Queenly Builds New Formalwear Shopping Experience With Full Text Search Indexing
Two years ago, we profiled Queenly , a promising startup that's ushering in big changes to the formalwear industry by making it more accessible for everyday people. The San Francisco-based company operates a marketplace and search engine for buying and selling formalwear such as wedding dresses, prom dresses, special occasion attire, and wedding guest dresses. Four years removed from its successful launch, Queenly is now rolling out new social commerce features that co-founders Trisha Bantigue and Kathy Zhou hope will give users a forum to discuss fashion tips, share recommendations, and develop a community of like-minded friends. Ready to wear Zhou, who is also CTO of Queenly, chose MongoDB because she'd previously used it as a student at the University of Pennsylvania doing hackathons. "It was super easy to set up when I was just that starry eyed, 19-year-old kid that, honestly, didn't know anything about databases," she says. That simplicity remains a selling point for Zhou. "It's been really great to train our engineering team on MongoDB," Zhou says. "Even if they're a client-side engineer and don't have a background in databases." That ease of use will continue to pay off as the company scales and grows its technical team. Zhou's domain knowledge from working on search engines and recommendation systems at Pinterest led her to apply the advancements in algorithms and technology to the fashion industry. Full text search is a critical feature for building a truly personalized shopping experience that's tailored to the different life events that require formal wear. MongoDB Atlas Search is a fully integrated solution that makes it easy to add full text search with advanced functionality — fuzzy search, synonyms— to existing datastores. The simplicity of the out-of-the-box solution is huge for startups, Zhou says, because they're constantly growing and trying to structure their data along the way. "We have our own blended algorithms for ranking and delivering the most relevant search results to users, so plugging Atlas Search into our system helped fill in the user experience gaps when needed," Zhou says. "MongoDB was the right choice at the right time," she says. "When it comes to being able to do more complex querying and searching, MongoDB felt pretty easy." She also likes using NoSQL schemas and NoSQL databases because of the flexibility. Startups see so many different curveballs, she says, and so many different things they want to test and try, and having the flexibility to do that has really helped, according to Zhou. Data-driven differentiation Both Zhou and CEO Bantigue have experience in the fashion world and use that experience to customize their service to their audience. As we mentioned in our earlier profile, both grew up in low-income, immigrant households and entered beauty pageants as a way to earn tuition money. So they know the experience of needing to find the dress of your dreams but with limited resources. It's that lived experience that enables them to create a great UI/UX that treats customers the way they want to be treated. The co-founders, both 2022 Forbes 30 Under 30 honorees, combined their knowledge of the fashion industry with the ability to solve problems through data-driven methods to create differentiation in a crowded space. The search and indexing capabilities in MongoDB Atlas enable the Queenly application to curate a highly personalized visitor experience based on what you search for and spend time looking at. Normally, building new shopping categories or recommendation features would entail building a new data pipeline or data science infrastructure. Zhou says the compound filtering and indexing capabilities in MongoDB enable them to get new categories off the ground quickly and iterate as needed. “Communities on Queenly" has recently launched out of beta to all users, allowing them to ask each other questions like, "What kind of hairstyle should I wear for my wedding?" or "What kind of brands do you guys typically like?" Other interactive, social commerce type features that Queenly’s engineering team was able to quickly launch through the help of MongoDB’s indexing features include a Tiktok-style video feed and following feeds for user closets and brands. Support for startups Queenly is part of the MongoDB for Startups program , which helps startups build faster and scale further with free MongoDB Atlas credits, one-on-one technical advice, co-marketing opportunities, and access to a vast partner network. Zhou says the program has given them access to a level of specialized support that they wouldn't have had otherwise. "Clients our size might not get as much help as a really big company. I think it's really great that MongoDB for Startups exists so that us founders and small business owners can feel heard when it comes to just getting support," Zhou says. If you want to learn more about Queenly, check out queenly.com . To apply to become part of a growing team, visit queenly.com/jobs. Are you part of a startup and interested in joining the MongoDB for Startups program? Apply now .
