Cloud Networking Start-Up Pertino Scores VC Funding


Pertino Networks, a start-up in the quickly crowding field of companies focused on cloud-based networking, this week said it had closed $8.85 million in funding that will go toward expanded engineering and go-to-market resources.

Norwest Venture Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners participated in the Series A round -- the first publicly disclosed venture capital infusion for the months-old company.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Pertino was founded in 2011 by a team of networking and security veterans, including Craig Elliott, former CEO of Packeteer and former international general manager of Apple's Internet and and online services business, and now Pertino's CEO.

[Related: SDN Growth Among 10 Networking Predictions For 2012]

"The cloud and as-a-service delivery models have transformed the IT landscape from a computing, storage and application perspective while, at the same time, the network paradigm has changed little," Elliott said in a statement. "As a result, networks that once enabled businesses now constrain them when it comes to harnessing the disruptive capabilities and economies of the cloud. Pertino Networks was founded to radically simplify and alter the economics of business networks by bringing them into the cloud era."

Pertino is the latest in a series of start-ups that have formed around the so-called software-defined networking (SDN) trend -- a group of companies that broadly includes network virtualization upstarts such as Nicira and OpenFlow protocol proponents such as Big Switch Networks. Both have veteran networking, security, data center and infrastructure executives and engineers among their ranks.

SDN is a market expected to draw plenty of VC interest. Researcher In-Stat last year pegged the spend by U.S. businesses on cloud and managed hosting services as reaching more than $13 billion by 2014, more than one-third of which will be Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).

"Networks have evolved little over the past decade, yet everything they connect has changed dramatically," said Barry Eggers, managing director at Lightspeed Venture Partners, in a statement. "We see Pertino Networks at the forefront of a new generation of software-driven and cloud-enabled platforms that will finally give cloud parity to business networks."

Most of the networking space's marquee vendors also have started to outline SDN- and cloud-related networking strategies, including Cisco, which is heavily rumored to be involved with an SDN startup called Insiemi that's been described as a potential "spin-in" for Cisco to later acquire.

Little is thus far known about Pertino's planned products and services. Its co-founders include Elliott; former Blue Coat engineering director and Lingoloco founder Scott Hankins, now Pertino's CTO and vice president, engineering; former Tellabs, Blue Coat and Packeteer engineer Andrew Mastracci, now Pertino architect; and former Juniper product strategy and management consultant and Blue Coat senior manager Michael Cartsonis, now Pertino's vice president, marketing and business development. Thirteen total employees are listed on Pertino's Web site.

A number of well-known technology executives such as former Stratacom CEO Steve Campbell, former Ascend Communications CEO Rob Ryan, former Apple and Sun Microsystems CFO Joe Graziano, and Sequoia Ventures special limited partner Gaurav Garf also participated in the Pertino funding round.