Oracle

Every organization has information (e.g. on human resources) that it must store and manage to meet requirements. This information must be available to those who need it. In the mid-seventies, it was clear that corporations needed a formal system for storing and processing information. Systems using cardboard boxes containing manila folders along with rules for how to store and retrieve the folders were no longer useful. Oracle was launched to offer large corporations a relational database to automate their collection, storage, and retrieval of related information for use by database applications. The system overall was appropriately called Relational Data Base Management System (RDBMS).

 

Company

Software Development Laboratories (SDL) was launched in 1997 by Larry Ellison and Bob Miner to develop a database software running on PDP-11. By 1982, the Company relocated to Menlo Park, changed its name to Oracle (code name for a CIA project), and focused on delivering an RDBMS operating in a client-server mode. Within five years, it expanded from RDBMS into applications by building business management software that eventually helped customers reduce complexity of data organization, extraction, and correlation through platform services and engineered systems.

Financing

In April 1984, we provided Oracle with $3 million mezzanine financing together with Sequoia Capital. Funds were needed on the product development side to achieve many objectives, including rewriting the Database in C for portability, expanding the platforms from minicomputers to personal computers, and releasing version 5 of its software to operate in a client-server mode.

Growth

Over time, Oracle grew through accelerated product deployment and acquisitions. On the latter, notable examples include PeopleSoft ($10B), BEA ($8B), Sun Microsystem ($7B), Siebel ($6B) and Hyperion ($3B). The Company also migrated from the data centers to the cloud, simplifying the IT environment and enabling its customers to better serve their own customers. Today, its products are viewed as industry-leading solutions that give clients deployment flexibility in application integration, powerful performance, advanced security, high availability, scalability, energy efficiency, and low total cost of ownership.

Looking back, following our financing, revenues grew from $20 million in 1984 to $55 million in 1986 to $584 million in 1989 – the year we divested of all our holdings.

Exit

Oracle was publicly listed on the NASDAQ on March 1986 – one day before Microsoft! Its value at listing was $270 million – 5X its value in 1984 and 1/5th its value in 1989.