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Cloud database company MongoDB is the latest technology giant to enter the venture capital realm, with the launch of a new fund focused squarely on developer-friendly data infrastructure technologies.

The move follows countless other companies that have launched investment vehicles over the past decade or so, from heavyweights such as Google, Microsoft, and Salesforce, to a newer wave of organizations such as Slack which has invested in dozens of startups in recent years via Slack Fund. And in the past couple of months, the likes of Twilio and Delivery Hero have introduced dedicated VC funds to support their respective ecosystems.

For MongoDB, the $26 billion company behind the popular NoSQL database, the aim with MongoDB Ventures is to “foster and accelerate the rate of disruption” across the data spectrum.

“We are living in a period of unprecedented change in data infrastructure, driven by megatrends of digital transformation, cloud, mobile, and edge computing,” Serge Tanjga, the SVP of finance at MongoDB, told VentureBeat. “Companies in every industry are under incredible pressure to innovate but are held back by legacy technologies and the state of their data. Through MongoDB Ventures, we are looking to invest in founders who share our passion for pioneering how businesses use data to build growth opportunities and create amazing digital experiences.”

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What’s the BigID?

To kickstart its endeavors, MongoDB Ventures has confirmed two of its inaugural investments, though they actually predate today’s formal fund launch by quite some time. Indeed, it transpires that MongoDB Ventures participated in BigID‘s $100 million series D funding round, which was first announced in late 2020 and closed off four months later. Companies use BigID to secure customer and employee data, while helping them to comply with data privacy regulations.

More recently, MongoDB Ventures invested in Apollo‘s $130 million series D round. Apollo is the commercial and open source GraphQL platform that serves as the data graph layer connecting apps to the cloud. This particular investment makes particular sense, given that MongoDB and Apollo have had an existing partnership in place for a number of years already.

“Through product integrations, we have made it easier for developers looking to use GraphQL for querying and mutating documents directly in the MongoDB Atlas platform,” Tanjga explained. “Following our investment, we will be working to up-level the partnership and improve our product integration.”

In some ways, MongoDB Ventures feels more like an informal investment vehicle, insofar as it is not a standalone institutional fund — but this is very much by design, given that the objective extends beyond purely investing.

“MongoDB Ventures is both strategic and financial, and a standalone structure wouldn’t properly align incentives,” Tanjga said. “We intend to work closely with our portfolio companies and divert resources to grow those relationships. In addition to investing, MongoDB Ventures will pair entrepreneurs with MongoDB executive mentors, support product and go-to-market initiatives, and provide exposure to partners and customers.”

Moreover, MongoDB Ventures is unusual in that it is not publicly disclosing the size of its fund — most VC funds, whether they are attached to a corporate entity or not, proactively quantify their investment ambitions. But again, Tanjga said that this is a very deliberate play, given that it doesn’t want to be seen purely as a VC fund.

“We have chosen not to disclose the size of our initial commitment to the [MongoDB] ventures effort because we think that money is only a part of the equation,” he said. “…we believe most corporate vendors that jump into VC efforts don’t go far enough to support their portfolio investments and, in our opinion, are missing out on a key benefit they can bring to their portfolio. Unlike other corporate investment arms, we’re focused on enabling innovators who want to make it easier to work with data with the right capital investment — which include financial capital as well as domain expertise.”

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