UPDATED 14:29 EDT / JANUARY 21 2016


MariaDB raises $9 million and hires two key executives

MariaDB Corp. said it raised $9 million from investors that include Intel Capital and California Technology Ventures, hired Silicon Valley veteran Michael Howard as CEO and brought the developer of its namesake relational database on board as full-time CTO.

Created by the developers of MySQL after Oracle acquired that software in its purchase of Sun Microsystems Inc. and changed the licensing terms, MariaDB has replaced MySQL in the open-source the LAMP (Linux/Apache/MariaDB/PHP/Python/Perl) stack and is used by big cloud firms like Google and Facebook. It’s also included in the cloud stacks from Pivotal Software Inc., Rackspace Inc., with Microsoft Azure.

Over the past two years Maria DB has seen “hockey stick growth,” riding the wave of open source adoption that is washing over the enterprise, Howard said. “The companies we talk to are mandating an open source database with a real development community because the volume of change and threats are so great that the proprietary guys can’t keep up,” he said. “We’re the only guys out there” in the relational market.

The company will use the new funding to shift its core presence from Finland to Silicon Valley, build awareness and hire more engineers. MariaDB gives away a community version of its software and makes money selling other versions with enterprise features.

A veteran of the Greenplum division of EMC, as well as other database household names like Oracle and Information Builders Inc., Howard most recently ran data analytics firm C9 Inc. which was acquired by InsideSales.com Inc. last spring. “My experiential footprint is highly relevant to taking MariaDB to the next step,” Howard said. “Every company I’ve worked at has been a database play, even in security.”

Monty WideniusAlthough not as well-known as its now-Oracle-owned predecessor, MariaDB has amassed a base of 9 million users in more than 45 countries with little marketing. The current cash infusion, and another big around that Howard hinted is likely to come later this year, will be applied to spreading the word. “There’s been very little budget for marketing, if you can even call it a budget,” he said.

The hiring of Michael “Monty” Widenius (right) as chief technology officer is also significant, since Widenius is also principal developer of both MySQL and MariaDB. He’s expected to put an important stamp of legitimacy on the company as the principal curator of the technology.

Howard said his priorities for the coming twelve months are to accelerate growth, create a distinctive road map and even make some acquisitions.

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