Database startup MotherDuck raises $52 million to grow DuckDB-based platform

Duck DB database technology was developed at CWI by the Database Architectures group.

Publication date
22 Sep 2023

After raising $47.5 million last year, startup MotherDuck raised another $52 million, they announced this week. MotherDuck was founded in 2022 with help from CWI spin-off company DuckDB Labs, and is now ready to grow its DuckDB-based lightweight database platform.

The Seattle-based company, with a small office at CWI, now says to have nearly 2,000 users, including companies like This week MotherDuck removed the waitlist for its platform. Next step is bringing an upcoming release of DuckDB to the platform as well.

About DuckDB

The open-source DuckDB system was launched in 2019 by researchers Hannes Mühleisen and Mark Raasveldt from the Database Architectures research group of CWI, the Dutch national research institute for mathematics and computer science. They had spent two years designing and implementing an innovative lightweight database system that manages and analyzes large amounts of data in a highly efficient way. They used state-of-the-art techniques including CWI inventions such as vectorized query processing, but also introduced a number of new techniques.

DuckDB is easy to install, and is designed to work embedded within running processes – no separate server is needed, which was found to be a critical for systems that data scientists would use. This new concept of ‘embedded analytics’ opens opportunities for adoption in many markets and future use cases, for instance mobile apps or even intelligent (self-driving) cars.

Growing popularity

Since its launch, DuckDB has gained widespread adoption from data scientists and tech companies alike for its ability to run efficiently anywhere, even inside a web browser. By summer 2021, the CWI spin-off company DuckDB Labs was created, now located near CWI in the Amsterdam Science Park, still led by Mühleisen and Raasveldt. Its popularity keeps growing rapidly, with more than 800K downloads in November 2022.

Header photo: Shutterstock

DuckDB, Hannes Muehleisen, Mark Raasveldt
Hannes Mühleisen and Mark Raasveldt from CWI's Database Architectures group developed the DuckDB database technology.