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MongoDB slurps $150m in mammoth funding round

$1.2bn valuation makes NoSQL database worth more than MySQL

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Database upstart MongoDB has slurped $150m of filthy valley lucre to fund development of the NoSQL database in a sector dominated by the lumbering giants of Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft.

The huge funding round was announced on Friday. Salesforce*, EMC and Altimeter Capital participated, along with existing investors Intel Capital, NEA, Red Hat, and Sequoia Capital.

MongoDB is a non-relational document-oriented database that has seen widespread developer uptake by young startups and (some) enterprises.

It has high availability through replicated servers with automatic master failover, automatic sharding for load balancing, and server-side JavaScript execution for built-in MapReduce querying.

With this round, the company has taken in $231m of funding to date. The deal values the company at $1.2bn, according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke to El Reg but wished to remain anonymous.

By comparison, Sun paid $1bn for relational database MySQL in 2008, at a time when MySQL was far more established – it claimed 50,000 copies of the database a day were being downloaded versus MongoDB's claim of 5m downloads over its multi-year lifetime. Based on conversations with sources familiar with the company we also believe MySQL was making significantly more money at the time of its acquisition than MongoDB made in 2012.

We asked MongoDB chief Max Schireson what he made of the whopping valuation, and without confirming the number he said: "If you look at a lot of public companies from Workday to Splunk to Tableu that are growing quickly I think people are valuing those companies on the public market based on the market size, the leadership, and the growth rates".

The gist is that MongoDB is growing like a weed, and the big money should come later. So why does the company even need $150m?

"We're competing with products that have over 30 yrs of development in them [they are] extremely mature, extremely feature rich," Schireson explained.

The company will use the funding to work on its query optimizer, enhance security and auditing, add more to the storage engine and try to implement multi-statement transactions within the same shard. It is also investigating adding in an eventual consistency approach for writing concurrent updates in multiple data centers.

"We would like to build a general purpose document oriented database," Schireson says, and points to recent partnerships with IBM for DB2 compatibility and Azure for MongoDB in the cloud as examples of how the company is spreading its tendrils throughout the industry. ®

* Salesforce said in June that it would use Oracle's software and hardware across its products. This investment shows that Benioff & Co are hedging that bet.

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