Welcome back to Baby Breakerdom! This week's quest to uncover budding Rule Breakers finds an enterprising investment and a new way to look at Mother Nature.
First up this week is EnterpriseDB, a start-up founded in 2004 that specializes in open-source database technology. This week, it received $20 million in new financing from a mix of investors. $16.5 million of the proceeds came from lead financier Fidelity Ventures and existing investors Charles River Ventures and Valhalla Partners. Meanwhile, Comerica Bank pitched in with a newly approved $3.5 million line of credit.
There's a lot to like about EnterpriseDB, beginning with its technology. It's derived from the original Ingres database, created by two University of California at Berkeley scientists in the 1970s. Though long since displaced as the leader in the relational database market by Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL ) , Ingres maintains a long-standing appeal among the tech-savvy crowd.
By 1996, that enthusiasm had been channeled into what is today PostgreSQL, which last year was embraced by Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW ) as an alternative to classic databases, including Oracle, Sybase (Nasdaq: SYBS ) , and Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT ) SQL Server.
Enter EnterpriseDB. It claims to be one of the fastest and most reliable implementations of PostgreSQL in a commercial database server. Early successes support this claim; Sony's Online Entertainment group in March displaced Oracle in favor of EnterpriseDB and made an equity investment in the company.
With big money paid for open-source deals recently -- including Red Hat's (Nasdaq: RHAT ) $400 million purchase of the JBoss application server -- EnterpriseDB appears to be one for Rule Breakers to watch.
Next up is Weather Trends International, which VentureWire says raised $4.5 million in funding this week to buy out its former owner. The deal appears aimed at taking advantage of what founder Bill Kirk believes is a Rule Breaking way of studying Mother Nature: "What we've done is looked at the last hundred years-plus of weekly data to assess trends in the past, and then project that information forward."
Can history really repeat itself when it comes to weather? Perhaps. It's at least worth noting that predictive analytics as a whole is big business. Take insurers, for example. Gathering data on age, gender, and driving records helps them to establish auto policy premiums that more than offset the probability of paying a major claim.
Applying the same model to the weather could make extraordinary economic sense to some businesses. Consider retailers. When Hurricane Katrina wiped out the Gulf Coast, it also did enormous damage to retail supply chains. Being able to predict such a disaster, and plan for it, could save millions, if not billions. Perhaps that's why Anheuser-Busch (NYSE: BUD ) and Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT ) are among the 30 firms investing between $50,000 and $100,000 each to be Weather Trends clients.
That's all for this week. See you back here next Friday, when we continue the quest to find the next ultimate growth stock.
For more Rule Breaking Foolishness:
- Check in with last week's infants.
- Just leave the stock and take the cannoli; you'll be better off.
- Is David Gardner really the world's worst investor?
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Fool contributorTim Beyersowns shares of Oracle. You can find out what other stocks he owns by checking Tim's Foolprofile. Anheuser-Busch, Microsoft, and Wal-Mart are all Motley Fool Inside Value picks. The Motley Fool has an ironcladdisclosure policy.