Ignite Launches Smart Spend Management Solution on MongoDB
Expenditures are under a microscope in today's macroeconomic environment. Organizations everywhere are trying to do more with less and stretch their budgets further. But managing spend can be an uphill battle when data is siloed across the organization. Ignite Procurement's spend management solution helps organizations unify procurement data across the enterprise, making procurement easier, better, and more efficient. Building a smarter, scalable stack Ignite CTO Valdemar Rolfsen says the company uses MongoDB Atlas because it gives them the flexibility they need to serve customers. Customer data can be structured or unstructured, and Atlas handles both seamlessly. He also says the rapid growth the company experienced in its early stages necessitated a database with more scalability than PostgreSQL could offer. MongoDB Atlas easily scales up or down, giving Ignite exactly what it needs to handle current workloads and the future growth the company anticipates. Rolfsen says that while the company doesn't run as many writes and reads as in other use cases, it does run a lot of advanced operations in its in-house analytics platform, and MongoDB handles those needs easily and efficiently. He also praises the professional support he's received from the MongoDB for Startups program. Ignite uses a mix of Atlas dedicated clusters and serverless instances , which has been generally available (GA) since June. Rolfsen says the work they're doing at Ignite fits very well within the serverless model. The Ignite platform is a mid-market and enterprise application that's used by companies in the U.S. and Europe. The platform sees heavy usage at certain times and very low usage at other times. With serverless, Rolfsen says he doesn't have to worry about the time it takes for an idle server to ramp up. When resources are in high demand, the serverless database automatically scales up to meet the demand and back down as demand subsides. With serverless pricing, you pay for what you use and not for idle resources. The transparency of the pricing model is something Rolfsen says is especially attractive in the serverless offering. Ignite is also benefiting from credits the company received as part of the MongoDB for Startups program. Rolfsen's affinity for the serverless offering goes beyond the pricing benefits of serverless. He recognizes the impact on CO2 emissions associated with large virtual machines operating continuously. Serverless technology, he says, is a much better alternative for the environment and sustainability. Ignite's cloud usage accounts for 25% of the company's CO2 emissions, according to Rolfsen. Getting that down is, "really cool to see," he says. In addition to MongoDB Atlas serverless instances, Ignite also runs a combination of Google Cloud Run, Cloud Functions, and Kubernetes clusters. As the company expands its services, it's starting to move more to microservices and cloud functions to limit the scope of the domain teams have to work in. How to find out more The MongoDB for Startups program helps startups along the way with free MongoDB Atlas credits, one-on-one technical advice, co-marketing opportunities, and access to a vast partner network. Learn more about the benefits of the MongoDB for Startup program and even sign up today. For more startup content, check out our wrap-up of the 2022 year in startups .
Hydrus Helps Companies Improve ESG Performance
More organizations are embracing workforce diversity, environmental sustainability, and responsible corporate governance in an effort to improve their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance. As investors increasingly favor ESG in their portfolios, organizations are under greater pressure to capture, store, and verify ESG metrics. San Francisco-based startup, Hydrus, is helping companies make ESG data more usable and actionable. The platform Hydrus, a MongoDB for Startups program member, is a software platform that enables enterprises to collect, store, report, and act on their environmental, social, and governance data. ESG data includes things like: How a company safeguards the environment Its energy consumption and how it impacts climate change How it manages relationships with employees, suppliers, and customers Details about the company’s leadership, executive pay, audits, and internal controls The Hydrus platform enables organizations to collect, store, and audit diversity and environmental data, and run analytics and machine learning against that data. Hydrus offers users a first-rate UI/UX so that even non-technical users can leverage the platform. With the auditing capabilities, organizations can ensure the provenance and integrity of ESG data over time. Other solutions don't allow users to go back in time and determine who made changes to the data, why they made them, what earlier versions of the data looked like, and what time the changes were made. Hydrus gives users complete visibility into these activities. The tech stack MongoDB Atlas was the preferred database for Hydrus because of the flexibility of the data model. George Lee, founder and CEO of Hydrus, says the traditional SQL database model was too limiting for the startup's needs. MongoDB's document model eliminated the need to create tables or enforce restrictions of data fields. With MongoDB, they could simply add fields without undertaking any major schema changes. Hydrus also tapped MongoDB for access to engineers and technical resources. This enabled the company to architect its platform for all of the different types of sustainability data that exist. MongoDB technical experts helped Hydrus model data for future scalability and flexibility so it could add data fields when the need arises. On top of Atlas and MongoDB technical support, Hydrus leans heavily on MongoDB Charts , a data visualization tool for creating, sharing, and embedding visualizations from MongoDB Atlas. Charts enables Hydrus to derive insights from ESG data, giving its Fortune 200 clients better visibility into their operational efficiency. Charts uses a drag-and-drop interface that makes it easy to build charts and answer questions about ESG data. A Hydrus customer using MongoDB Charts was better able to understand the impact of their footprint from a greenhouse gas perspective and a resource usage perspective. Another customer detected a 30x increase in refrigerant usage in one of its facilities. The visual analytics generated with MongoDB Charts enabled the company to make changes to improve their ESG performance. MongoDB Charts enabled Hydrus to visualize sustainability data "MongoDB Charts enables our customers to directly report their sustainability data, customize the charts, and better tell the sustainability story in a visual format," Lee says. "It's way better than the traditional format where you have data, tables, and spreadsheets everywhere." The roadmap Hydrus seeks to take the hassle out of managing a sustainable business by streamlining data collection, reporting, and auditing processes. Its platform is designed to eliminate manual tasks for sustainability managers so they can focus on decarbonization, resource usage optimization, and being able to hit their sustainability goals. Hydrus accelerates these activities by helping companies model their sustainability data around science-based targets so they can better decarbonize and meet other ESG goals. If you're interested in learning more about how to help your organization become more sustainable, decarbonize, and succeed in your sustainability journey, visit the Hydrus website . Are you part of a startup and interested in joining the MongoDB for Startups program? Apply now . For more startup content, check out our wrap-up of the 2022 year in startups .
