Four different stories.

PVTL sounded like a good story but their customer acquisition slowed. End of growth is bad. Sold at a loss but glad to be out.

DOCU sounded like a good story but their future depended on something that did not yet exist, agreement management. Sold at a nice gain but, again, glad to be out.

SMAR sounded like a good story because it solves lots of different problems for lots of different people in an environment people are comfortable with. This last earnings report and the market reaction show that the story is still very good. Long SMAR.

As for MDB, I had little doubt about the product but no faith in their open source, “Freemium” business model. Before them, MySQL was the most popular open source database but they never managed to monetize it and wound up in Oracle’s grasp. Atlas changed all that, it is a SaaS monetizing machine and, if it showed adequate growth, it was the investment thesis. That’s when I went long MDB.

I like pictures. This one compares the four investments


There were several posts saying they were holding on to DOCU. I’m not one to tell people what to buy, to hold, or to sell buy one thing I know, dogs really weigh down on returns. If you analyze Saul’s trades you should notice that he does not brood over positions but is quick to act. If a buy is a mistake, he sells. If a sell is a mistake, he buys back. Since started to adopt his style, my results have improved.

Denny Schlesinger



Excellent post.

The open source model will forever be a debate. But we can see that the monetization will very much depend on Atlas. And with that other much debated SSPL license change Mongo took a huge step to protecting Atlas as a product.

Mongo non-Atlas sales would have come in at around a mid 30% range of growth. For developers getting the free open source on prem version gets them in the door. And then they go to work experimenting, building, developing, often contributing back to the community.

Then when it’s time to deploy they are clearly choosing to use that model in production via hosting. And SSPL makes Atlas the only real option for that for a long term application.

Taking a step back, it’s really quite remarkable what they’ve done here. And why they are Mongo.

Nice call on Atlas all those months ago.



Anyone who has bought into MDB over the past 24 months has seen great stock price appreciation, by far one of the sharpest curves out there. The enhancing by ATLAS aspects appear quite positive.

BB’s concerns that will keep me on the sidelines:

A. Profitability: (Far and away my top concern)
In biz for twelve years, profitability is negative and growing. Is there a go/no go target date when MDB must show a profit, or at least turn the curve, or one bails out?

B. Corporate Governance:
MongoDB, Inc.’s ISS Governance QualityScore as of N/A is N/A. The pillar scores are Audit: N/A; Board: N/A; Shareholder Rights: N/A; Compensation: N/A.

Corporate governance scores courtesy of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS). Scores indicate decile rank relative to index or region. A decile score of 1 indicates lower governance risk, while a 10 indicates higher governance risk.

C. Location:
MDB is perched in some of the very most expensive real estate in the entire country. Why do they need to be in Manhattan Island? See:
MongoDB, Inc.
1633 Broadway
38th Floor
New York, NY 10019

I realize that my perspective doesn’t resonate with a lot of investors, but…


If you’re into profitable companies, is Saul’s the right board for you?

The two other concerns you’ve presented are minor to me (the lack of governance scores by some rating agency (note these are not poor scores, they’re just not scored at all), and location of corporate HQ).

I wonder, how many of the favorite companies here at Saul’s are profitable??

long MDB


Profitability, per se, is not the issue, “are they getting there” is.

Looking backward is the wrong approach to Mongo “In biz for twelve years, profitability is negative and growing.” As far as I’m concerned, the original Open Source model Mongo was using might have been great for attracting attention, specially of developers who would fuel future growth, but it was not worth investing in. I based that opinion on MySQL, the leading Open Source database that never managed to monetize their popularity. By adding Atlas and by tightening their licensing to ward off freeloaders (Amazon et al), Mongo has become a new and better business model. Investing in MDB should be based on this new business model, not on their 12 year history.

Denny Schlesinger


how many companies of these favorites ARE profitable. cmf becks. I am long MDB, but my largest holding is TTD. Not a Saas, but profitable. I love that.