10 Hot Networking Startup Companies To Watch In 2023

The hottest networking startups of 2023 are focused on the edge, private 5G and cellular networking, and SASE.

All About The Edge

Networking newcomers are proving one thing right now: edge, multi-cloud, and private networking are far from buzzwords.

Startups in this space are making a name for themselves by starting at the edge and harnessing new kinds of connectivity, including LTE and 5G, to fill in the gaps for enterprises. Many businesses have had to extend their networks thanks to a slew of unique use cases over the last few years have demanded connectivity in new places, such as pop-up locations and outdoors.

These upstarts bursting onto the scene are giving some of the largest incumbent networking vendors a run for their money with their hybrid networking solutions that play nice with existing connectivity technology and cloud platforms. But there’s also room for partnership because these companies aren’t trying to be everything to every enterprise. For example, networking and SD-WAN vendors such as Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, and SD-WAN specialist Versa Networks, are choosing to team with startups because of their fresh takes on private 5G, managed networking offerings and next-generation connectivity options.

Many of these players also recognize that businesses are looking for new ways to buy networking, including subscription-based, pay-by-the-drink flavors of edge and private networking, and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) and SD-WAN services.

From those specializing in multi-cloud-based offerings and networking as a service, to edge and private networking, here are 10 hot networking startups of 2023 that are tapping partners to help get the word out on their offerings.

*Aarna Networks










## Aarna Networks

Five-year-old Aarna Networks has been on a mission to simplify edge orchestration for enterprises in the form of private 5G and enterprise edge computing application automation software since the company‘s inception.

Aarna Edge Services, its SaaS platform, provides zero-touch orchestration as a service for edge infrastructure and public clouds. Aarna Edge Services supports compute, storage and network from the edge to the cloud. The San Jose, Calif.-based startup’s primary go-to-market is through channel partners. Aarna has raised a total of $3.5 million in funding with its latest funding raised in December 2021 from a seed round.


Multi-cloud networking upstart Alkira emerged from stealth mode in 2020 with its consumption-based Cloud Services Exchange (CSX), a unified, on-demand offering that lets cloud architects and network engineers build and deploy a multi-cloud network in minutes. Since then, the company has unveiled a collaboration with the Microsoft for Startups program, as well as a deeper relationship with Amazon Web Services, whose Marketplace includes Alkira CSX.

Alkira in 2022 launched Cloud Area Networking, a next-generation networking offering. The offering is a full stack, edge-to-cloud enterprise-grade network with built-in routing and network services, according to the company. Alkira is going to market primarily though channel partners. The company‘s latest funding round in August 2022 raised Alkira’s total funding to $76 million.


Hybrid cloud network startup Aviatrix Systems is carving out a spot for itself in the next-generation networking arena by offering visibility into complex, multi-cloud networks for enterprises asking for cloud-native networking offerings that support new ways of accessing applications through what the company refers to as Intelligent Cloud Networking.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company goes to market with partners and is seeking out those solution providers that aren’t tied to the on-premises world. According to Aviatrix, the company has doubled its revenue every year since its start in 2018 and in August said it planned to hit the public market within the next 18 months and reach more than $3 billion in annual revenue in five years.


Startup Celona burst onto the networking scene in 2020 with a platform that lets enterprises create 5G/4G LTE private networks, which filled a major gap in the wireless connectivity market at the time. Private networking has since become more attractive to channel partners and enterprises.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company goes to market via a strategic partnership with Aruba Networks for the reselling of Celona’s cellular products. Channel-friendly Celona in 2022 launched a new solution provider partner program on the heels of bringing on its first channel chief and closing its oversubscribed $60 million Series C funding round. The partner program, Fanatics, gives resellers, MSPs and systems integrators a formal way to interact with and register private 5G and LTE deals with Celona.


Five-year-old flexiWAN is coming to market with what it calls the world’s first Open Source SD-WAN and SASE service. According to the company, its mission is to meet the needs of service providers and enterprises while avoiding monolithic, vendor-locked networking solutions. Its technology, unlike the competition, offers a centrally managed architecture with open code and standards that has AI baked in. flexiWAN’s solution is offered in a SaaS, pay-as-you go model and a bring-your-own hardware model is available as well.

Israel-based flexiWAN is working with a variety of channel partners, including systems integrators and solution providers, VARs, and MSPs.


San Jose, California-based edge networking upstart Graphiant emerged from stealth mode in 2022 ready to take aim at market incumbents like Cisco and other competing SD-WAN players. The networking newcomer is delivering what it refers to as an MPLS-alternative edge connectivity between the enterprise WAN, hybrid cloud, network edge, customers and partners. Its offering is delivered as a service through the Graphiant Network Edge. The privately held company told CRN in September that it’s solving a big networking problem that existing SD-WAN player are not listening to—increasingly distributed workloads and network complexity that is in turn creating more complexity and security issues for businesses.

Graphiant, led by a former Viptela founder, said it will do all its business through the channel. The company has raised $33.5 million in Series A funding backed by Sequoia Capital, Two Bear Capital and Atlantic Bridge.


SD-WAN-as-a-service upstart ngena’s name is actually an acronym that stands for “next generation enterprise network alliance.” The company says it’s helping to transform secure networking for the era of cloud.

Germany-based ngena in October unveiled a partnership with SD-WAN giant Versa Networks in which the addition of Versa to ngena’s platform will allow customers to choose from leading SD-WAN vendors and design their networks according to their individual needs, according to ngena. The company has raised a total of $285.7 million in funding with its latest round occurring in 2021 in a Series C funding round led by Friends and Founders Round.


Newcomer Nile, a networking-as-a-service startup, exited stealth mode in 2022. The company is the latest brainchild of former Cisco Executive Chairman and CEO John Chambers, alongside co-founder Pankaj Patel, Cisco’s former executive vice president and chief development officer.

The San Jose, Calif.-based startup is entering the market with a “reimagined” wired and wireless service that is delivered entirely as a service. The offering will give channel partners and their midmarket and enterprise customers network simplicity, security and performance while lowering the total cost of ownership.

Nile launched with its partner program in tow, Nile Connect. The company so far has raised about $125 million through Chambers’ investment firm, JC2 Ventures. Other investors include March Capital, 8VC and Iconiq Capital.


Two-year-old upstart OneLayer takes a slightly different approach to the private networking space -- the company focuses on securing private LTE and 5G networks. The Boston-based company believes that most existing security solutions, including firewalls, NAC, IDS/NDR and Asset Management tools, are not applicable in the new cellular connectivity environment. Instead, OneLayer‘s IoT security toolkit and technology can be implemented into enterprises’ private cellular environments.

OneLayer in 2022 launched one of the world‘s first 5G private network security lab that acts as a digital twin to simulate specific threat scenarios posed to an enterprise network, the company said. Also in 2022, OneLayer revealed a $6.5 million equity investment from Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), the venture capital arm of Koch Industries. Part of the investment is going towards expanding the company’s reach through channel partners.


Multi-cloud networking disrupter Prosimo emerged from stealth mode in 2019 with its Application eXperience Infrastructure (AXI) platform that is modernizing and simplifying application delivery and experience across multi-cloud environments. The Prosimo platform can coexist with existing vendors in a customer’s environment or can be used to replace certain tools and features, such as zero trust or cloud peering, according to the company.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based startup in 2022 launched an official partner program aimed at helping cloud-focused partners capitalize on the unprecedented demand for multi-cloud networking, the company told CRN at the time.