The world's data is changing in its format. Traditional structured information would nicely fit into rows and columns, but we're now seeing a flood of unstructured information, such as weblogs tracking user behavior and social media posts tracking customer feedback. These changing formats require databases that can adapt to help companies make sense of them.

MongoDB (NASDAQ:MDB) is establishing itself as a key provider of general-purpose databases, which are flexible to help companies better analyze and understand different types of information. Their databases are also open-source, which allows developers to build free, business-specific applications on top of them, and for customers to leverage the larger community to help them continually improve their IT infrastructure.

Mongo's stock price has been on a roll in 2018. Its recently reported fourth-quarter results suggest that the good times may keep rolling, as its disruptive solution continues to gain traction.

A person looking at data and charts on a laptop.

Image source: Getty Images.

MongoDB results: The raw numbers

Metric

Fiscal Q4 2018

Fiscal Q4 2017

Year-Over-Year Change

Revenue

$45.0 million

$30.0 million

50%

Operating income

($27.3 million)

($21.3 million)

N/A

Adjusted earnings per share

($0.40)

($0.44)

N/A

Data source: MongoDB.

What happened with MongoDB this quarter?

MongoDB is still unprofitable, but several key metrics suggest that their business is showing signs of scalability. 

  • Subscription revenue increased 54% to $42 million, while services revenue was up 16% to $3 million.
  • Operating income remained negative, though gross margin came in at 72%. Mongo's sales, marketing, and R&D expenses will need to decrease as a percentage of total sales in order for them to become profitable.
  • The company's new MongoDB Atlas, a database-as-a-service offering, saw 500% year-over-year growth. Atlas has only been available for 18 months, but it already has 3,400 customers and comprises 11% of total revenue. 
  • Mongo's total customer count reached 5,700, which is up 78% over last year. 
  • Their net ARR expansion rate -- which compares subscription revenues today to those from the same customers one year ago -- was above 120%.
  • 30% of new business again came from customers replacing legacy databases.

What management had to say

President and CEO Dev Ittycheria elaborated on the value his company offers to the IT industry:

MongoDB's fourth quarter results capped a milestone year for the company and were highlighted by strong customer additions and 50% revenue growth. A rapidly growing number of customers recognize that MongoDB offers a superior way to work with data, the ability to intelligently put data where it is needed and the freedom to run anywhere.

Looking forward

Mongo's founders are the same team who created DoubleClick, which was an incredibly successful venture in the 1990s that later formed the foundation of web traffic-based online advertising (DoubeClick was later acquired by Alphabet. The team successfully disrupted online advertising, so investors are eager to see if they can do it again in databases.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Simon Erickson has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A and C shares). The Motley Fool recommends MongoDB. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.