MongoDB, a database software company based in New York, has filed to go public with the Securities and Exchange Commission as it continues to burn a ton of cash despite its revenue almost doubling year-over-year.
The company, which provides open-source database software that became very attractive among early-stage startups, is one of a myriad of companies that have sought to go public by building a business around selling sophisticated tools for that software. The hope is that MongoDB would be able to offer a superior experience for its open-source software and reduce the overall workload for companies that want to deploy its technology. Cloudera also went public earlier this year.
The company brought in $101.4 million in revenue in the most recent year ending January 31, and around $68 million in the first six months ending July 31 this year. In that same period, MongoDB burned through $86.7 million in the year ending January 31 and $45.8 million in the first six months ending July 31. MongoDB’s revenue is growing, and while its losses seem to be stable, they aren’t shrinking either.
In 2015, the company brought in $65.3 million in revenue on losses of $73.5 million. Last year’s loss is a step up, but it isn’t a significant one — nor is it the same kind of accelerating burn that you’d see in a company looking to ramp up as it sets itself up to go public. The company’s losses in the first six months of this year are about the same as last year’s.
TechCrunch reported in August that MongoDB had confidentially filed to go public, taking advantage of a provision of the JOBS act that allows companies to submit filings and wait until 15 days before the investor roadshow before unveiling their financials. It’s one of the several companies that appear primed to go public in the back half of the year, with Stitch Fix also filing confidentially with the SEC to go public.
The majority of MongoDB’s revenue comes from its subscription arm, though both its subscription and services revenue streams are growing. But amid that growth, MongoDB still needs capital to ramp up its operations — which means that going public at around this time might make sense since the so-called “IPO window” is open and companies are looking to get out the door. MongoDB has indicated in the filing that it wants to raise as up to $100 million, but that’s typically a placeholder and will change in the future.
A successful IPO for MongoDB will be another big win for Sequoia, which owns 16.9% of the company. Co-founder Dwight Merriman still owns 7.8% of the company, with other investors including Flybridge Capital, Union Square Ventures and New Enterprise Associates. Here’s the full cap table:
MongoDB says that people have downloaded its Community Server “freemium” offering more than 30 million times, and that seems to have been growing pretty consistently over the past several years:
That “freemium” version is what is supposed to get developers and startups excited about the technology and get their hands on it immediately. It includes the kind of core functionality developers might need to get off the ground, but it doesn’t include the full suite of tools that its subscription enterprise-grade products do. After getting it up and running, the hope would be to convert those freemium users into enterprise-grade customers that are willing to pay MongoDB for additional services.
Given that it’s open-source software, it still poses a risk to MongoDB that those users might not convert to customers — and even may end up converting into competitors. The company acknowledges this in its risk factors:
“Anyone can obtain a free copy of Community Server from the Internet, and we do not know who all of our AGPL licensees are. Competitors could develop modifications of our software to compete with us in the marketplace. We do not have visibility into how our software is being used by licensees, so our ability to detect violations of the AGPL is extremely limited.”
This is one of the first steps in the company going public. MongoDB will now go on its roadshow to pitch potential investors on the company ahead of its public listing, and over time we’ll get a better sense of how much money the company wants to raise and where it is valuing itself.