​Redis Labs secures multi-million injection to help compete with MongoDB and Cassandra

New funding for the commercial Redis firm is designed to enable it to expand sales teams and increase research and development.

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CEO Ofer Bengal: It's not just technology that counts. It's also how aggressive you are on sales. Image: Redis Labs

Redis Labs says a $15m funding injection announced today will help the NoSQL database firm expand sales and marketing, as well as step up its software engineering activities.

The series B investment round, led by Bain Capital Ventures and Carmel Ventures with Silicon Valley Bank, takes the total raised by the Mountain View, California-based startup to $28m.

The open-source Redis key-value cache and store has moved into 10th spot in DB-Engines popularity rankings in the past year to become, with MongoDB and Cassandra, only one of three non-relational databases in the top 10 and the highest-placed key-value store.

The company is the largest commercial contributor to the Redis open-source project and the second largest after its creator Salvatore Sanfilippo, who has been sponsored by EMC and VMware spinoff Pivotal since 2013.

"At the end of the day we operate in the NoSQL space and today we think that Redis is among the top three NoSQL databases, along with MongoDB and Cassandra. We'd like to make it more important because of its real-time high-performance characteristics," Redis Labs co-founder and CEO Ofer Bengal said.

"If you look at the other NoSQL companies, they've raised tons of money - hundreds of millions of dollars. So it's not just technology that counts. It's also how aggressive you are on sales and marketing. To compete effectively, you need to be in a strong financial situation."

Redis Labs offers a fully-managed cloud service, Redis Cloud, as well as a downloadable version, called Redis Labs Enterprise Cluster, which is designed to act as a container for managing and running multiple Redis databases. It also provides a hosted cloud version of open-source database Memcached.

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The firm said paying customers for Redis Cloud have increased 116 percent over the past year to 4,900 and include Bleacher Report, Docker and Hotel Tonight.

"We've developed our own proprietary technology, which wraps round the open source and fixes and overcomes major limitations, especially in the areas of scalability, high availability and performance stabilisation," Bengal said.

About two-thirds of the new funding will go into building up sales and marketing operations, where development has already been under way for the past few months. The other third will be allocated to software engineering.

"We're heavily engaged with an extensive and very ambitious R&D program, with the idea of making our product a central part of the analytics world, internet of things and some other areas where we think Redis could be very useful," he said.

Another area of the Redis Labs business that will benefit from the investment is the customer support provided as part of the fully-managed Redis service.

"Customers put their databases on our servers with our technology. This is fully managed by us, so it's not just support. It's really all the DevOps work, because we completely take the burden off them. We replace the customer's DBAs and DevOps - that's also part of our service and support organisation," Bengal said.

Earlier in its existence, most Redis Labs customers consisted of firms that were using the open-source database but wanted a fully-managed service and better scalability, he said.

"Today we see more and more customers mainly in the enterprise sector where they have new projects and they evaluate several databases according to the use case of their application. When the use case calls for a high-performance database, Redis is one of the contenders. In those cases they're starting from scratch without having the open source there," he said.

Beyond the free community version of Redis, Redis Labs offer a free tier for its Redis Cloud and Redis Labs Enterprise Cluster products to enable customers to, for example, conduct proof-of-concept projects.

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