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Crate raises $4M seed round for its next-gen SQL database

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Crate, the winner of our TechCrunch Disrupt Europe startup Battlefield in 2014, today announced that it has raised a $4 million seed round for its open-source SQL database technology.

The round was led by London-based Dawn Capital, which was joined by existing investors Sunstone Capital, DFJ Esprit and Speedinvest. In addition to these, Docker creator and CTO Solomon Hykes also participated in this round.

“Crate’s simplicity and masterless architecture make it a perfect match for containerized environments,” Hykes said in today’s announcement. “I expect to see it widely deployed as more developers adopt the new microservices paradigm.”

As Crate CEO and co-founder Christian Lutz told me, the company plans to use this additional funding to expand its presence in Silicon Valley. While Crate’s core engineering group will remain in Europe, the company plans to position more pre-sales engineers and other staff in the U.S. to help its growing customer base there.

Lutz says that Crate plans to raise a Series A round later this year and this new round will allow it to build the basis for that.

“The biggest challenge for a young database company is to gain trust and credibility,” Lutz noted. Over the course of the last year or so, Crate managed to gain a number of high-profile customers in Silicon Valley. The company can’t disclose most of these, but Lutz was able to disclose that security firms Skyhigh Networks recently made the switch to Crate and that the company now powers Skyhigh’s database cluster, which stores billions of security events.

Looking ahead, Lutz tells me that the company plans to soon launch its first enterprise products, including support for data center replication, outside of Crate’s open source core.

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