Graph startup Neo raises $11M as specialized databases take hold

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While many organizations might be struggling to figure out whether and how to complement their relational database with a common NoSQL option like MongoDB, there are a few companies — and their investors — betting the world’s companies will soon want even more options about how to organize their data. Leading that charge will likely be Neo Technology, a graph database startup that has a collection of big-name customers under its belt and on Friday announced $11 million Series B funding, bringing its two-round total to $21.6 million in just over a year.

We’ve covered Neo and its technology, a commercial version of the open source Neo4j graph database, before. Graph databases store data based on their relationship to one another, making them ideal for organizing massive amounts of information such as social networks, the connections between various web pages and web data, or, in the case of Neo Technology customer Cisco, its master data management system. Neo4j, Neo Founder and CEO Emil Eifrem told me last year, is also ideal for serving transactions and as part of a Java application stack, which helps its explain why VMware’s SpringSource division is backing the project.

Neo’s customer base also includes Deutsche Telekom, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, LexisNexis, Adobe and Pitney Bowes, as well as a slew of web startups.

Aside from graph databases, those focused on storing data relating to time and place are also catching fire. In August, spacial-temporal database startup SpaceCurve raised a $3.5 million second round for its technology that the company claims can make short work of uncovering patterns in complex geospatial and time-series data. TempoDB, a startup offering a cloud database service for time-series data like that thrown off of sensors and electrical equipment, has raised almost $900,000 in seed funding. Space-Time Insights, a company that specializes in visualizing organizations’ geospatial and time-series data just raised $14 million.

This, of course, is only a sampling of the types of databases that are garnering attention as we generate more data from more sources and need new ways of storing, accessing and analyzing that data. The relational database isn’t going away any time soon, but it looks like it might soon be sitting alongside a variety of databases designed for other tasks within a lot of corporate data centers.

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