# MongoLab explains why everyone loves MongoDB (and raises $5M) If you’re going to launch a startup targeting application developers, it helps to know developers. That means knowing the tools they want to use, the features they require and, most importantly, the little things that will get them to open their checkbooks and pay (or convince their bosses to do so) rather than stick with the free part of the freemium model. In the relationship between startup and developer, there’s often no room for a salesperson — it’s all about building an indispensable product that spreads like wildfire on its own. MongoLab appears to have figured out the formula. According to Founder and CEO Will Shulman, the company, a cloud computing startup offering fully managed versions of the MongoDB NoSQL database, has tens of thousands of customers since launching in 2011 and is growing between 10 percent and 30 percent a month. On Wednesday, it became the first MongoDB service available in Windows Azure Store, a marketplace for add-ons that complement what Microsoft (s msft) itself offers on the Windows Azure cloud platform. MongoLab also just closed a Series B funding round of$5 million, bringing its two-round total to \$8 million. The money came from existing investors Foundry Group and Baseline Ventures, as well as GRP Partners, Freestyle Capital and David Cohen (of TechStars).

## Go where your users are

The secret to the company’s early success is camping out where the programming tidal waves of MongoDB and Platforms as a Service converge, and then managing the impact in the name of developers. “We really take away a ton of headache for teams just wanting to develop their app,” Shulman said.

The way MongoLab works is simple enough. Through its website, developers can choose the architecture they want — from a small free offering on shared infrastructure to a clustered database on dedicated infrastructure — as well as the cloud on which they want it to run. Alternatively, developers can deploy a MongoLab database via their favorite PaaS providers (including Heroku (s crm), AppFog and AppHarbor). Once deployed, the idea behind MongoLab is like all things PaaS: developers worry about applications, and MongoLab worries about keeping the database up and running.

The rationale for building a PaaS is easy enough to understand, but there are some who’d argue MongoDB is a tougher sell. Although it’s wildly popular among developers (just look at the pile of venture capital MongoDB creator — and close MongoLab ally — 10gen has raised), the product does have its share of detractors. But whether those criticisms are fair or not, Shulman thinks the key to understanding when and how to use MongoDB, and why so many people choose to do so, is understanding how MongoDB fits into most programmers’ tool belts.