Announcing Lightspeed’s Investment in Pensando Systems

Guru Chahal
Oct 16, 2019 · 3 min read

Today Pensando Systems came out of stealth announcing an industry leading platform that helps enterprises and cloud providers build high performance data centers with security and observability built into the infrastructure.

John Chambers, Pensando Chairman, and Soni Jiandani, Pensando co-founder and CMO

Bringing web scale infrastructure benefits to enterprise and cloud providers has been a key investment theme at Lightspeed for the last decade. Companies like Nutanix, Nicira, Avi Networks enabled their customers to build highly automated, software-defined stacks to run their applications. Pensando Systems continues to raise the bar on this theme by providing high performance networking, security, and monitoring services for applications running in enterprise or cloud datacenters.

We’ve known the founding team for a while — they are among the most prolific innovators in enterprise infrastructure. The founding team — Prem Jain, Soni Jiandani, Mario Mazzola, and Luca Cafiero — formed a core of Cisco’s first acquisition, Crescendo, which brought LAN switching to the world, including the Catalyst line of switches at Cisco which generated several 10s of billions of revenue. Subsequently, this team co-founded several companies, including Insieme Networks, Nuova Systems, and Andiamo Networks. These companies redefined the way we think about networking and data center infrastructure. All three companies were acquired for a total of over $2.5B. What is even more remarkable is the commercial success of the products this team has built (at their companies and subsequently at Cisco after their acquisitions). These products, from the Catalyst and Nexus switching products to UCS x86 servers, have generated over $50B of revenue in the last decade and are deployed in nearly every enterprise datacenter on the planet. In addition to the core founding team, the team has the counsel of John Chambers, former CEO of Cisco Systems, who has joined the board of directors as Chairman. As CEO, John took Cisco from 100s of millions to 10s of billions in revenue and is advising Pensando as it scales its go to market efforts.

The Pensando team started working closely with customers across multiple market segments as it built the product. As a result, the platform is not just battle hardened, but already counts Goldman Sachs, NetApp, Oracle, HP, and others in its customer base. This level of early traction for a systems company is a leading indicator of the huge opportunity in front of the company. The prize here is $10s of Billions of dollars of infrastructure spend in networking, security, and monitoring.

Pensando’s technology is redefining how we think about the edge of a classic enterprise network — making it more intelligent, high performance, and secure, with real time telemetry capabilities built-in. At the core of Pensando’s platform is a new scale-out architecture for services. The platform includes a secure, programmable, edge-accelerated processor that’s co-located with the applications, and a policy server that enables rapid automation and centralized operations. In customer testing, the platform has shown industry leading performance and scalability, end-to-end security, and highly granular monitoring. At Goldman Sachs, for instance, Pensando’s technology has led to a simplification of data center architecture, improved end to end observability in the network, reduced time to resolution from hours to minutes, and enabled zero-trust security — all with a reduction in overall spend as it transitions from multiple devices to a single platform.

Pensando is addressing a massive market, and given the team’s record, is uniquely positioned to be the next large enterprise infrastructure company. We at Lightspeed are thankful to the Pensando team for giving us the opportunity to be a part of their journey.

— Guru Chahal and Barry Eggers, Lightspeed Venture Partners

Lightspeed Venture Partners

Lightspeed is a VC firm focused on accelerating disruptive innovations and trends in the enterprise and consumer sectors. Lightspeed has backed 350+ companies globally in the past two decades including Snap, Honest Co., GIPHY, Nest, Nutanix, AppDynamics and MuleSoft.

Guru Chahal

Written by

Product, Technology & Venture for Cloud, Security, DevOps. Current: @AviNetworks. Previously: @LightspeedVP @Cisco_UCS @HBSAlumni @PurdueAlumni guruchahal.com

Lightspeed Venture Partners

Lightspeed is a VC firm focused on accelerating disruptive innovations and trends in the enterprise and consumer sectors. Lightspeed has backed 350+ companies globally in the past two decades including Snap, Honest Co., GIPHY, Nest, Nutanix, AppDynamics and MuleSoft.

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