After job cuts, MariaDB faces uncertain financial future

In addition to laying off 26 staffers out of its 340-strong workforce in February, the company warns that revenue won't be enough to support operations for the next 12 months, and is looking for financing.

A U.S. dollar sign casts a question mark shadow.
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MariaDB, the provider of  the relational database management system (RDBMS) of the same name — a fork of the open source based MySQL — is looking for financing to make up for an upcoming shortfall in revenue, after laying off 26 staff from its 340-strong workforce in February, according to various filings the company has made.

"We anticipate that our cash, cash equivalents, and cash provided by sales of database subscriptions and services will not be sufficient to meet our projected working capital and operating needs," MariaDB said in a prospectus filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The company also said that it had laid off 26 people in the first quarter "to achieve cost reduction goals and to focus the Company on key initiatives and priorities." The comments in the filing were first reported by The Register.

MariaDB made similar comments about seeking further financing in February when it reported a $13 million net loss for the quarter ending December 31, up about 7% from a year earlier.

MariaDB, according to statements in the filings, has had a history of losses and doesn’t foresee itself to be profitable in the short term. It has, however, up to now been able to cover its expenses through financing — in addition to going public at the end of last year.

One reason for filing the prospectus, though, is that going forward it may find that financing is hard to come by, since it faces changed circumstances. For one thing, that company says that it expects its operating expenses to increase significantly as it tries to boost its sales force and marketing efforts along with research and development in order to innovate its offerings.

Additionally, the company is expected to incur additional expenses, on the back of accounting and legal spending necessary after going public last year.

Public companies are expected to issue notes about ongoing concerns that may materially affect their financial status.

To put the MariaDB filings into perspective, it is common practice for public companies to disclose all potential risks and uncertainties to the SEC, including worst-case scenarios, said a public relations representative for MariaDB, who also noted that — as research from Audit Analytics shows — about 18% of companies received audit opinions to issue "going concern” notes in the 2020 financial year alone.

And though expenses are forecast to rise, MariaDB sees positive trends, including a 90% growth year-over-year for cloud-related subscription revenue and a recent, multiyear, $34 million contract, both reported in its first earnings report as a public company. The $122 million they raised in the process to go public, a move taken at a tough time for IPOs, can also be seen as a sign of confidence in its business model.  

Meanwhile, the company says it is looking to raise investment and capital through several different instruments.

“We are currently seeking additional capital to meet our projected working capital, operating, and debt repayment needs for periods after September 30, 2023,” the company wrote in the prospectus filed with the SEC.

MariaDB has about 700 customers, according to data from B2B market information 6Sense.

MariaDB, according to 6Sense, has a 2.15% share of the relational database makret category. The larger rivals are MySQL, Oracle Database and PostgreSQL.  

Last month, the company announced the release of its managed database-as-a-service (DBaaS) SkySQL that included new features such as serverless analytics.

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