5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending March 29, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel, including Keysight Technologies, Meter, Observe, Coro and Intel.

The Week Ending March 29

Topping this week’s Came to Win list is Keysight Technologies for a savvy acquisition in the telecommunications space.

Also making this week’s list are observability technology developer Observe and “all-in-one” cybersecurity provider Coro for impressive funding rounds. Network-as-a-Service specialist Meter makes this week’s list for launching its first partner program. And Intel is here for its plans to expand its AI PC Acceleration Program to provide development resources to small and midsize ISVs building AI PC applications.

Keysight Technologies Swoops In, Acquires Spirent For $1.5B

Keysight Technologies is acquiring U.K. telecommunications company Spirent Communications for nearly $1.5 billion after outbidding Viavi Solutions, which previously had a deal to buy Spirent for $1.3 billion.

“Spirent has a differentiated portfolio, which is a strong fit for Keysight,” said Satish Dhanasekaran (pictured), president and CEO of Keysight, in a statement Thursday. “Keysight’s long-term customer relationships, industry expertise and global reach will help Spirent drive product development and execute on its full potential.”

Viavi had announced a deal earlier this month to buy Spirent for approximately $1.3 billion. But Spirent’s board recently withdrew its recommendation of the Spirent offer. Keysight said that board intends to unanimously recommend Keysight’s cash offer of $1.463 billion.

Keysight and Spirent are focused on enabling IT megatrends across multiple end markets, including communications, aerospace and defense, automotive and enterprise sectors, Dhanasekaran said. In addition, Spirent’s business is aligned with Keysight’s long-term software-centric solutions strategy.

Keysight offers design, emulation and test systems to help engineers develop and deploy more quickly throughout the entire product life cycle. The company targets customers in communications, industrial automation, aerospace and defense, automotive, semiconductor and general electronics markets.

Spirent is a global provider of automated test and assurance systems for networks, cybersecurity and positioning. The company provides products, services and managed solutions that address the test, assurance and automation challenges of technologies such as 5G, SD-WAN, cloud, autonomous vehicles and more.

NaaS Specialist Meter Launches First Partner Program, Nabs Cisco Meraki Sales Leader As Program Head

Network-as-a-Service specialist Meter wins applause this week for launching its first partner program for VARs, consultants, MSPs, distributors and internet service providers. Meter executives told CRN that the new partner program is a critical step in the company’s ambitious plans to have channel involvement in 100 percent of its business opportunities.

Alongside the new partner program, Meter is making investments in channel head count, starting by bringing on Adam Ulfers (pictured) as the company’s new vice president of sales. Ulfers in his new role will lead Meter’s partner program and expand the company’s sales team.

Ulfers hails from Cisco Systems where he spent more than a decade in a variety of roles in both the company’s cloud networking and Meraki business units, most recently serving as Cisco’s vice president of sales, GVSE Americas.

San Francisco-based Meter plans on bringing in a channel chief and a full channel team at a later date, executives told CRN.

The company has been working with partners on an informal basis that came to the company organically, at times, through existing customers. The new partner program will help to formalize the company’s efforts in working alongside channel partners. This will include identifying sales leads and bringing in partners, while providing an easy sales process and partner collateral inside the soon-to-be-launched partner portal, while Meter handles the network infrastructure.

Meter is initially offering sell-through and referral-based models for partners, Ulfers said.

Observe Gains Increased Visibility With $115M Funding Round

Observe, a startup in the hot observability arena, got everyone’s attention this week when it raised $115 million in a Series B funding round that brought its total financing to more than $200 million.

Observe CEO Jeremy Burton (pictured), in an interview with CRN, said the San Mateo, Calif.-based company nearly tripled its revenue in its recently completed fiscal 2024 and plans to use the new funding to expand its sales teams, including technical sales support staff.

Observability systems collect machine data for a range of tasks, including IT performance monitoring and management. Observe’s SaaS platform, for example, helps businesses reduce the time it takes to troubleshoot problems with distributed applications.

Observability has been gaining industry visibility in the last year given Cisco’s just-completed $28 billion acquisition of Splunk and New Relic’s $6.5 billion deal to be taken private.

Investors in Observe’s new funding round included Sutter Hill Ventures, Capital One Ventures, Madrona and—significantly—Snowflake. Observe has built its products on the Snowflake data platform and expects to gain a market advantage through its ability to work with the Snowflake sales team.

Coro To Fuel Surging Channel Growth With $100M Funding Round

Staying on the topic of successful funding rounds, cybersecurity provider Coro wins kudos for collecting $100 million in a Series D funding round this week.

The “all-in-one” cybersecurity tech vendor for SMB and midmarket customers plans to invest heavily in its partner program in connection with the new fundraise, co-founder and CMO Dror Liwer (pictured) told CRN. Coro expects to unveil a revamped partner program in coming months with numerous upgrades for solution and service providers.

Along with the partner program update, the new funding will support the introduction of additional product offerings and continued hiring, helping to maintain a rapid growth pace for Coro, Liwer said. Revenue has more than tripled during each of the past five years and for 2024 the vendor is expecting between 200 percent and 300 percent revenue growth.

Coro’s platform includes endpoint security, email protection and SASE (secure access service edge) offerings, and future areas of expansion could include security awareness training and simulation capabilities, he said.

The $100 million Series D round means the company has raised a total of $255 million over the past 24 months.

Intel Wants To Help Smaller ISVs Make Killer Apps For AI PCs

Intel wins applause for its moves to give smaller independent software developers a boost in making killer apps for the hordes of AI PCs coming to the market this year and beyond.

Intel announced this week that it has expanded its AI PC Acceleration Program to provide development resources to small and midsize ISVs building AI PC applications on top of the large ISVs it started working with when the program launched last fall.

“We want to make it easy and simple for the small ISV, the medium-sized ISV, the individual, the university student to get access to Core Ultra developer kits and get the tools get up and running and start driving innovation because we’re seeing innovation happening [everywhere],” said Todd Lewellen, vice president and general manager of client ecosystem development, at Intel.

The semiconductor giant said the program’s purview has also been extended to support independent hardware vendors. These are companies that build various components for PCs that aren’t processors, such as SSDs, displays, sensors, cameras and touch interface controllers.

With the program’s expansion, Intel is seeking to deliver on its promise that AI PCs will deliver game-changing capabilities and justify the massive investments the chipmaker and other companies in the PC market have made to develop the foundational technologies.