NoSQL Pioneer Basho Scores $25M To Attempt A Comeback

Basho was once a rising star in the NoSQL space, but over time other vendors began to move in, and it lost a step or two — then came a big turnover of key personnel last year. With the company ready to start anew, CEO Adam Wray says a new $25M cash infusion should help get Basho moving.

Private equity firm Georgetown Partners, a previous investor, is supplying the Series G funding, but Wray says he hopes to bring in some west coast investors later this year as well. Prior to this round, Basho had raised $32.5M over five rounds with the latest coming back in July, 2012 for $11.5M. The latest round brings the total raised to-date to $57.5M, which is still a drop in the bucket compared to their well-funded competitors.

Basho’s products include the Riak database and the Riak CS cloud storage.

Wray, who was a founder and CEO at Tier 3, a company that was sold to CenturyLink in 2013, says Basho might have lost some of its luster along the way, but it was once a thought leader in the NoSQL space. As it grew, he admitted the early executives did a poor job of articulating a vision or building mindshare among developers, something that’s key in this space.

Back in 2008 when it launched, there weren’t that many NoSQL vendors to compete with Basho, but over the years the company seemed to lose its mojo and other vendors like Couchbase, MongoDB and DataStax came along to fill the void and grab the bulk of the funding. Hadoop also began to chip away at the company.

It’s worth noting that just last week, MongoDB received a whopping $80M in additional funding, and this comes on the heels of $150M in funding October, 2013 for a total of $311M to-date. Couchbase has received $116M in funding to-date and DataStax, almost $190M. So there is some serious cash being pumped into this market.

It all came to a head for Basho last year when executives began rushing for the exits with their CEO, CTO and chief architect all leaving in a short period. That’s when the company brought in veteran executives like Wray as CEO and Dave McCrory as CTO, whose past gigs included SVP of engineering at Warner Music Group and cloud architect jobs at VMware and Dell.

With these changes, Wray says the company began to find its footing again.

Today, they’ve got some high-profile customers like AT&T, Verizon and The Weather Company, whose properties include The Weather Channel and The Weather Underground. And the company has been shipping new product and seeing some results, reporting an impressive 88 percent growth in bookings between the second half of 2013 and the second half of 2014.

Wray has been around the block a few times with technology companies. In addition to Tier 3, he has worked for Amazon and Akamai. He came on board because he saw potential. He liked the fact the company was based on an open source product with an active community. And he believes he has begun taking steps to build the company back up.

“What’s exciting,” he said “is we aren’t a niche play. We are a platform play driving simplifcation. If we play this right in theory and we can go to public markets.”

He said, he’s not predicting this will happen, but he believes it’s possible if they keep on the current trajectory. For now, Basho needs to play catch-up with the other players in this space (and with Hadoop vendors), most of whom have much better funding at this point.

The company was originally launched in Cambridge, Mass., and while the 100+ employees today are a geographically dispersed group, its headquarters is now in Bellevue, Wash.