In this big-data era, the database business is hot. Companies have been willing to try out new technologies to store and analyze large data sets.
Companies that seek high performance but don’t want to learn a whole new query language to use a newfangled database could turn to MemSQL, among others. The company targets real-time analytics. That could mean, for example, identifying the right ads to display to consumers based on the things they click on.
The technology appears to be hitting its stride, as MemSQL today announced $35 million in new funding, with Accel Partners and Khosla Ventures signing on beside previous investors Data Collective and First Round Capital.
To date San Francisco-based MemSQL has raised $45.2 million, including a $5 million round the company announced in June 2012. Almost 40 people work for MemSQL.
The new money will go toward bringing in more sales and further developing the database, chief executive and a cofounder Eric Frenkiel told VentureBeat in an interview.
Frenkiel and Nikita Shamgunov started the company in 2011 after working as engineers at Facebook, where scores of business analysts use SQL queries to understand trends about users of the social network. But very few companies have the money to employ teams of engineers to expand databases the way Facebook does, which is what gave rise to MemSQL.
By accepting standard SQL database queries, MemSQL complies with the common skill sets of business analysts. And last year the company announced that it had added support for analysis of data stored inside the JSON data format, which has historically been the domain of NoSQL databases such as Couchbase and MongoDB.
And by storing data inside the RAM on many physical servers, MemSQL lets you access data very quickly. The data later gets backed up on disk drives so as to ensure it sticks around in the long run.
MemSQL has dozens of customers, including Comcast, Shutterstock, Ziff Davis, and Zynga.
Frenkiel sees competition from SAP with its HANA in-memory database; the VoltDB SQL database; and Oracle with its Exadata hardware that pairs with Oracle database software. And in the advertising technology industry in particular, Aerospike also registers on competitive radar, said Frenkiel, who was included in a 2012 VentureBeat post from my colleague Christina Farr about young entrepreneurs taking on the enterprise space.
Frenkiel calls MemSQL “future proof,” in the sense that all companies have to do to increase capacity is just add low-cost physical servers to their clusters. They don’t need to buy special-purpose hardware in order to allow for growth. Now, with some more money to spend on closing sales deals, MemSQL should be able to tell that story far more often.