How MongoDB Atlas Helps TripCloud Move at Startup Speed

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Nag Palavalli
October 24, 2017
Category: Customer Stories, Cloud

This is a guest post by Nag Palavalli, CEO and Co-Founder, TripCloud.

I love to travel, but while working as a consultant and bouncing from city to city, I noticed a gap in the business travel market. Businesses are starting to spend tremendous amounts of money on travel, but with no real way to track and manage those expenses, many companies are unnecessarily bleeding cash. This can have a huge impact on a business' bottom line, and for small or mid-sized businesses, that cash can have a dramatic impact.

That’s why I created TripCloud, a travel and expense management platform for small and midsize businesses in the US. We’ll help you book travel, manage expenses, and understand exactly how that money is being spent.

At the core, I started the company because expenses are something that everybody universally hates, and hate is a great motivator for change.

Supporting Our Team

At TripCloud, we’re a small team of four. Given that our time is limited, we need to work on the projects that will have a big impact on our business. As a result, we wanted a database-as-a-service to help us manage our data platform and associated ops work so we can focus on building and managing the app.

I used MongoDB before I started TripCloud and it felt very natural working with Node.js. Knowing JavaScript makes it super simple to use MongoDB. I also firmly believe you can build almost any app on the MongoDB platform, especially if your application or data sources change frequently – like ours – and you can’t stick to a rigid relational/SQL table. But another reason we went with MongoDB for TripCloud was because Expedia is one of their customers, so we knew that we’d be working with a company that understood the travel space. The flexibility that I had seen and the comfort in knowing they would understand our needs meant we could confidently turn to MongoDB.

We started Tripcloud on mLab, but we were looking for a database-as-a-service with the best in class support, performance, and security for our customers. Now that we’re using the MongoDB Atlas service, we get unparalleled, reliable performance, which is incredibly important because today’s users are accustomed to almost instantaneous response times. It doesn’t matter if you have the best product; if it’s slow or crashes, people won’t use it. MongoDB Atlas allows me to run a report every Friday reviewing all of our cloud resources. I am able to tweak our system every week to ensure it’s running the best it can—looking for any anomalies or alerts. It only takes me 15 minutes to do this, but it’s incredibly impactful. Having a platform optimized to get these rapid insights on our database operations is a huge differentiator for MongoDB Atlas.

With Atlas, all of our data is automatically replicated three times and geographically distributed, so our platform is always on. We also invest in Atlas’s fully managed backups so we can move fast and minimize the risk of failure. It’s crucial because when you’re a small team moving as fast as we are, the chances of breaking something or running into other challenges are higher. At the same time, we’re dealing with mission-critical information and can’t afford to lose any data. It’s comforting knowing that if we do break stuff, we’ve got the ability to restore to any point in time. If I tried to do all this on my own, it would be a full-time job just managing this infrastructure.

Accelerating Our Progress

Another offering from MongoDB that’s helped us build our company is the Startup Accelerator. It’s a six month program that gives startups Atlas credits, priority support, as well as access to their community network. Being in the accelerator has been like a gift for us. It’s given us the chance to get closer to a company that played such a huge role in our business.

I’ve been able to leverage the expertise of that network through Slack, where I’m connected directly with the people building MongoDB. We were building a marketing site,, and needed to find the answer to a problem that wasn’t documented online. Within 15 minutes of talking to them, I had solved the issue. I wouldn’t have been able to solve the problem that quickly without this connection, which was crucial since I needed to deploy that night.

These connections mean everything. Especially in the beginning when no one in the industry knows who you are. If you can find a way to get visibility and gain these connections, you’re going to be able to get a lot more important work done. It’s really important and beneficial to us that AWS and MongoDB are working together to deliver the best in class database as a service in the cloud through the Startup Accelerator program.

The Right Tools

With the speed and reliability that we get from MongoDB Atlas, we can now solve the big problems. We know our users will have a consistently positive experience, and we don’t have to worry if our database will scale. We only have to focus on building the future of business travel management. Distractions are momentum killers, and in the startup world, speed is king. Just like how MongoDB is removing obstacles for good work, that’s what we’re doing at TripCloud.

The tools you pick will decide how fast you can move. Make sure you’re choosing the best tools for your company—your success is riding on it.

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