Startup Profile: Graphiant Scores $62 Million


By: Mary Jander

Graphiant has scored $62 million in Series B funding, bringing its total raised to $96 million – just seven months after its emergence from stealth in September 2022. The move highlights the growing importance of multicloud networking (MCN) to enterprise customers.

The company, a Futuriom 50 startup, flew out of the gate last fall with an intriguing proposition: to simplify routing across hybrid networks, minimize the need for firewalls, and provide an economical alternative to multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) – all with a view to empowering the network edge.

“With much more data generated at the edge, you have to think about how these networks are connecting," CEO Khalid Raza told Futuriom last fall. “The IoT [Internet of Things] piece is the most complex. Existing solutions [for networking], such as tunnel automation, are becoming unsustainable.”

Moving Up Fast

CEO Raza, formerly the co-founder of software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) pioneer Viptela (sold to Cisco in 2017) and an ex-distinguished engineer at Cisco, founded Graphiant in 2020. He saw networks emerging from the datacenter-to-cloud environment into one that incorporated hybrid cloud, remote workers, IoT devices, and multiple edge deployments. To address the fluid and ephemeral nature of this new MCN world, his team developed the Graphiant Network Edge.

This product deploys a “stateless core routing approach” that works like a router and firewall in one, without the need to encrypt and decrypt packets. Instead, it establishes routing as a core function in the cloud, which in turn tags remote devices with packet instructions. All of this is provided as-a-service.

Success came early to Graphiant. "The reaction to Graphiant's network edge has been swift and enthusiastic," stated Raza in a press release. "It has been much faster than what we saw with MPLS at Cisco or SD-WAN with Viptela. Graphiant has hit a nerve.” The startup has partnerships with AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, IBM, and Intel, among others. It also has impressed a range of telcos – a development that initially surprised Graphiant’s management.

Khalid Raza (third row, center) with his core team. Source: Graphiant

Playing to Its Strengths

Graphiant is intent on growing an ecosystem of strong support in it its sales efforts. It chose to go to market 100% via channel partners, a step aimed at improving its products’ chances to reach a broad and deep customer base without taxing Graphiant’s resources. Early this month, the company launched a Graphiant G-Force Partner Program to govern this strategy.

Graphiant also has picked an impressive raft of managers for the C suite. In addition to Raza, included are chief product officer Ali Shaikh (ex-Cisco Meraki, Viptela) and Woody Sessoms, a 25-year Cisco veteran executive who came out of retirement to take the job of chief business officer. This re-assembly of people who worked together successfully at high levels of responsibility should contribute to Graphiant’s ongoing success.

While the market for MCN is still evolving, there’s no time to lose. Competition is on the rise from startups such as Prosimo (also a Futuriom 50 pick), where another Viptela veteran, Ramesh Prabagaran, who led product development at Viptela, has led a similarly qualified team since 2019. Prosimo has raised $55 million in two rounds funded by Blackrock, General Catalyst, and others.

Graphiant’s Series B round was led by Two Bear Capital with participation from Sequoia Capital, Atlantic Bridge, Harpoon Venture Capital Partners, and others.

Startup Profile: Graphiant

HQ location: San Jose, California

Employees: 88 on LinkedIn

CEO: Khalid Raza (ex-Viptela, Cisco, Hewlett Packard)

Target market: enterprise multicloud networking; cloud-native MPLS and SD-WAN alternative; edge connectivity

Prominent investors: Two Bear Capital, Sequoia Capital, Atlantic Bridge, Harpoon Venture Capital Partners

Funding raised to date: $96 million (through Series B)