The round was led by Eurazeo and GV. Existing investors One Peak, Creandum and Greenbridge, as well as new investors DTCP and Lightrock, also participated. Founded in 2007, the company has raised more than $500 million in funding.
Neo4j is looking to disrupt the space long dominated by relational databases that organize data into tables. Its graph databases help connect data, showing how different points intersect.
Co-founder and CEO Emil Eifrem said a simplistic example would be two consumers who have similar buying habits. When one buys something the other does not have, a recommendation could be made to the other to buy the same item, as the data of past purchases show a connection.
“We live in an increasingly connected world — that cannot be denied,” he said. “Data describes our world. So data is also becoming increasingly connected.”
A crowded space
Neo4j has more than 500 employees and 800 customers, Eifrem said. The company — which does not disclose financial information — decided the timing was right to raise the large round after watching its sales “skyrocket,” last year, even becoming cash flow positive in the first quarter of this year, he added.
Eifrem attributes that growth to companies expediting their digital transformations during the pandemic, as well as additional connected data use cases COVID-19 introduced such as contract tracing.
As the company has grown through the years, so has the competition. Eifrem said large database players like SAP and Oracle have entered the space, as have startups like TigerGraph and open-source platform JanusGraph. Amazon and Microsoft — which also partner with Neo4j — also now have their own graph database offering, said Eifrem. He added the only large provider that does not is Google, which is an investor in the company.
That does not mean Eifrem has plans to sell to the large cloud player. He called Neo4j a “generational company,” and added he is not a serial entrepreneur that loves startups, but rather has feelings for this particular one.
“I’m in love with this startup,” he said. “I want to do this for the next 15 or 20 years.”
Nathalie Kornhoff-Brüls, managing director in the growth team at Eurazeo, said investing in Neo4j was obvious when one examines all the use cases it lends itself to such as fraud, cybersecurity and consumer recommendations, as well as the overall importance of data in the world today.
“Databases are a space that really needs no explanation,” she said “They’re crucial to everything we touch.”
That growing market and the need for better analytics could eventually lead the company to the public markets in the future, she said.
“I think they could make a very attractive public market company,” she added.