Built With MongoDB: Inspirit Helps Kids Learn Science Through Immersive Technology
Immersive technologies like AR and VR have tremendous potential to transform learning outcomes for students. By representing complicated, often intangible concepts in an interactive, 3D platform and VR system, they encourage engagement and improve memory recall in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects. Palo Alto-based startup, Inspirit , has developed an immersive, interactive VR platform that combines the best of both 3D and VR instruction to allow students in middle school and high school to experience science and learning through virtual reality instead of reading. Inspirit is also part of the MongoDB for Startups program , which helps startups build faster and scale further with free MongoDB Atlas credits, one-on-one technical advice, co-marketing opportunities, and access to a vast partner network. Birth of a Startup Inspirit Co-founders Amrutha Vasan and Aditya Vishwanath were conducting research at Georgia Tech and trying to understand how to bring virtual reality into education when they had a critical insight. "A lot of students tend to lose sight or just lose interest in science by the time they hit high school," Vasan says. "What we realized very quickly was that you can give teachers the tools that they need in order to do things that are way too expensive or just simply impossible to do in the real world." As students get into higher order physics, calculus, biology, and chemistry, they struggle with visualizing difficult concepts. "What we aim to do is provide interactive 3D models and interactive simulations that actually teach them core science concepts so that they build that curiosity and actually engage with the material in order to keep them in STEM programs and moving forward," Vasan says. Company evolution Inspirit has evolved since its early days. The founders initially focused on VR headsets and 3D goggles that students would share in the classroom. Once the global COVID-19 pandemic hit, it was clear that students wouldn't be going back to the classroom anytime soon. "We had to very quickly pivot into building a web platform that students could use at home and teachers could use for hybrid and online teaching," Vasan says. "Through the pandemic, we learned very quickly exactly how the education system would actually be changing. And so through that adaptation, we've now built a cross-platform product." Building a cross-platform solution aligns with one of Inspirit's core values, which is to be accessible. Inspirit is now available on the web in addition to virtual reality headsets so students can access the tools on different platforms. Inspirit isn't just an extracurricular activity. One of the biggest differentiators between Inspirit VR classroom and other platforms is that it addresses core content. It's not something that students need to use independently. "You still need a really great teacher," Vasan says. "There is no way for you to show a student a eukaryotic cell other than by drawing it on a whiteboard or giving them a diagram or a video," she says. "You still need a great teacher in order to use our platform. But they can now use this to help their students visualize difficult science concepts." Inspirit helps students who love science immerse themselves in it more while at the same time helping kids who dislike science experience it in a new, more engaging way. Building with MongoDB Inspirit chose MongoDB over other platforms because of its support and flexibility. As a startup, the founders knew their database structure would be changing constantly. "MongoDB allows for a lot of flexibility," Vasan says, "which is really important because we're probably not going to have the perfect database going into a startup. Allowing us to consistently change it as we're scaling and growing has just been very helpful." Regarding MongoDB support, which is one of the benefits of the MongoDB for Startups program, Vasan says the company got the most support from MongoDB than any of the other databases they were looking at. "That's ultimately why we ended up choosing it for our company," she says. "The things that we love the most about MongoDB are Atlas , Charts , and search indexes . Atlas has been really cool for visualizing all the data and for helping us grow and scale quickly as well." "We've had a really good partnership with the MongoDB for Startups program in particular," Vasan says. Inspirit uses AWS, and Vasan cites how easily Atlas integrates with AWS as another key benefit that she appreciates. "AWS integrates very easily with MongoDB. So to be honest, it's been pretty easy scaling our backend." Compliance was another critical requirement. "We actually need to be COPPA compliant," Vasan says, referring to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule. "There are a lot of data regulations for what we're using since we have sensitive student, parent, and teacher data. And so both MongoDB and AWS actually make that a lot easier." If you're interested in learning more about Inspirit's immersive learning tools, visit their website . Are you part of a startup and interested in joining the MongoDB for Startups program? Apply now . For more startup content, check out our previous blog on Qubitro .
