App fashions will come and go, but databases will always be one of the most fundamental parts of software development. Redis Labs investors are betting $60 million in new funding will jump-start the company’s already popular database amid a new era of experimentation with open-source licenses.
Francisco Partners is leading a Series E round in the Silicon Valley company, and Chief Investment Officer David Golob will be joining the board, Redis plans to announce Tuesday. Existing investors Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing, Bain Capital Ventures, Viola Ventures and Dell Technologies Capital all participated in the new round, which brings the total amount of funding in the company to $146 million.
Redis’ in-memory database is designed for developers that need real-time performance and extremely low latency in their applications. In a survey conducted by Stack Overflow, Redis ranked as the 6th most-popular database in both hobbyist and professional use during 2018, and the company counts major companies like American Express, Home Depot, and Microsoft among its customers.
“(Redis is the) only database in the world that can process tens of millions of transactions per second with average latency of less than one millisecond,” said Ofer Bengal, co-founder and CEO of Redis, in an interview with GeekWire.
But in 2018, Redis was perhaps best known as one of the first companies to change the parameters of its open-source activity in response to the growing pressures on open-source projects brought on by the cloud computing era. A small but growing number of enterprise startups are very concerned about the ability of cloud providers to take open-source projects and offer them as revenue-generating cloud services without contributing anything — financial or otherwise — to the development and maintenance of that project.
“As you know, the initial reaction was mixed,” Bengal said, in a bit of an understatement. “Over time, I think people realize that something needs to be done. And that was definitely strengthened by the fact that a few other companies (MongoDB and Confluent) followed us,” he said.
Francisco Partners’ Golob thinks that given its complexity and importance, the database market is more receptive to these kinds of changes than other partners of the enterprise software market. “It’s an area where you just need that enterprise grade support, and I think the licensing models are evolving to reflect that,” he said in an interview.
Like most companies with fresh cash in the bank, Redis plans to increase hiring during 2019, aiming to grow headcount by 50 percent across its major offices in Mountain View, Calif., and Israel. The company is not yet cash-flow positive but thinks it can get over that hump with additional sales and marketing talent, Bengal said.