SurrealDB is helping developers consolidate their databases

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Brothers Tobie Morgan Hitchcock and Jaime Morgan Hitchcock spent years building cloud-based software-as-a-service systems together, ranging from tools to let golf courses measure “golfer engagement” to online platforms designed to assess job candidates. While the systems they built had wildly different functions, the unifying thread running through all of them was a dependence on databases that could allow the systems to grow while remaining performant.

Managing databases isn’t as challenging as it used to be. But at scale, it can be a different story — and Tobie says he and Jaime experienced many of the common pain points firsthand while building out SaaS systems.

“Developers spend excessive time on infrastructure management and ensuring that the data in their applications is consistent across multiple different databases and system types with different characteristics and guarantees,” Tobie told TechCrunch. “In addition to this, they need to learn new programming and query languages while working with many different client libraries, leaving less time for application development and leading to reduced performance and more complex application deployments.”

The Hitchcock brothers’ solution was a database architecture called SurrealDB, maintained by a startup of the same name Tobie and Jaime co-founded in 2015. (We covered SurrealDB’s seed in January 2023.) SurrealDB allows developers to model data using multiple different data models at once, and to deploy databases across both cloud and on-premises environments.

“As a multi-model database, SurrealDB helps organizations looking to consolidate the numbers of databases they own and manage,” Tobie said. “We believe that an important part of each database is the ability to easily and effortlessly control each aspect of the database.”

SurrealDB’s online configuration dashboard.
Image Credits: SurrealDB

The database architecture SurrealDB, which was built in the programming language Rust, shares certain characteristics in common with relational databases. But it features added functionality like security controls and granular access permissions management.

SurrealDB also ships with a tool, Surrealist, that lets developers perform certain database management tasks visually, without having to write code.

SurrealDB the company is currently pre-revenue. However, the plan is to make money through Surreal Cloud, a fully managed version of SurrealDB that launched in beta early this month.

VCs have faith in the brothers’ roadmap. SurrealDB this week closed a $20 million funding round led by FirstMark and Georgian, with participation from Crew Capital and Alumni Ventures, bringing the 32-person, London-based startup’s total raised to $26 million.

Tobie says that the proceeds will go toward product development and “sustainable” hiring.

“SurrealDB has emerged as the choice for organizations burdened by the cost of managing multiple databases,” Tobie added optimistically. “With organizations looking to reduce the cost of the tech stacks, we see this as an opportunity for SurrealDB.”

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