Open source database firm MariaDB names new CEO, CTO, and raises $9 million.

Database industry veteran Monty Widenius has been appointed as the new chief technology officer of MariaDB, while Michael Howard will take over as the new CEO, the Finnish open source database firm said on Thursday.

It unveiled also a financing round of $9 million from investors like Intel Capital and California Technology Ventures.

Monty Widenius developed MySQL, the most widely adopted open source relational database, which was acquired by Oracle as part of the Sun Microsystems purchase in 2010.

At a time, Widenius tried to raise competition authorities awareness the deal would hamper competition in open source database space, but the Oracle-Sun deal was eventually approved and he co-founded MariaDB as a new open source alternative. The database has seen fast growth during last 12 months and has now more than 9 million users.

“MariaDB’s success as an open source technology goes hand-in-hand with its growing popularity in the commercial market. As part of the MariaDB team, I will be able to create innovative data management capabilities more quickly, and ensure these are open and accessible to the global development community by continuing the close collaboration with the MariaDB Foundation,” Widenius said in a statement.

The new CEO Michael Howard was most recently CEO of C9, which he transformed into one of the leading predictive analytics companies in the CRM space, ultimately leading to its acquisition by InsideSales.

“Michael’s proven leadership and deep operational and technology expertise will enable MariaDB to extend its position in the open source database market,” said Scott Raskin, an independent director on the MariaDB Board.

Michael Howard said Widenius was the central reason to join MariaDB. “It was because of Monty I decided to move to MariaDB. He is the father of open source database development,” he told ArcticStartup in an interview. He said the firm has been able to carve itself an increasingly larger share of the open source database market, where it competes now head-to-head for the second spot with PostreSQL.

“I believe there is a new norm for open source, especially in infrastructure. 3-5 years ago open source was not strategic. Today the situation is very different because of rising security risk. These risks were not there 5 years ago,” Howard said.

But despite growing user-base there are a few challenges remaining – the temperatures haves dropped below -10 Celsius in Helsinki this week. “I bought a new coat, new gloves, new scarf and hat, but still it was not good enough, I made about 100 feet before I had to go back to a hotel,” Howard said.

(Updated Jan 21 with Howard interview)



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