Built by MongoDB: Qubitro Makes Device Data Accessible Anywhere it's Needed
Increased cloud adoption and the expansion of 5G networks are expected to drive growth in IoT technologies over the next few years. Emergent IoT technologies are poised to transform businesses and the social fabric, including healthcare, smart homes and cities, and the government sector. Delaware-based startup, Qubitro , looks to capitalize on the potentially explosive growth in IoT technology by helping companies bring smart solutions to market faster. Qubitro, which is also a member of the MongoDB for Startups program, offers the fastest way of collecting and processing device data to activate it wherever it's needed. Product vision Qubitro founder and CEO, Beray Bentesen, estimates that there are now billions of devices producing massive amounts of data. The company's mission, he says, is to make device data accessible anywhere it's needed as fast as possible and at a lower cost than ever before. By collecting device data from multiple networks and providing various developer toolkits for activating data in applications, Qubitro enables data-driven decision making and modern application development. The company has two main products: the Qubitro Portal , a user interface where users can collaborate with other members or their internal team and create real-time actions such as rules and output integrations with their applications, and developer tools including APIs and SDKs that allow for custom solutions without having to develop data infrastructure from scratch. Bentesen wants Qubitro to become the fabric of a digital transformation powered by device data. "We aim to make any data published from devices flow over our network and make any application that relies on device data to integrate with our services," Bentesen says. The ideal Qubitro customer is one that needs to put device data into their solutions. "It could be startups, IoT-adopting enterprises, or custom solution providers," Bentesen says. The company has also been heavily investing in developer experience, he adds. A platform to build upon The secret to building a platform that can process data in milliseconds with privacy and user experience combined is, not surprisingly, another platform — specifically the MongoDB Atlas developer data platform. "We offer managed connectivity solutions, user interface, and the APIs," Bentesen says. "So we process tons of data. And MongoDB is in the middle of all those inputs and outputs." The MongoDB for Startups program helps startups build faster and scale further with free MongoDB Atlas credits, one-on-one technical advice, co-marketing opportunities, and access to a vast partner network. Bentesen says the company has benefitted from being in the program a number of ways. "In the early days when we joined the program, we were able to get answers to questions that would take probably weeks or maybe more if you search on the internet," he says. "We were able to understand what to develop, which saved us a lot of time and of course expense." The MongoDB Atlas platform also helps their developers during those crucial stages prior to launching a new feature and as the product grows in popularity. "With MongoDB Atlas, we could test our development environment before going to production," Bentesen says. "And as we scale, we're able to observe the traffic through MongoDB Atlas and optimize thanks to the tools MongoDB offers, like MongoDB Compass , without dealing with code or complex environments." MongoDB's document model database made it an easy choice for the company's needs. "We decided to use MongoDB because it's a flexible environment," Bentesen says. "We knew we would have to build new features over time. So we needed to go with a flexible database. We're still adding more and more features without breaking the entire system. We wanted that flexibility, and in a managed cloud offering, which MongoDB gives us." Bentesen also cites MongoDB's Time Series collections as one of the features he's most excited about, since the vast majority of IoT solutions rely on time series data. Looking forward Bentesen says Qubitro will likely add more enterprise features in the future. The more they grow, he says, the more insight they're getting about what customers want. The company also plans to invest heavily in growing its community of users and, of course, attracting more talent. Bentensen says the company fully embraces the remote-first culture and believes they can work faster working remotely. If you're looking forward to building the next generation of connected solutions, visit Qubitro.com , join the company's Discord server , or have a chat anytime, even weekends! Are you part of a startup and interested in joining the MongoDB for Startups program? Apply now . For more startups content, check out our previous blog on ChargeHub .
Built With MongoDB: ChargeHub Simplifies the Electric Charging Experience
Built With MongoDB: Thunkable Brings the Power of App Development to Non-Developers
Great ideas can come from anywhere. But, if you have a great idea for a mobile app, you won't get far without developer talent. In today's app market, there are so many ideas in various stages of development that developer talent has become scarce and costly. To fill the gap, low-code and no-code solutions have emerged. Thunkable is a no-code platform that makes it easy to build custom native mobile apps without any advanced software engineering knowledge or certifications. The platform has seen tremendous growth, recently expanding to more than three million users. MongoDB has been pivotal to that growth, enabling the company to offer its services at scale without having to worry about managing the database. Thunkable is also part of the MongoDB for Startups program, which has helped the company solve some of the technical hurdles involved with scaling to millions of users. App creation for everyone Just because you don't have a computer science degree doesn't mean you can't come up with a great idea for an app. Thunkable co-founder and CTO, Wei Li, says the company is on a mission to democratize mobile app development. "We are currently empowering more than three million users across the globe that can come to our platform to build and publish their apps and do it without writing a single piece of code," Li says. Thunkable uses a simple drag-and-drop design canvas and powerful logic blocks to give innovators the tools they need to breathe life into their app designs. "It's very exciting seeing people from all different backgrounds trying to build solutions," says Jose Dominguez, engineer at Thunkable. "The part that I'm most proud about," says Li, "is our global users. Every day, I hear wonderful stories. For example, we recently have had people using our platform to build mobile apps to coordinate relief efforts in Ukraine. And since the pandemic, we have seen more users coming to our platform to build an app that addresses their needs for work, family, and community." Mobile phones are a transformational technology, but at the same time, there's untapped potential waiting to be exploited. Li believes Thunkable can help unleash the latent power lurking in our back pockets. "There are so many needs people could solve by using their smartphones," Li says. "But because they cannot program their phone, they become passive consumers. We want to empower them to become active creators." Modern app development with MongoDB Thunkable chose MongoDB early on because it mapped to its existing architecture; it stuck with MongoDB because it scaled when it became critical to do so. "We decided to build with MongoDB because it fits our data very naturally," Dominguez says. "We abstract our users' apps as documents, so it's a natural fit. We do a lot of writes so we needed a system to handle those kinds of loads and MongoDB was the perfect fit." Like a lot of startups, Thunkable has had to figure out how to achieve its goals with limited resources. Its engineering team consists of about four to six developers. "The engineering team has always been focused on building the product," Dominguez says. "So not having