MariaDB ditches products and staff in restructure, bags $26.5M loan to cushion fall

Strategic DBaaS and distributed back end jettisoned after years of promotion

MariaDB is ditching strategic products and cutting 28 percent of the workforce as it struggles to overcome the financial challenges its faced since floating on the stock market. The company also announced access to a new $26.5 million loan facility.

In a US Securities and Exchange Commission notice published yesterday [PDF], the database company - born out of open source MySQL - said it would stop selling its database-as-a-service SkySQL and Xpand, its globally distributed database back end for the DBaaS.

SkySQL was launched to rival RDBMS services from cloud vendors such as Google, Microsoft, and AWS. It was released in 2020.

In 2021, MariaDB added the Xpand distributed backend to SkySQL and in May this year it offered a PostgreSQL compatible front end to the service. The company won praise from analysts for the engineering behind the products.

MariaDB will be forced to explain to customers why it went to such efforts to convince them to buy these products, only to discontinue them.

"As part of the [restructuring] plan, the company will focus its attention on its core MariaDB Enterprise Server database product," the statement said. "Products not related to the core MariaDB Enterprise Server business, including SkySQL and Xpand, will no longer be sold and the Company has implemented a plan to help existing customers migrate off these products."

Among those hit will be consumer electronics giant Samsung [PDF], which uses 50 Xpand nodes that operate as a single database, sustaining tens of billions of transactions per day to help Samsung customers manage devices and user profiles.

The plan also includes the loss of 84 jobs or about 28 percent of the workforce to reduce operating costs. Among those to lose their jobs is chief marketing officer Franz Aman. Around 13 employees are expected to be provided transition packages that will ensure they offer some services through the year.

In a statement, MariaDB said the product cull and job losses were part of a board-approved restructuring plan in response to financial stresses that began to emerge earlier this year.

In April, the company cut 26 jobs and repeated a "going concern" warning to investors. Among the issues was the search for finance after a shaky IPO. "We are currently seeking additional capital to meet our projected working capital, operating, and debt repayment needs for periods after September 30, 2023," it said in March.

In August, MariaDB said it was in talks with a large commercial bank and changed CEO.

Earlier this week, the company also announced a new finance package [PDF]. RP Ventures has agreed to a $26.5 million "senior secured promissory note" – a form of credit agreement – at an interest rate of 10 percent per annum.

The facility will be used to pay off a European Investment Bank loan, with a maturity date of October 11, 2023.

The new VC loan has a maturity date to a maximum of January 10, 2024. Until then MariaDB is restricted from pursuing mergers or recapitalization. In September, Runa Capital made an unsolicited bid for MariaDB. ®

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