Itential Gets $20 Million, Will Expand SaaS


By: R. Scott Raynovich

Network automation software pioneer Itential has scored $20 million in Series B funding from its principal investor Elsewhere Partners, which the company will use to expand its network automation tools for the enterprise market.

Futuriom has followed Itential for many years, identifying them as a leader in next-generation network automation, using cloud-native techniques such as pre-built application programming Interface (API) integrations to help operators quickly scale up networking infrastructure. Earlier this year, Futuriom named Itential to our Futuriom 40 list of leading startups in the cloud infrastructure segment.

Elsewhere Partners also funded Itential’s $5.5 million Series A round in 2017. The round brings Itential’s total raised to date $25.5 million since its founding in 2014. An Elsewhere-picked executive, Cam McMartin, formerly COO and CFO at identity management SaaS provider SailPoint Technologies (SAIL), is joining Itential’s board, which includes another Elsewhere representative, Kenny Van Zant, along with Itential co-founders Ian Bresnahan, CEO, and Chris Wade, CTO.

Itential Drives into Enterprise

The new round of funding will enable Itential to build out its software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering to target enterprise networks. The timing is good as enterprises struggle to accelerate their digital transformation efforts and adopt automated solutions to tie together hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

Cloud environments are becoming increasingly complex and can no longer be managed by humans. Enterprises are looking to use real-time collection of data, AI, and API abstraction of infrastructure elements to drive automated orchestration and management.

“The idea now is we are managing networking infrastructure with consolidated orchestration and controllers giving us a software interface to the network,” CTO Chris Wade told Futuriom in an interview last year. “That’s the most important thing — having a software representation of the network which can be managed individually.”

It makes sense that Itential, which has had success selling to service providers such as Lumen, will now focus on the enterprise cloud market. Cloud services are playing a more important role in enterprise technology capabilities and services. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the need for enterprises to move to a resilient, cloud-based environment. All this means an increased focus on cloud services and automation. Enterprises will need help connecting to them.

Low-code Integration Approach

In a recent discussion with Itential, executives likened the company's approach to what Terraform does for cloud infrastructure. Itential also sees itself as a valuable tool for IT and network compliance, serving as the linchpin to connect and track network assets and devices, as well as driving integration across the infrastructure. As networks get more complex in hybrid environments, it's getting harder for operations teams to track what's going on -- a theme that's also been struck by multi-cloud networking software startups such as Alkira and Aviatrix.

For Elsewhere Partners, the Itential investment is part of its focus on SaaS tools for enterprise. Elsewhere claims an Operating Advisor network comprising more than 100 C-Suite executives, including experienced enterprise technology operators such as McMartin.

“Itential’s comprehensive low-code approach to network automation saves time and human capital on traditionally cumbersome, manual processes,” said McMartin in a company statement. “We have been impressed with the company’s ability to quickly deliver and showcase value across enterprises of all sizes and its pragmatic approach to product-led growth to address its customer needs.”

Itential’s news also highlights the growing trend toward ecosystem partnerships and consolidation among vendors in this space. For instance, another Futuriom 40 company and potential Itential competitor, HashiCorp, recently made headlines for partnering with Cisco (CSCO) in a Cisco-branded cloud automation solution. Cisco is also a partner to Itential.