to worry about the database was a great win for us. It allowed us to iterate very fast and build new versions of the platform without having to worry about scaling the database or backups." After scaling to three million users, the Thunkable engineering team needed to rethink some of its design decisions about data. So, they talked with MongoDB engineers, courtesy of the startup program. Since then, their data storage needs have decreased while performance has improved. "Our partnership with MongoDB has been fundamental to our growth," Dominguez says. Li concurs: "As we scale, supporting more enterprise customers, we don't have to worry about database management issues. We know MongoDB will do a great job helping us as we scale." Building better together In addition to free MongoDB Atlas credits and one-on-one technical support, participants in the MongoDB for Startups program enjoy co-marketing opportunities and access to our partner network. "It's wonderful to be part of the MongoDB for Startups program," Li says. "We have all the support we need, from database management, MongoDB upgrades, and maintenance. You just go to one portal, one website. It's wonderful." MongoDB technical support has also been a life-saver for Thunkable, says Dominguez. "We had an initial call with an engineer and went through our logs. The engineer spotted a few things that we could fix right away. We were having issues with our op log — the tool that MongoDB uses to replicate to other servers — and the engineers helped get us out of those issues." The MongoDB dashboard is another tool Dominguez cites as being especially helpful. "For us, being able to log in to the dashboard and have all the functionality already there is a life saver," he says. "Not only being able to monitor the cluster, but digging into our collections and seeing if our indices are performing properly gives us tremendous insight. The integration of MongoDB and Google Cloud makes our infrastructure much easier to maintain." Future integrations Although they've scaled to millions of users, the team at Thunkable isn't finished. "This upcoming year will be a big one for Thunkable," Li says. "We're going to use our recent funding to scale up our support for enterprise, mainly for team support, collaboration, and enterprise design integration. For example, we recently integrated with Figma so you can import your Figma design into the Thunkable platform and have a functional app." "We're also currently hiring," Li adds. "We're planning to double our team within the next six months." To learn more about Thunkable or if you want to get started building your own mobile apps, check out Thunkable to get started for free . Are you part of a startup and interested in joining the MongoDB for Startups program? Apply now .
Built With MongoDB: Satori Streamlines Secure Data Access
Handling data imposes contradictory responsibilities upon organizations. On one hand, they need to protect data from unauthorized access. On the other hand, they need to extract value from data; otherwise, why collect it in the first place? The contradiction lies in the fact that to extract value from data, you have to grant access to it, but unregulated access to data can lead to its misuse. Data access service provider Satori enables organizations to accelerate their data use by simplifying and automating access policies while helping to ensure compliance with data security and privacy requirements. In addition to being a member of the MongoDB for Startups program, Satori has just added support for MongoDB workloads, so organizations running MongoDB can now take advantage of Satori's secure data access service. Balancing act Despite the immense volume of sensitive personal, financial, or health-related data within most organizations, managing access to that data is often a manual process handled by a small team struggling with other competing interests. Satori chief scientist Ben Herzberg says this task of managing data access at companies is slowing down innovation. "The majority of organizations are still managing access to data in a manual way," Herzberg says. "Everyone is feeling the bottleneck. The data analyst who wants to do their job in a meaningful way just wants to understand what data sets they can use and get access to it fast." Getting access to data can be an uphill battle, however. "Sometimes you have to go through three or four different teams to get access to data," Herzberg says. "It can take a week or two." Meanwhile, the data engineers who are primarily responsible for managing access to data are getting pulled away from their core responsibilities. "This places the company in an uncomfortable position of having time-intensive processes implemented by teams who would prefer to be working on other tasks," Herzberg says. Simple, fast, secure As a data access service, Satori streamlines access to data, accelerates time-to-value, improves engineering productivity, and reduces complexity and operational risk, all while protecting sensitive data and maintaining compliance with relevant data privacy regulations. The first job of protecting sensitive data is identifying it, but according to Satori's research , few companies have a system in place that continuously monitors for and discovers sensitive data. Organizations that do monitor sensitive data typically do so only quarterly or annually. Herzberg says Satori continuously discovers sensitive data as it's being accessed. "As one of our customers said: I want to remain continuously compliant. I want to know where my sensitive data is at all times. We do that," Herzberg says. Data users can request access to data over Slack, the Satori data portal, and through other integrations to get immediate access to data without any engineering effort, changes to infrastructure, schemas, or tables, or creating objects on the database. "When a lot of people want access to data, you need a simple, fast, and secure way to do it without exposing yourself to risk," Herzberg says. Instead of taking days or weeks to process data access requests, with Satori, it takes just minutes. Build the next big thing with MongoDB Satori chose MongoDB early on because of the inherent flexibility of the document data model. "We chose MongoDB to move quickly and without limitations," Satori software engineering manager Oleg Toubenshlak says. "We didn't know what type of data we would be storing or how we might want to extend objects, so we chose MongoDB because of the flexibility of the data model." "MongoDB is a core component of our infrastructure where we keep customer configurations," Toubenshlak says. "We started with MongoDB deployed on-prem and moved to MongoDB Atlas." Toubenshlak cites continuous backups, easy deployment, and scalability as additional Atlas capabilities he finds valuable. "MongoDB allows us to move fast with development so we can focus on other areas. It's very simple in terms of security and network access. In terms of clients, MongoDB Atlas helps us provide extended capabilities in order to map our Java objects to BSON. It's very compatible and does this very quickly. Once we moved to Atlas, all our problems were solved," he says. Toubenshlak also appreciates the help he received as a member of the startup program. "We had startup credits, and we used professional services to make sure everything was configured properly," he says. "Satori is a small cluster for MongoDB, but I'm very surprised at the time investment we've received." The company is also excited about adding MongoDB Atlas to its list of supported platforms. "Adding MongoDB support is very exciting for us," Herzberg says. "We're already working with some design partners in different industries and helping them with their deployment. It's a meaningful step for us in NoSQL databases. We're seeing a lot of traction with existing customers that want to expand their MongoDB deployments and with new customers." If you're running MongoDB and are interested in simplifying data access, visit Satori and set up a demo or test drive. Are you part of a startup and interested in joining the MongoDB for Startups program? Apply now .
