Venture Realisation of the Year

Representing one of the most successful exits in 2008, Index Ventures, alongside a host of other European VCs, sold MySQL, the second largest independent open source software company in the world. It was acquired for US$1bn by US software giant Sun Microsystems.

The terms of the deal include US$780m in cash and approximately US$200m for the assumption of MySQL stock options, that will be converted into JAVA shares.

MySQL was established in Sweden in 2001 by two Swedes and a Finn: David Axmark, Allan Larsson and Michael “Monty” Widenius, who have worked together since the 1980s. MySQL’s open source database is widely deployed across all major operating systems, hardware vendors, geographies, industries and application types.

It raised its first round of venture capital shortly after it was founded, from local investors Eficor Oyj and Scope Venture Capital. For its B round in June 2003, it attracted the attention of some of Europe’s bigger venture houses, Benchmark Europe (now Balderton Capital), Index Ventures, with the now extinct Scope returning. All three invested again in 2004 before a final round at the end of 2005, which saw investment from Intel Capital, SAP, Red Hat Ventures and Institutional Venture Partners XI. In total, MySQL raised just under €27m of venture money.

The database software developed by MySQL has been deployed by many leading internet and technology companies including Facebook, Google, Nokia, and China Mobile. It has its headquarters in Uppsala, Sweden and Cupertino, California, USA. More than 100 million copies of MySQL’s high-performance open source database software have been downloaded and distributed and an additional 50,000 copies are downloaded daily.