Realm just closed a € 18 M ($ 20 M) Series B led by Khosla Ventures, along with new investor Scale Venture Partners. Less than 9 months after its public launch, Realm is already the 2nd-most deployed database in the world, running on well over 100 million devices!

Realm was founded by Alexander Stigsen and Bjarne Christiansen, under the name of ThightDB. Alexander and Bjarne are childhood friends who were developers at Nokia in Copenhagen, where they worked on optimizing data storage for the plastic bar phones we all spent too much time playing snake on. They discovered that if you applied similar storage optimization techniques to modern smart phones, you could make data fit into much less memory, making data access much faster, and forever removing the need for users to ever see a loading spinner indicator. This core innovation is the foundation of their database technology, and it has helped Realm build a successful company serving the needs of mobile developers.

Speedy Mobile Database

Realm’s product is a database, similar to Oracle, MySQL or MongoDB, but it runs directly inside your phone, tablet or smartwatch. It uses a brand-new storage architecture, not SQLite, and an easier API designed for needs of modern mobile apps and smartphones. It is already used by tens of thousands of app makers around the world, including Groupon, Buzzfeed, Intuit, Rite Aid, Zynga, Coinbase, Expensify, Wahoo Fitness, as well as Fortune 500 corporations, banks, healthcare providers and many more.

“The legacy standard for mobile databases, SQLite, was designed over 15 years ago for use on board the US Navy’s guided missile destroyers. The phrase ‘platform shift’ does not begin to adequately capture the difference between that environment and a modern cell phone.” says Andy Vitus, Partner at Scale VP

Andy Vitus will join the board with the investment, as well as David Helgason, founder of Unity.

“Launching a successful mobile platform requires solving the hard problems developers really care about, in a really awesome package. I’m excited to join the board a great company that is doing for databases what Unity did for game engines: bringing them head-first into the mobile century.” says Davíd Helgason

Realm was part of the YCombinator Summer 2011 batch. The startup has raised € 26 M of funding to date and has grown to 21 employees. Even if headquartered in the U.S., Realm has also a presence in the Copenhagen startup community. It is amongst one of the founding startups for the cphftw foundation and has it’s office in Founders House. With David Helgason on the board the connection to Copenhagen is also strengthened further.

Plans for the future

Realm will use this round to continue supporting iOS & Android developers, who have switched to its database en masse since it was first publicly released in July of last year. The funding will also help Realm to add support for more mobile platforms.

“This investment helps us fulfill our goals of modernizing the way we handle data on mobile, and making life easier for millions of mobile app developers. Khosla Ventures has been great partners in this journey and we look forward to expanding our relationship with them and introducing Scale Venture Partners to the mix.” says Alexander Stigsen

Alexander says Realm also has plans to double its team size around the globe in 2015, and especially ramp up the sales of its enterprise products and services.