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July 22, 2021

Couchbase Pops in Stock Market Debut

Couchbase CEO Matt Cain speaking at NASDAQ July 22, 2021

NoSQL database maker Couchbase went public today with an initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, successfully selling millions of shares at $24 a pop, slightly above the range it gave earlier. By the closing bell, the stock, which trades under the ticker symbol “BASE,” was selling at around $30, netting early investors a tidy 26.6% gain on the first trading day.

“Today marks a significant milestone for Couchbase,” the company’s CEO, Matt Cain, said in a statement. “The founders of our company set out over a decade ago to build a platform architected to solve our customers’ most difficult database challenges–from scale to flexibility to deployment. Since then we’ve distinguished ourselves as a company that grows alongside our customers, taking innovation and modernization into consideration, and empowering them to build, manage and operate mission-critical applications at the highest level of scale and performance.”

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.

The company filed its S-1 form last month with the SEC, laying out its business plan, which revolves heavily around disciplining relational database systems, which it views as “legacy” systems. The company has made no bones about its intention to go after Oracle, which remains the 800-pound gorilla in the database space.

Displacing Oracle databases remains the dream of most database startups today. But Couchbase would do well to focus on its closest competitor, MongoDB, which has a sizable advantage in the scope of its business, particularly on the cloud. MongoDB, which develops a popular document-style NoSQL database, has nearly 27,000 customers across 100 countries. Couchbase has 500 paying customers in 50 countries, including companies like American Greetings, Domino’s, Intuit, Experian, Western Union, USAA, Avis, Carnival, and Emirates.

Today was a day of celebration for Couchbase, the Santa Clara, California software company that builds databases that serve the systems of engagement, as opposed to the transactional systems that relational databases like Oracle traditionally target.

“I couldn’t be more humbled to celebrate our public market debut,” Cain continued. “I want to thank our employees, who embody our company values every day and remain committed to making tomorrow better than today. And a special thanks to our customers, partners, and investors, for their belief in Couchbase and for making today’s IPO possible. Today is a great day, filled with celebration and pride. We are still in the early days of our journey and look forward to what’s to come in our next chapter.”

Cain expanded on his thoughts with a blog post today, which you can read here.

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