MongoDB: Aadhaar’s Original Database Management & Analytics Partner

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As Aadhaar continues to enroll thousands of Indians each day and add terabytes of data to its Central Identity Data Repository, MongoDB and other data management and analytics software providers continue to produce insights that will aid Aadhaar and the lives of millions of India’s BoP citizens.

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In November 2013, it was announced that MongoDB’s CEO, Max Schireson, was in New Delhi to complete talks with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in order for MongoDB to be one of the approved partners for the Aadhaar program. MongoDB Inc., formerly known as 10gen prior to its name change in August 2013, is a software company founded in 2007 in the United States that is most well-known for its product, MongoDB, a cross platform NoSQL database. MongoDB’s customers include companies such as Disney, the New York Times, Cisco, MTV, Forbes, Craigstlist, ADP, AstraZeneca, FourSquare, IBM, Intuit, Microsoft, McAfee, UnderArmour, and eBay. According to DB-Engines.com, and Japersoft, MongoDB is the most popular NoSQL database management system today and the fifth most popular database management system, preceded by Oracle, MySQL, Microsoft SQL, and PostgreSQL.

MongoDB is an example of a startup company that leverages its expertise in data management, processing, and analytics to provide services to UIDAI’s Aadhaar program across the fifth and sixth stages of Aadhaar’s value chain (See further details of Aadhaar’s entire value chain).

Value Chain HD

Aadhaar chose to partner with MongoDB (in addition to other vendors such as Hadoop, MySQL, HBase, and Solr) for several reasons. First, MongoDB increases database efficiency with its NoSQL approach, which enables Aadhaar to capture, process, search, and analyze large unstructured datasets faster than most other management software would allow. Second, MongoDB can efficiently store large volumes of biometric data and images, whereas many other management systems, such as MySQL, are less suited for image storage. Third, Aadhaar’s data processing analytics cannot depend solely on a single software supplier. As a result, UIDAI diversified its systems reliance across multiple vendors and leverages each vendor’s strengths. Aadhaar has therefore been less dependent on MongoDB and has decided to share more of the data processing volume with its other management vendors.

Nonetheless, MongoDB has been performing well financially and has gained the attention of many venture investors over the years, including NEA, Seqouia Capital, Flybridge Capital Partners, Union Square Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Intel Capital, Salesforce.com, Red Hat, T. Rowe Price, Fidelity, and Altimeter Capital. In its most recent venture round in October 2013, MongoDB had a valuation of approximately $1.2 billion.

VC

Although MongoDB’s sales have never been released, in May 2012 sources stated that the company’s quarterly sales growth over five quarters averaged about 50 percent, suggesting an annual growth rate of ~400%. Lastly, a report by Wikibon estimates that MongoDB’s sales in 2012 were approximately $40 million, which is in line with statements that mention the company’s current sales are in the “tens of millions” and sales could potentially more than double by 2014-15. In addition, MongoDB’s staff continues to show strong growth in numbers from 100 employees in 2011 to having about 400 employees now.

With its sights on expanding into Asia-Pacific, Australia, and Europe, MongoDB’s partnership with Aadhaar makes sense financially as well as strategically to prove to potential customers that they can handle even the largest of data sets such as those housed in Aadhaar’s Central Identity Data Repository (CIDR). With strong momentum and promotions from its current customers, market leadership of approximately 3x over its closest (NoSQL-based) competitor, and investments from some of the world’s most successful venture capital firms and technology companies, MongoDB is positioned to succeed in the coming years as it continues to support Aadhaar, the program’s profound efforts, and future startup companies founded on Aadhaar’s data.

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