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10gen bags another $42m for MongoDB roadmap

NoSQL, plenty 'o cash

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10gen, the commercial entity behind the open source MongoDB NoSQL data store, has just had its coffers stuffed with cash so it can rev up the software engineers and accelerate its product roadmap.

The company, which has dual headquarters in New York and Palo Alto, has secured $42m in Series E funding from venture capitalists New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Sequoia Capital, Flybridge Capital Partners, and Union Square Ventures. NEA is new this time around and is leading the funding, hoping to cash in on the rising popularity of MongoDB as the storage layer in big data projects.

10gen was founded in 2007 by Dwight Merriman, an engineer for Google's DoubleClick ad serving engine, and Eliot Horowith, founder and CTO at ShopWiki, and they originally had the idea of creating a platform cloud but ended up creating an open source NoSQL database and a commercial company to provide support for it instead.

The company has a freebie and cloud-based monitoring service for MongoDB (launched last September), which has over 5,000 users, and according to 10gen president Max Schireson the company now has over 500 customers using MongoDB in production and paying 10gen for support contracts for the NoSQL data store.

The company has raised $73.4m in five rounds of funding now, and the odds are that it will either soon be eaten or will try to do an IPO once the ripples from Facebook's going public settle down. It is hard to reckon what 10gen might be worth – there is some chatter about it being worth $550m to $600m over at Business Insider, where Merriman is also a co-founder.

Maybe this number is being floated to attract only serious buyers. Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Dell could all use a NoSQL database. Oracle has BerkeleyDB already and would presumably not be interested in MongoDB. Anyone thinking about buying 10gen would probably also be looking at DataStax, which as commercialized the open source Apache Cassandra NoSQL database championed by Facebook. CouchBase, Redis, and Riak are also contenders in this area, but based on job counts and LinkedIn member skills, MongoDB is the big winner.

MongoDB versus other NoSQL skills

MongoDB versus other NoSQL skills (click to enlarge)

Schireson tells El Reg that most of those 500 customers have signed support contracts in the past two years, and that MongoDB's traditional internet customers like Foursquare, Shutterfly, Craigslist, and eBay, are being augmented by big data projects at companies such as Disney, Viacom, Telefonica, the governments of the US, UK, and India, and several unnamed financial services giants.

The revenue ramp has been steep, with sales growing by more than 50 per cent sequentially in each of the past five quarters. The launch of the MongoDB monitoring service has obviously been part of the ramp, but so has the dissatisfaction with the HDFS data store at the heart of Hadoop.

A little more than a year ago, Schireson joined 10gen from MarkLogic (another provider of a big data store) and at the time the company had 20 employees. The firm is now up to 130 and Schireson expects it to hit 200 staff before the year comes to a close. And most of these people will be software engineers, and that is where 10gen plans to spend that $42m.

"The sales and marketing pays for itself," says Schireson. "The big focus now is to make MongoDB better. We have a long-term roadmap for MongoDB that we will be able to get through faster."

The company plans to keep its dual headquarters, and says that it is having no trouble finding good software engineers in New York and that this can be an attractive benefit to some coders who, for whatever reason, don't want to live in Silicon Valley.

Schireson says that there are a lot of good software engineers who want to work for a cutting-edge tech firm but who also want to be in New York City, and moreover, some of the employees working from the San Francisco Bay Area are happy to know they can do a stint in the Big Apple if they want to. ®

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