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Database company Cockroach Labs more than doubles in value to $5bn

'Cloud-native' outfit munches up $278m in new funding

Cockroach Labs, the unfortunately named firm behind the distributed RDBMS CockroachDB, is ending the year as it began – with a massive inhalation of investor cash.

Merely a twinkle in the eye of Google engineers a decade ago, the self-proclaimed cloud-native distributed SQL database biz has hit a nominal $5bn valuation with a $278m funding round.

Series F was led by Greenoaks with participation from Altimeter, BOND, Benchmark, Coatue, FirstMark, GV, Index Ventures, Lone Pine Capital, Redpoint, and Tiger Global. It brings Cockroach Labs' total funding to date to $633m.

With customers including Comcast, eBay, and Nubank, Cockroach Labs has tripled its annual recurring revenue in the last year, seeing a 500 per cent growth in cloud revenue in the last quarter as customers shifted spending to the transactional database-as-a-service.

This is what Cockroach Labs claimed anyway, since it is not required to present audited figures in the same way as listed companies.

In January, Cockroach Labs accrued a $160m funding round and hit a $2bn valuation. Quite what it has done to deserve a $3bn hike in valuation is up for debate, but weary industry-watchers with long memories may feel a tingling of déjà vu. In 2020, Snowflake dazzled the market with its "cloud-native" approach and saw its nominal value explode from around $12bn to $120bn. At the beginning of 2018, it was worth $1.5bn.

Speaking to The Register earlier this year, Cockroach Labs CEO and co-founder Spencer Kimball said the database was built from the ground up on a node-based architecture, which enables automatic scaling for both reads and writes with no more manual sharding, helping it survive the failure of a node, a rack, a data centre, or even an entire region with no service disruption.

In November, Cockroach Labs announced CockroachDB 21.2, which it said would offer improved integration with a distributed stack, better developer experience, and easier ops at scale.

Earlier this year, Peter Zaitsev, CEO at Percona, a database-independent open-source service partner, said CockroachDB was good for new application development and migrations where significant application changes may be required. But MariaDB, for example, was more popular for taking existing MySQL instances to the cloud, he added. ®

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