Why big data startups MongoDB, Cloudera collaborate, instead of competing

Big data players MongoDB and Cloudera are tying their futures together in an interesting way you don’t often see among well-funded tech firms.

While the giants of consumer technology are always eager to encroach on each others’ turf, these enterprise-focused companies agreed on April 29 to sell each others’ services together and collaborate on development.

MongoDB, which has dual U.S. headquarters in New York City and Palo Alto, Calif., builds and maintains noSQL databases, which large businesses use to store and use huge amounts of unstructured data. Palo Alto-based Cloudera is the dominant platform for data management and analysis.

Cloudera’s valued at $4.1 billion, MongoDB is valued at $1.2 billion, and both have Scrooge McDuckian piles of venture capital cash. So why not compete? That was one of a few key questions I posed to Matt Asay, MongoDB’s vice president of marketing, business development and corporate strategy, during an interview last week.

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