Couchbase Rides Big Data Demand to $60 Million in Funding

Couchbase Inc., which helps companies manage data, raised $60 million in a funding round that almost doubled the amount it had received from investors.

The round was led by Accel Partners and WestSummit Capital and brought total financing to $115 million, according to Chief Executive Officer Bob Wiederhold. Couchbase is valued at under $1 billion, he said, declining to be more specific.

While the Mountain View, California-based startup has begun planning for an initial public offering, “we’re in no rush to do that,” Wiederhold said in an interview. “These days you can raise large amounts of money from private investors.”

The so-called big data market is expected to more than double by 2017 from $12.6 billion last year, according to research firm IDC, as digital information continues to accumulate and demand rises for systems to store and access it. Couchbase is one of the relative newcomers to the industry, competing with Oracle Corp., International Business Machines Corp. and others.

Those older rivals have “dominated the last 40 years or so,” Wiederhold said. “We think as a result of a move to cloud computing and big data that the database industry is being disrupted in a significant way.”

The market for the alternative systems that startups like Couchbase and New York-based MongoDB Inc. offer grew 8.2 percent to $4.2 billion in 2013 from the previous year and could increase to about $5.1 billion in 2018, according to IDC.

Open-Source System

Information management and analysis has drawn recent investor interest, with Cloudera Inc., which distributes and supports open-source data processing software, raising $900 million in March from Intel Corp. and others. Intel also invested in MongoDB, which raised $150 million last October from a group that also included Inc.

Founded in 2009, Couchbase operates an open-source database system. The community editions of its software and mobile application are free; customers pay annual fees for what’s called the enterprise version, which comes with software updates and product support. The standard subscription costs $2,700 and entitles customers to help during business hours, while the premium subscription, at $5,000, comes with around-the-clock support, according to Couchbase’s website.

More than 400 companies, including Verizon Communications Inc. and Concur Technologies Inc., use Couchbase’s system. They chose it because it can be easily expanded to accommodate more users and more data in a short period of time, said Paul Santinelli, a Couchbase director and a partner at North Bridge Venture Partners LP, one of the startup’s first institutional investors. “We chose scale first and ease of use over time and that’s what enabled us to be as successful as we are.”

All previous investors participated in the round, the company said, with Accel and WestSummit putting money in for the first time. Couchbase will spend the $60 million on product development and distribution centers, according to Wiederhold.

As for the possible initial public offering, he said, “we think that the market is absolutely big enough.”

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