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Realm, a startup that has devised an increasingly popular database for holding and delivering data on mobile devices, is announcing today that it’s taken on a $20 million round of new funding.
Realm is still a young piece of underlying technology, having launched publicly less than nine months ago. But the startup claims that its database is already the second most deployed database in the world, as it’s installed on more than 100 million devices. Companies like BuzzFeed, Expensify, Groupon, Intuit, and Rite Aid are using the database.
Basically, it’s popping up very quickly, often because of its speed and simplicity relative to older options, like SQLite for Android devices and Core Data for iOS.
And as a result, there isn’t really a perfect sort of use case for Realm’s mobile database. It can do a lot.
“We really see everything,” Tim Anglade, Realm’s vice president of product, told VentureBeat in an interview. “People are using us as their default data layer, their default data model for any sort of app at any scale.”
Anglade, Realm’s founders — longtime friends and former Nokia developers Alexander Stigsen and Bjarne Christiansen — and the rest of the team want to see the Realm database become the next big technology for developers.
They think Realm could be in for the sort of fast growth and adoption that startup Docker has experienced with its container technology for packaging up application code. Giants like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and VMware have all partnered with Docker in the past several months.
“In our optimistic mind, we think of ourselves as being right before all the OS [operating system] grandmasters jump on the bandwagon,” Realm cofounder and chief executive Stigsen told VentureBeat.
But the comparison isn’t completely apropos, as the heart of Realm’s technology isn’t currently available under an open-source project. The TightDB storage engine is still proprietary, although the Realm team does plan to open-source it. Realm for the Cocoa framework and Realm for Java are both available on GitHub under the Apache 2.0 license.
Meanwhile, Realm is looking to provide an excellent database for mobile devices running Windows. “We’re very much looking at doing something in the .NET world,” Stigsen said.
Realm started in 2011 and is based in San Francisco, California. The startup went through Y Combinator in summer 2011. Today, 21 people work for the startup. To date, Realm has raised $29 million.
Khosla Ventures led Realm’s new round of funding. Scale Venture Partners also participated.
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