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NuoDB slurps European cash for database expansion

Jim Starkey's database co surfs Valley Lucre wave

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Database pioneer Jim Starkey's latest venture NuoDB got another stamp of approval today as his upstart announced a new funding round led by European IT powerhouse Dassault Systèmes.

The $14.2m bonanza was announced on Wednesday and will let NuoDB invest more in sales and marketing to help push its distributed-yet-reliable technology. The funding round roped in existing investors Morgenthaler Ventures, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, and Longworth Venture Partners, along with Dassault Systems.

NuoDB was founded by Starkey, a respected figure within the database industry, and chief executive Barry Morris. The company has now slurped $26.2m in investment.

NuoDB's technology is a relational distributed database that is designed to have strong consistency and reliable performance (it claims ACID compliance) when running on large amounts of servers. It uses a "Durable Distributed Cache" architecture that treats the database "as a set of in-memory container objects that can overflow to disk if necessary and can be retained in backing stores for durability purposes."

Though the company makes a variety of promises around its technology that can be summarized as our system provides you with endless cake which you are allowed to eat, it has come in for criticism from users. One developer said creating a NuoDB cluster was "more difficult than I anticipated," and identified some bugs which were subsequently fixed by NuoDB.

"We went live with our 1.0 product early last year," NuoDB chief Barry Morris told El Reg. "We spent 2013 hardening the product and working with early customers [...] this year is really much more of the invest in sales and marketing and invest in growth."

The company managed to close several "seven-figure deals" within 2013, but is taking the VC and corporate cash to help it grow faster, Morris said.

Venture capital firms tend to adopt a blunderbuss approach to investing, choosing to pepper a large number of startups with cash and hoping a few cross the arid plains of product development hell to attain profitability. Companies, by comparison, tend to be more strategic with their investment, and so for this reason Dassault Systèmes' backing of the company is significant.

Its support could help NuoDB make inroads to some of CAD-specialist Dassault Systemes' customers, which include companies such as Blue Sky Solar Racing, HCL Technologies, Fujitsu, Airbus, and others. As any seasoned database professional knows, once information flows into a DBMS it stays there – we imagine NuoDB is preemptively rubbing its hands with glee. ®

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