Rackspace Invests $12M In Database-As-A-Service Firm Cloudant

Cloudant offers a distributed database as a service and currently partners with Rackspace, which provides part of the hosting service on which Cloudant's DBaaS runs; the company also partners with Softlayer, Joyent, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services for hosting. Cloudant also competes with Amazon Database Services.

Devonshire Investors and Toba Capital also contributed to the round of funding. Cloudant's previous investors Avalon Ventures, In-Q-Tel and Samsung Venture Investment Corp. also purchased additional shares of the company.

Cloudant's NoSQL database service runs on top of cloud hosting services from partners like Rackspace and lets businesses store, access and analyze data in the cloud; Cloudant provisions the clusters and handles the system monitoring and management, freeing up clients to focus on their applications and data. Tom O'Connell, vice president of sales and field operations at Cloudant, said his company is benefiting from the growth of mobile applications and businesses' desire to offload management of back-end IT operations. "Our value proposition is for the client to focus on the front-end development and APIs where they're an expert, and let us manage the back end where we are an expert," he said. "We're in a perfect storm of companies wanting to build mobile apps or move existing applications to mobile devices."

While Cloudant has other hosting partners, O'Connell said Rackspace has shown the most interest in going to market with Cloudant's DBaaS. In addition to working with hosting partners and application platform vendors like Heroku and AppHarbor, Cloudant is looking to add more solution provider partners on the application development and mobile solutions side.

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"There's a big opportunity in the channel," O'Connell said. "We want to work with more systems integrators because a lot of our clients are contracting out the mobile app development and management to them."

Cloudant, which was launched in 2008 by three M.I.T. physicists, plans to extend its geographic reach outside the U.S. and U.K., where it recently opened a new office. "We're going to spend some of the funding on expanding outside of North America and into Asia," O'Connell said. "There's a huge opportunity in Asia, and plus we have an existing relationship with Samsung on the investment side."

O'Connell said Cloudant will also use the funding to further develop its DBaaS offering and add more geospatial features.