With sales and customers doubling every year, cloud networking star Aviatrix unveils its plan to become the “next generation of Cisco” for the multi-cloud era.
Steve Mullaney has huge plans in store for his fast-growing cloud networking and security company, including hitting the public markets in the next 18 months and hitting more than $3 billion in annual revenue in five years.
“We’re going to be bigger than Cisco,” said Mullaney, president and CEO of Aviatrix, a longtime industry leader who came out of retirement a few years ago. “Because the cloud is going to be 10 times bigger than the market that Cisco had to generate. The opportunity is 10 times greater. That’s why people like me are coming out of retirement because it’s the biggest wave I’ve ever seen. … We’re going to be the architectural standard for cloud networking.
Aviatrix is doubling its revenue every year, gaining dozens of new Fortune 500 customers every year, hiring hundreds of net new employees, and recently raised $200 million in a single funding round.
“Five years from now we’ll be over $3 billion in revenue, probably a market cap of $50 billion,” Mullaney said. “We will be a rider of the new infrastructure.”
Aviatrix All-In on multi-cloud
Aviatrix Founder and CTO Sherry Wei started her Santa Clara, Calif.-based company in 2014 after a long career at Cisco with the belief that cloud networking is vastly different from networking data centers for business.
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Aviatrix Secure Cloud Networking is software-deployed and directly programs cloud-native builds to maintain the simplicity and automation unique to every cloud provider, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Oracle Cloud and Alibaba Cloud.
Aviatrix then injects advanced networking, security, automation, and day-two operational visibility for enterprises using one or more public clouds.
“Cloud service providers offer very primitive networking features. Every cloud is different. Businesses need someone to provide them with advanced services that add to the primitive stuff provided by cloud providers,” Mullaney said, “And more importantly, give them one architecture that they can do multi-cloud with, because they won’t have five different architectures.”
The “next generation of Cisco”
Aviatrix simplifies multi-cloud networking for enterprises that are currently forced to use “primitive network services” and “low-level native constructs” from cloud providers, Mullaney said.
“There are two things every business needs more than anything else: visibility and control. Visibility first. Then they have to control safety, control performance, control costs – if you don’t give them the ability to have that visibility and control, they’re flying blind,” he said. “Think of us as the next generation of Cisco. We’re not a better Cisco, we’re a different Cisco.
Aviatrix customers benefit from a cloud-native operating model and the necessary visibility and control from a networking and network security perspective.
Mullaney said typical companies have many different business units that each use different clouds, such as AWS, Azure and Google Cloud.
“You can’t have five different architectures for networking and security. You need one that sums up all the details below. Because there is no way to have enough people who will understand AWS, Azure, Google, Oracle, Alibaba cloud, etc. Mullaney said.
“We’re summarizing this so you don’t need to know the low-level details,” he said. “So it looks like one network for our customers. They go, ‘Oh that’s great. I can handle this. It’s all infrastructure as code, it’s all very software defined and very similar to the cloud where you don’t manage things manually.
Steve Mullaney is a driving force
Mullaney was the CEO of software-defined networking pioneer Nicira, which was acquired by VMware in 2012 for $1.3 billion. Nicira’s technology became VMware’s flagship networking solution, NSX.
During his IT career, he also held positions such as interim CEO of Palo Alto Networks; vice president of marketing for Blue Coat Systems and Force10 Networks; as well as general manager of VMware’s network and security business unit.
He retired in 2014, but returned in 2019 to become president and CEO of Aviatrix as demand for cloud computing began to explode, creating a complex IT environment for businesses.
“Humans can’t comprehend the enormity and scale of cloud computing. You know, it’s big, but it’s way bigger than anyone,” he said.
With Mullaney at the helm since 2019, Aviatrix has grown from a few million in recurring annual sales and around 100 SMB customers to a $100 million company with over 600 customers, including 68 Fortune 500 companies. The company is in set to double its sales in 2023, he said.
$200 million funding round
In September, Aviatrix raised $200 million in a funding round led by private equity firm TCV.
The funding round, which Aviatrix will use to hire even more employees and for marketing purposes, raised Aviatrix’s valuation to $2 billion.
Additionally, the company recently hired industry veteran Michael Welts as its new Chief Marketing Officer. Welts was a founding member and CMO of cloud storage company Wasabi Technologies for the past five years. He also led marketing for networking software startup Plexxi, which was acquired by Hewlett Packard Enterprise in 2018.
“I realized very quickly how determined and extremely passionate people are about defining the multi-cloud era,” Welts, who has more than 30 years of IT experience, said in a statement. “They’re not just taking the lead in creating breakthrough cloud networking technology, they’re redefining the cloud networking industry, and all bets are on Aviatrix winning the race. … Someone is going to be the ‘Cisco’ of the multi-cloud era, and we think it’s going to be Aviatrix.
With demand for cloud solutions and multi-cloud services skyrocketing, Mullaney is more than optimistic about the future of his business.
“We have 600 customers, but what about the other 10,000 corporate customers? They are suffering a lot right now,” he said. “Eventually what will happen is that these will become our customers.”
“We are at a valuation of $2 billion. We will be IPO in a year and a half,” he said. “And we haven’t even really started.”