Built With MongoDB: Vanta Automates Security and Compliance for Fast-Growing Businesses
Built With MongoDB: Alloy Transforms Ecommerce With No-Code Integrations
Gregg Mojica and Sara Du knew there was a need for simpler integrations with ecommerce platforms because they had experienced it themselves. After becoming friends through the open source community, they started a Shopify store as a side project and became intrigued by the multitude of apps available in the Shopify ecosystem — a large selection of integrations for things like ERP, email and social media marketing, ads, marketing analytics, and more. Mojica and Du also found that stitching together these disparate tools was overly complex and that the tools were not geared toward ecommerce. Their company, Alloy Automation , is a no-code integration solution that integrates with and automates ecommerce services, such as CRM, logistics, subscriptions, and databases. For example, Alloy can automate SMS messages to go out upon reaching fulfillment milestones. It can automatically start a workflow when an event occurs in an online store or in another app, create logic to define whether a follow-up action will be taken, and use conditions like order tags or customer location to set up automated actions that will pull and push data from connected apps. If order status is updated to paid and the total value of order is greater than $100, for example, Alloy Automation can automatically send a text message with a discount for an additional purchase. Alloy is part of the MongoDB for Startups program, and this article looks at how Alloy uses MongoDB and also benefits from the partnership to overcome startup challenges. Jobs to be done Mojica, co-founder and CTO of Alloy, sympathized with merchants that were trying to connect multistage workflows using the limited tools that were available. "A lot of merchants have relatively complex flows," he said. "They're cycling through abandoned carts, checking if certain line items are present, and setting up very aggressive rules that historically you would have to program yourself. But a lot of merchants don't have the operating budget to hire expensive engineers to set up these rules." Mojica applied the knowledge he had gained as an engineer in financial services to address the integration problems he and Du were experiencing as online merchants. Although Alloy was initially focused on solving general ecommerce problems, Mojica says he realized that the tools he was building could apply to more than just ecommerce. "Not only are we solving problems for merchants but also for software and SaaS companies," Mojica said. "Now anybody can build relatively complex automations without having engineering expertise. Alloy can templatize those things and offer them as recipes on our platform – we offer a business facing product called Alloy Embedded that allows anyone to effortlessly connect to our integrations by implementing our SDK. Businesses can get started very easily with just a few lines of code." Early stages Alloy is a Y Combinator company — part of the cohort that was scheduled to demo their products in March 2020, the very moment the world “locked down” because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It still raised $5 million in a seed round , followed by $20 million in Series A funding in February 2022. In that time, the company has expanded its platform to include more than 220 integrations, including MongoDB. Alloy is a member of the MongoDB for Startups program, which provides Atlas credits among other benefits for young companies, and it uses MongoDB Atlas as the underlying database. Mojica cites several reasons for the close partnership between the two companies. "Atlas was the database we chose from the beginning. I personally have used MongoDB before, so I have a certain comfort level, and I was the first person that wrote code in Alloy," Mojica said. "But another big reason why I wanted to use MongoDB is the freeform nature of much of the data that we ingest. We connect over 220 integrations, each one has its own schema, and it's typically in JSON. So having a less structured way to store that information compared with something highly delineated like SQL has been very valuable to us." Growing pains Mojica and Du are acutely aware of the challenges startups face, especially managing technical resources. "We like the fact that MongoDB has really good support, there's built-in monitoring, and backups,” Mojica said. “These things allow you to get going quickly. There's a lot of pressure, especially in the very beginning, to get into Y Combinator. You've got to build the product, get customers, and start your fundraise. That's a lot to do in three months. What you don't want to worry about is all the DevOps stuff." As startups begin to scale, they often become subject to compliance requirements that present new technology hurdles. Alloy went through the compliance process seamlessly thanks to the security capabilities and certifications behind MongoDB Atlas. "We're servicing larger clients and seeing different use cases," Mojica said. "The compliance process involved questions about where we're storing data and if we're in different regions. Once your company is big enough, it's a major