.

At $23 per share, Couchbase’s total valuation is around $900 million, other publications reported.

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Couchbase’s Engaging Plan for Customer Victory