Over the past couple of years, both types of entrepreneurs have racked up ample bragging rights in the field of software-defined networking (SDN).
“For us, it was quite a bit earlier than we had anticipated raising money. But when the money’s there, you take it,” says Craig Elliott, CEO of Pertino, a developer of software applications for managing wide area networks.
Pertino raised $9 million last March from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Norwest Venture Partners. But even now, with roughly half the money still in the bank, Elliott says he is still getting approached by investors and is considering an additional round.
Elliott was one of several SDN startup founders interviewed by VCJ who confessed to facing every entrepreneur’s favorite dilemma: an overabundance of venture funding offers. Industry insiders say interest in the space has only heated up since last summer, after VMware’s $1.26 billion purchase of Nicira Networks—a company just five months out of stealth mode—proved the sector is capable of producing high multiple exits.
SDN bulls say that’s just the start. Though venture funding for companies in the space is difficult to quantify precisely, given that startups usually operate in stealth mode at first, it’s clear plenty of checks are going out. To date, companies in the SDN space have raised well over $650 million from VCs and other private investors, with the pace of funding accelerating markedly this past year.
Acquisition activity, meanwhile, extends far beyond Nicira. At least nine companies with SDN expertise, have been acquired in the past year, of which about half had known venture investors. Most purchases were for undisclosed sums. However, given the funding environment and the list of acquirers, which includes Cisco, Oracle and Juniper Networks, as well as VMware, it’s safe to say few talented SDN teams had to sell their companies on the cheap.
To read more about software-defined networking, VCJ subscribers can click here for the full story. The February 2013 Cover Story also includes a list of notable early stage deals and exits, available for subscribers.
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And if you want to chat more about VC investing trends, send an email to VCJ Editor Alastair Goldfisher at [email protected].
Photo illustration by Janet Yuen.