concern. Just having SOC 2 certification and making sure we're following all the various data privacy rules is really important. We're effectively an intermediary for customer data, so compliance is really important, like when we are deleting data for GDPR requests. MongoDB Atlas helps us with that. It's SOC 2 certified, and we can deploy in any region on any of the major cloud providers. For us, that meant setting up a Network Peering Connection to our AWS VPC from Atlas. So, from a security and compliance perspective, we know that's all taken care of." Making the MongoDB connection "We added a MongoDB connector to our platform because we were hearing interest from our user base,” Mojica explained. “If you want to integrate with a series of different tools and you're also sending data to MongoDB Atlas, instead of having to build those integrations every time, Alloy already has the infrastructure. You can just connect your system, stream the data, and we handle all the architecture. Something that would normally take weeks or months now takes only a few hours. That's the power of the no-code platform." The Alloy–MongoDB integration includes bidirectional sync. "Your connection with MongoDB Atlas can go both ways,” Mojica added. “You can pull data and you can push data. You can do scheduled workflows once an hour or once a day, make a query, get some data from MongoDB, check if a record was added, and then send the data to another platform or destination. The bidirectional sync is really important, because integration really is the ability to get data, but also push data." Support for startups As a member of the MongoDB for Startups program, Alloy enjoys access to a wide range of resources, including free credits to our best-in-class developer data platform, MongoDB Atlas , and personalized technical advice, among other perks. Alloy leveraged the program from an early stage, as Mojica explained, "The credits were very helpful in the beginning, especially when you're in Y Combinator and don't have a lot of money in the bank. We recently started getting in touch for support. In fact, just knowing that we have support is very valuable." To learn more about Alloy, check out runalloy.com . Are you part of a startup and interested in joining the MongoDB for Startups program? Apply now .
The Power of Qualified Research That Companies Can Trust
Research is invaluable. Companies need research on prospective and current customers to analyze trends, evaluate purchasing decisions, and produce the best products that they can. Customers need research on what to buy, where to buy, and who to buy it from. Phonic is a research software startup with a mission to break down the barriers between quantitative and qualitative research to allow businesses to collect genuine insights at a scale that they can trust. Phonic CTO Mitch Catoen says that the pain point the company is addressing revolves around scaling. “Qualitative research is really good, and yields really good information, but it doesn’t scale quite like quantitative research does,” Catoen explains. The key, Catoen says, is that Phonic takes an analytics-first approach.“When we think about emotional intelligence, multimodal sentiment, and tag extraction, these are things that were built for our research platform, and the research platform sits on top of them. The customers of Phonic know they can trust our analytics more than any other platform,” When it came time to decide how Phonic was going to build its technology, one of the most critical pieces the company wanted was a NoSQL database. Catoen wanted Phonic to pick a NoSQL database and a document-based database because Phonic was changing schema so frequently, and did not have a rigid data model from day one. For these reasons, Catoen says that working with MongoDB Atlas was "a pretty obvious choice." The decision to go with MongoDB meant that Catoen and other company leaders could spend their valuable time thinking about the business and how to provide actual business value for their customers. “With MongoDB, we effectively leverage the entire core feature set,” Catoen says. “We run a lot of aggregation pipelines, which are super, super useful with dealing with large amounts of data. We can scale up and down with our cluster to support more, and that’s been fantastic.” Phonic’s tech stack is pretty simple in order to keep developer velocity high, Catoen says, the same motivations the team had when picking its NoSQL database. Phonic runs a React frontend, a Python backend, communicates with their MongoDB cluster, and uses RabbitMQ for event streaming. Google Cloud has been a critical part of Phonic’s success, as well, Catoen says. Phonic utilizes its cloud functions on Google Cloud, including its storage for distributed file storage, and on App Engine because of Google Cloud’s auto-scaling, especially when the company gets hit with a jump in traffic overnight. As for plans for the future, Catoen says the company is looking for a Series A round of funding and will launch an asynchronous research product. “Building up this conversation intelligence suite is going to be very important to the Phonic ecosystem going forward,” Catoen says. “We’re very excited about that.” Learn more about the MongoDB for Startups program.
