Banking

We got an exclusive look at the 27-slide pitch deck this networking startup used to bag $84 million in a round backed by Sequoia

  • The enterprise networking and security company Versa Networks has raised $84 million in a Series D.
  • Versa Networks predicted the market in 2012 when “there wasn’t a name” for the tech, its CEO said.
  • The round was co-led by Princeville Capital and RPS Ventures and had backing from Sequoia.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A startup that hosts secure networks for employees working from home has raised $84 million as demand for remote-working services continues to soar.

California-based Versa Networks, which was founded in 2012, raised the funds in a round backed by Sequoia Capital, an early investor in the likes of Apple, Google, and Stripe. The company, which is headed up by the former Cisco executive Kelly Ahuja, has raised $196 million to date.

Versa operates in the secure-access service edge, or SASE, sector, which aims to make networks more secure and IT more adaptable as working practices change. The industry, which counts the likes of Cisco, VMware, and Fortinet among its biggest players, has been tipped to be valued at around $11 billion by 2024, according to figures from Gartner.

Ahuja, who had spent 18 years at Cisco, left the tech giant to pursue what he called “the next wave of the industry” and then discovered Versa Networks. Now CEO of the enterprise-networking startup, he said the company predicted where computer networking and security would go.

“Every enterprise is going to need a secure and reliable connection to connect users to applications, no matter where they are,” he told Insider.

“There wasn’t a name for this category before,” he said of the SASE sector. “Now there is.”

While SASE covers a wide remit, it’s broadly defined as a sector that will simplify both security and networking for enterprise. Among its most common uses is the ability to allow remote employees to connect to corporate networks in a stable and secure way via the cloud.

Versa raised its fresh funds in a Series D round that was co-led by Princeville Capital and RPS Ventures.

Fundraising began via

Zoom
, and Ahuja described a more in-depth process by saying “investors were unsure of the timing of the market and the recovery.”

“As we continued through the year and showed progress, investor confidence grew rapidly,” he said. “To the point where we were able to, you know, close this large round.”

The startup will pour funds into global educational marketing, sales campaigns, partner communities, and research and development to fuel expansion. 

Ahuja said most enterprises today do not realize that they use Versa Networks due to the company’s network of resellers, which it hopes to expand. The startup has an array of top-tier customers including Amazon, Adobe, BP, and Adidas.

But the chief revealed that there is no target number of partners, instead opting for a quality-over-quantity message. 

Versa Networks also plans to increase its workforce from 500 to 600 by the end of 2021. 

Here’s the pitch deck that landed the company investment from Sequoia Capital and others:

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