In 2000, Emil Eifrem knew that graph technology could make better sense of data. On a flight to Mumbai, he sketched out the concept for a graph database on the back of a napkin and quietly began working on a prototype along with Johan Svensson and Peter Neubauer. The trio spent years working on the technology, and Emil went on to co-author O'Reilly's Graph Databases — a practical how-to guide to manage, query, and map highly connected data. They also hatched Neo4j, an open-source, NoSQL graph database that helps companies understand data faster. Emil's napkin sketch came to life.

Since its founding, Neo4j has supplied major organizations with the backend technology needed to make sense of data relationships. At a practical level as consumers, we can think of Neo4j as the magic behind an "other products you may like" suggestion on shopping sites, because its technology identifies stored relationships between multiple data sources. Beyond e-commerce, Neo4j's graph database informs IT operations, fraud detection, and other business-critical applications for major organizations like Volvo Cars, Microsoft, and Walmart.

Given the mountains of disparate data developers manage, stored relationships become harder to parse, so Neo4j's vision about graphing those relationships was prescient. Developers today are often tasked with writing complex code on top of traditional data to query and generate meaningful insights quickly. Neo4j supplies the technology to help developers find a needle in a haystack. It simplifies data relationships and creates new intelligence-based business opportunities that would otherwise be difficult to develop. The industry is taking notice: a recent Gartner report highlights graph technologies among its Top 10 Data and Analytics Technology Trends for 2021.

Now more than 20 years after the original prototype, Neo4j announces $325M in funding. Tom Hulme and I are excited to welcome the team to the portfolio, joining other database companies like CockoachDB that are building the future of the enterprise. Neo4j has been steadfast in its vision, and I admire Emil's grit and tireless dedication over the years to build and evangelize graph databases.