Built With MongoDB: Overcoming Employee Burnout Through Pioneera
Everyone can feel burned out from time to time. Working late hours to meet that project deadline, checking your phone on the weekend for any missed Slack messages from coworkers, an endless stream of Zoom calls — workplace stress can add up quickly and does not leave much room for taking care of yourself. With so much on your plate at any given time, it can be hard to pick up on the warning signs of burnout. One Australian startup has made its mission to prevent employees from reaching burnout with software trained to pick up on those warning signs and alert you. The application, Indie , from Australian startup Pioneera , sends personalized notifications in real time, when employees need them the most. Similar to a spellchecker, Indie helps individuals, teams, and companies prevent burnout. Built With MongoDB spoke with our 2022 MongoDB Savvy Startup Innovation Award winner , Danielle Owen Whitford , who founded Pioneera in 2018. Whitford discussed how she came up with the idea, how the software works, and what the future of Pioneera holds. Built With MongoDB: What is Pioneera all about? Danielle Owen Whitford: Pioneera uses early warning indicators to help reduce workplace stress and prevent burnout in a confidential and safe way. And when we see those early warning signs, helping that person get the help they need in real time to reduce their stress, promote wellness, improve productivity — all that good stuff. Essentially we are trying to use technology to prevent mental health issues in the workplace, which are rising at an alarming rate. Where did the names Pioneera and Indie come from? Our mission is to pioneer a new era of work, and it just came out as Pioneera! As for the name Indie, it’s actually named after my daughter. Our first MVP had a different name, and we had some mixed responses to the name. I was part of SheStarts, an accelerator program in Australia, and I was talking to my fellow founders about some of the experiences I had with my daughter and how she courageously called me out on working too hard. They said, “Why don’t you call the bot Indie?” Customers and users loved it, so Indie bot was a keeper. What are some examples of common stress signals that Indie picks up? We assess language, linguistic markers, and behaviors as the three key areas. From a language point of view, we see that there are certain types of words that are used within a workplace context that are exhibitors of stress. For example, when we’re stressed in real life, we say that we’re stressed, but at work we’re more likely to say, “I feel stretched.” And that’s a word that we have built into our scoring system, which we developed with a psychologist. On the positive side, we look for words like achievement and win. We also look for behavior — how we act in the workplace, particularly around our communication systems, because that’s where Indie sits. What made you decide to start Pioneera? I burned myself out in 2016. I spent 20 years in big companies and had a whole range of senior roles, from running retail networks and call centers to large-scale transformation. It’s not like I was hidden away in the organization — I reported into the executive team and was very visible, so we all saw the signs. I loved what I did, but I didn’t see the warning signs. I left because I felt like I had no other options. In hindsight I know that I did, but at the time, I just couldn't see past where I was at. That is a classic sign of burnout. I took a bit of time off. I started looking at my former colleagues and my peers, and I realized this burnout phenomenon was happening everywhere. I used to see emails from my team that said, “Here we go again” and “I don’t want to do this anymore.” My first degree was in psychology and my second was a Masters in Communication, so I instinctively responded to that language. So if I saw it, I would call them up and ask what was going on. My teams didn’t burn out and they always delivered. But clearly nobody had seen that for me, and I missed all the signs myself, so I burned out. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could automate that for everyone?” The naivete in me thought that if Microsoft created a spell-checker, surely it can’t be that hard to create a spell-checker for stress. We know the language is there — we’ve all gotten emails from people where we know they’re having a bad day. That’s what I set out to do, to take my 20 years of experience and turn that into how I could help prevent this burnout from happening. I wanted Indie to do for the world what I had done for my colleagues. Burnout happens at an individual level, but the impacts are pretty significant — not just for that person or their family, but also for the workplace and then for society in general. We’re seeing health care costs that are through the roof, and we’re going to see long-term impacts on the next generation in terms of the ability to educate. These serious social issues are something I knew I needed to turn my attention to. In terms of employees, can you explain who has access to what information? We’re obsessed with privacy and confidentiality, and it's built into every part of the product. Everything is done in a way that protects the confidentiality and privacy of the individual. We did a lot of user testing before we started building the product, and users said that they really love this and the fact that their company would buy this for them. So it contributed to an employer value proposition. But, and it is a big but, they did not want their boss to know that they were stressed, because they thought they’d miss out on a project or HR would contact them or something like that. So that feedback has become the core of everything we do. What does the future of Pioneera look like? We’ve really upped our game on patterns of behaviors that indicate action is needed and the tips we provide to encourage action. We have partnered with expert psychologists to deliver content that is evidence- and research-based and proven to work. We’ve revolutionized our user experience to build connection and trust from the first moment a user hears about Indie. We’re looking to scale internationally with our vision for everyone globally to have Indie’s personalized, real-time support. What have you enjoyed the most about building Pioneera? It feels like there’s real meaning to what we’re doing and we’re actually making a difference in people's lives. I’ll get a call from a customer who says they were headed toward burnout and Indie stopped them. Or a call from a team manager delighted that they acted on Indie’s recommendations and their team is thriving. That sort of thing is always delightful to hear. I feel like we’re doing something positive for the world. How has working with MongoDB enabled Pioneera to succeed? The way the database is set up and structured has enabled us to focus on the things that we need to focus on, because we know MongoDB has our back. We’re a technology company building innovative technology, and we need to deliver our product to the market in a scalable, reliable way. You can run the risk of building a great technology, but it’s not actually a product that solves a problem for customers because the product features aren’t delivering value. MongoDB does technology really well, and that’s what we use it for — to make sure we’re delivering great product features and value to the customer today and tomorrow. Learn more about using Pioneera to overcome employee burnout and find out more about our MongoDB for Startups program .