Aerospike raises $109M for its real-time database platform to capitalize on the AI boom

NoSQL database Aerospike today announced that it has raised a $109 million Series E round led by Sumeru Equity Partners. Existing investor Alsop Louie Partners also participated in this round.

In 2009, the company started as a key-value store with a focus on the adtech industry; Aerospike has since diversified its offerings quite a bit. Today, its core offering is a NoSQL database that’s optimized for real-time use cases at scale.

In 2022, Aerospike added document support and then followed that up with graph and vector capabilities — two database features that are crucial for building real-time AI and ML applications.

“We were founded primarily as a real-time data platform that can work with data at really high scale, or, as we call it, unlimited scale,” Aerospike CEO Subbu Iyer said. “We’ve been fortunate enough that a lot of our customers have either started their journey at scale with us, or started the journey earlier and grown into the platform. So our premise has held good that real-time data and real-time access to data is going to be important pretty much across every industry. Our founding principles were really to deliver real-time performance with data at any scale, and the lowest [total cost of ownership] on the market.”

In part, Aerospike, which offers its service as a hosted platform and on-premises, is able to deliver on this promise through its hybrid memory architecture that allows it to augment the use of RAM to speed up data access with fast flash storage — or any combination of the two. Aerospike competitor Redis recently acquired Speedb to offer similar capabilities — also with an eye on helping its customers reduce costs.

Image Credits: Aerospike

Today, the company’s customers include the likes of Airtel, TransUnion, Snap and TechCrunch parent company Yahoo.

Right now, though, it’s definitely the AI boom that is driving a lot of interest in Aerospike and the company wants to be in a position to capitalize on that through this new funding round.

Unsurprisingly, that means the company plans to use the new funding to accelerate its innovations around AI, which are mostly focused on its graph and vector capabilities. Iyer told me that Aerospike is specifically looking at combining those two capabilities.

“Going forward, there are some synergistic ways in which graph and vectors can come together,” he said. “A simple use case I use for this, for example, is if you’re looking for a specific document and you have embeddings and stored them in a vector database, you want to use a vector search to get to that specific document. But if you’re looking for a set of similar documents, a vector search can get you to the neighborhood and then a graph can get you a similar corpus of documents because of relationships and stuff.”

That, of course, is also what got investors interested in the company. Aerospike raised its last round in 2019 and, according to the company’s CEO, it didn’t need to raise now, but there is a large opportunity for Aerospike to capitalize on, something Sumeru co-founder and managing director George Kadifa also stressed.

“AI is transforming the economy and presents new opportunities for growth and innovation,” Kadifa said. “Aerospike, with its impressive customer base and performance advantage at scale, is uniquely positioned to become a foundational element for the next generation of real-time AI applications.”