Neo Technology closes $36 million in funding as graph database adoption soars

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The investment community has taken note of Neo Technology Inc.’s rapid rise in the database market.

Greenbridge Partners Ltd, a venture capital firm co-owned by Swedish billionaire Melker Schorling, led a $36 million financing round into the startup today with support from three of its existing institutional backers. Neo will use the new funds to enhance its open-source graph database, Neo4j, which recently passed 2.5 million downloads on the back of strong developer demand.

Software teams mainly use the system to hold unstructured information such as social media content that contains intertwined data points with important connections to one another. Tweets, for instance, often cite other posts or mention users who are relevant to the discussion. Thanks to its graph-based architecture, Neo4j can natively store these relationships alongside the records they describe without the large amounts of custom code that traditional systems require to provide similar functionality. This in turn enables certain analytic queries to run much much more efficiently, and by extension faster, than they could otherwise.

Neo4j isn’t the only graph database out there, but it has managed to distinguish itself with a broad set of value-added features. The system implements the ACID reliability standard that many mission-critical workloads require, sports an ultra-fast data access mechanism called Bolt and recently received new security controls. On top of broadening this functionality even further, Neo will also use the capital from today’s round to scale its business operations.

The startup plans to place a particular emphasis on expanding marketing efforts, growing its salesforce and acquiring new partners. The goal of the push is drive more demand for its commercial version of Neo4j, which is already used by over 200 organizations including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and other top brands. Neo’s distribution provides advanced features such as a hot backup mechanism that are geared towards large deployments with rigorous reliability requirements.

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