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Hitting the mother-node: TigerGraph devours $105m funding in Series C round

Everyone wants to be the 'Snowflake of X' – in this case, the graph DB world

Graph database purveyor TigerGraph has announced £105m in funding to add to the $65m stash already raised.

The Series C round makes it the biggest investment to date in the graph database and analytics market, the vendor said.

The claim comes with a caveat that graph databases make up a pretty small market. As a whole, the segment might be worth $651m, or 1.4 per cent of the $46bn total database market value.

Nonetheless, there may be some truth to the claim in that rival vendor Neo4j, whose own open-source graph database ranks higher than TigerGraph on db-engines, announced $80m in funding in 2018.

TigerGraph is a proprietary database that the company says was built to be distributed in the cloud. Neo4j has recently acquired a DBaaS edition, and there are those doubting its adaption to the cloud architecture.

Both systems are designed to store and aid the analysis of data in networks of relationships, rather than the columns and rows of RDBMSes. The approach makes it adept at use cases in supply chain analytics, fraud prevention, and consumer recommendation engines. For what it's worth, the concept has Gartner's kiss of death backing.

"By 2023, graph technologies will facilitate rapid contextualization for decision making in 30 per cent of organizations worldwide," according to Mark Beyer, distinguished veep analyst with the global number cruncher.

TigerGraph CEO Yu Xu told The Register that the time was right to pile up the cash to try to keep growing.

"Our customers in banking, for example, have been very demanding of rigorous QC testing, requiring enterprise security compliance and access control," he said. "I think we won against other vendors or products in the market. It just makes sense for us to raise a huge amount to scale our team, to scale business, to dominate the market and grow more quickly."

The new money would go into partnerships with OEMs for hardware-optimised systems, consultancy partnerships and general sales and marketing, as well as product development, he added.

Claiming UnitedHealth Group, Jaguar Land Rover, Intuit, Intel, Xilinx, and Accenture among its customers, TigerGraph's last upgrade was in March 2020 when its 3.0 iteration offered a Visual Query Builder to non-technical users to create and deploy queries by drawing shapes or patterns they want in the same sense as visual data modelling.

In an effort to gather data scientists around a standard query language for graph databases, TigerGraph is on the steering committee for the development of the Graph Query Language (GQL) standard, which is also backed by Oracle and Neo4j, and promises to support the standard once it is released.

TigerGraph refused to state valuation implied by its new investment, but wants to be seen among the on-trend, cloud-ready database and analytics vendors including Databricks and Snowflake. The latter achieved $100m funding in 2017, a $263m funding round in 2018, and was worth £120bn after its IPO late last year. TigerGraph has a long way to go before it can prove it is on that kind of trajectory. ®

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