ZEDEDA Grabs $72 Million Amid Market Momentum


By: Mary Jander

ZEDEDA has scored $72 million in Series C funding, signaling the renewal of interest in edge management with the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML).

The round was led by Smith Point Capital (which was founded by former Salesforce co-CEO Keith Block) with contributions from a slew of new investors, along with at least nine existing investors (see below). ZEDEDA has raised a total of $127 million since its founding in 2016.

“Our unique and innovative product is powering the explosive demand of ubiquitous edge computing, underpinning our customer’s AI and real-time data analytics initiatives,” stated CEO and founder Said Ouissal, in a press release.

Demand for Edge Computing “Explodes”

CEO Ouissal’s characterization of the edge computing market as “explosive” may not be exaggerated. Demand for AI/ML is ramping significantly in areas such as manufacturing, which require powerful compute capabilities at the edge to support robots, sensors, controllers, and other Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) elements. There is also a wide range of startups in this area looking to support a growing number of enterprises looking for ways to support distributed applications that deploy AI.

ZEDEDA specializes in orchestrating devices and applications associated with edge nodes by providing only the operating system needed to run the application at the edge; there are no runtimes or libraries to slow things down. Zededa also works via its own API with Kubernetes, Docker, and virtual machines to speed up edge applications and reduce operational costs.

No Empty Boast

Ouissal also apparently has cause to boast about his products. Over the past year, the company claims annual recurring revenue grew by 250%, while nodes under management ballooned over 300%. ZEDEDA also is scoring significant customers, including a dozen Fortune 500 firms, along with a big global automaker, which uses ZEDEDA across 70,000 dealerships in 153 countries.

Among ZEDEDA’s customers are also two of its key investors – Emerson and Rockwell Automation. Both are deploying ZEDEDA in manufacturing and industrial applications. Add to that the investment from Porsche Ventures and the claim to have one of the “largest global automobile manufacturers” in its court, and one can draw some interesting conclusions.

Still, there is plenty of competition building from startups that take a range of approaches to the problem. ClearBlade, for instance, also claims multiple customers in the energy, transportation, logistics, healthcare, and other fields. And the company says AI is boosting business big time. “AI is the ‘killer app’ for Edge,” wrote ClearBlade CEO Eric Simone on a recent LinkedIn thread.

Another industry observer who requested anonymity put it this way: “The edge is back!”

Besides Smith Point Capital, the raft of investors in ZEDEDA’s Series C round included new investors Hillman Company, LDV Partners, Endeavor Catalyst Fund, and Forward Investments (DEWA), as well as returning investors Lux Capital, Almaz Capital, Coast Range Capital, Juniper Networks, Emerson Ventures, Chevron Technology Ventures, 5G Open Innovation Lab, Rockwell Automation and Porsche Ventures.

Futuriom Take: ZEDEDA’s big Series C indicates market demand and investor enthusiasm for edge computing and orchestration as enterprises shift to running key AI/ML workloads in distributed environments.