MongoDB's $150 Million Funding Round: It's about the Customer Experience
October 4, 2013 | Updated: May 22, 2015
Today MongoDB announced that we raised $150 million from a variety of investors both new (Salesforce.com, T.Rowe Price, EMC and others) and old (Sequoia, Red Hat, NEA, Flybridge, etc.). It's a great day for MongoDB, both the company and the project.
But mostly it's a great day for our customers and the MongoDB community in which they participate.
Hip With The Hackers
Over the last few years MongoDB has solidified its position as the industry's leading NoSQL database and the fastest-growing Big Data community. With this funding round, MongoDB is also the best funded Big Data technology. As enterprises invest in Big Data, they turn to the two dominant Big Data technologies, MongoDB and Hadoop, as Wikibon analysis has shown.
Importantly, as can be seen in an analysis of LinkedIn profiles by 451 Research, very often enterprises discover that they already have MongoDB expertise within their organizations:
Much of this success derives from MongoDB giving developers a better way to create applications. Rather than commoditizing a legacy relational database (RDBMS) market, similar to what other open-source RDBMSs have done, MongoDB significantly increases developer productivity by offering them a flexible data model. MongoDB is a significant part of what Cowen & Co. analyst Peter Goldmacher calls a "fundamental shift in the technology landscape away from legacy systems towards a new breed of better products at a lower cost for Data Management, Apps and in other areas."
In other words, MongoDB is empowering the next generation of applications: post-transactional applications that rely on bigger data sets that move much faster than an RDBMS can handle. Developers have responded, voting with their apps, a considerable number of which are backed by MongoDB.
A Means, Not An End
Given the opportunity ahead of us, MongoDB would be irresponsible to raise less. While most of our funding comes from rapidly growing revenues, the MongoDB board of directors determined that it would be advantageous to the project and, hence, to our customers, to accelerate growth.
After all, our relational database competitors have a 30-year headstart.
As Max Schireson, MongoDB's CEO, articulated on his blog:
We are in a market dominated by technologies with over 30 years of engineering in them. Their designs may not be as well suited to modern applications, but they are very mature, very feature rich, and have huge partner ecosystems and big companies that understand the needs of their enterprise customers behind them. They have way more tooling – and decades of refinement of operational tools.
This is why we are raising $150 million. We know that it will take a large and sustained effort to build the maturity that many users expect in this market. Building out our management suite and enhancing the core product will be a ton of work. We have made great progress on security, management, stability, and scalability but we still have so much to do.
For next-generation workloads in the cloud, MongoDB is already taking a lead, as Amazon Web Services data from Stackdriver seems to suggest:
But MongoDB isn't intended to be a cloud-only database. It's a general purpose database, designed to be a great fit for the vast majority of worklads. We want to make it easy to run on a single node or at massive scale in the cloud or on premise. Whatever the customer needs.
This funding will help.
Helping Ops Fall In Love With MongoDB
Some of that work will be done by MongoDB's exceptional community of developers and business partners. Among other things, the MongoDB community has contributed over 20 drivers, tripling the language compatibility of MongoDB and making it much more approachable for developers, whatever their preferred programming language.
But some of it will necessarily be done by MongoDB, Inc. From Linux to JBoss to Drupal, much of the best tooling has had to be developed by a focused, highly incentivized company. MongoDB is no different. We believe we have built the world's best database for developers. Now we need to make sure it is also the world's best database for Operations professionals.
So that means an improved and expanded management suite. We recently added Backup, but there are other areas that will help Operations professionals more easily manage MongoDB at the scale that we increasingly see enterprises run the database. Outside of tooling, we also recognize that we need to continue to make improvements to MongoDB's concurrency, further optimize performance and more.
We don't by any stretch think we're done.
The Path Forward
But we're making excellent progress. In the last year since I joined MongoDB I've seen the company double its headcount and dramatically expand sales. This funding not only lets us make significant investments in improving MongoDB for both developers and Operations, but it also helps us to fund expansion geographically. We're already growing 300% or more in Europe year-over-year, and expect much of the same in Asia-Pacific. We need to help support our customers wherever they may be.
Given the historic opportunity before MongoDB, it's time to step on the accelerator. Hard.
If you're interested, please find more coverage of the funding at BusinessWeek, GigaOm, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and ZDNet.