CRN Exclusive: Big Switch Networks Raises $30 Million To Scale And Expand Channel

Software-defined networking specialist Big Switch Networks has raised $30.7 million in funding with plans to scale and expand its channel partners and strategic alliances.

"The investment for this round is going to be concentrated and focused on how we scale the company from a go-to-market channel point-of-view," said Big Switch CEO Douglas Murray, in an interview with CRN.

The privately-held Santa Clara, Calif.-based vendor announced on Wednesday it secured $30.7 million to support further sales, product and geographical expansion with financing from Dell Technologies Capital, Silverlake Waterman, MSD Capital, Intel Capital and an unnamed Tier 1 service provider, to name a few. The company has now raised more than $120 million to date.

[Related: Big Switch Networks CEO 'Bullish' About Dell EMC Partnership; Talks White-Box Networking Momentum and New $30 Million Funding]

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"What we're really excited about is in the past 18 months, we've been growing incredibly fast and as a result, we're now at a point where this round is primarily based in looking at what we do from the investment perspective to really continue to build out our sales channel and strategic alliance investments," said Murray. "As we continue to grow, we do very little direct, the push of our company is to do anything we can in partnership with the channel."

Murray said business has doubled over the past 12 months thanks to greater adoption of open, white-box networking where customers can buy the hardware and software separately.

Chris Becerra, president and CEO of Terrapin Systems, a San Jose, Calif.-based solution provider and Big Switch partner, said the open networking approach is receiving "more and more traction each and every day."

"We have multiple customers that are looking to deploy the technology in 2018," said Becerra. "Although we haven’t seen huge revenue numbers with these types of solutions yet, I expect that to change by the end of the year."

Becerra said he has high hopes that the $30 million funding will enable Big Switch to expand their channel organization "so they better drive regional partner campaigns and regional partner revenue."

In June, Big Switch hired Claudio Perugini as its new vice president of worldwide channels. Perugini was previously executive vice president of worldwide sales at LightCyber, which was acquired by Palo Alto Networks in February. He also spent nearly five years at competitor Gigamon as vice president of sales in the Americas.

"[Perugini] has been hard at work putting together a comprehensive strategy for our channel play and looking at what we can do to effectively scale and get much broader in the ecosystem – both on the strategic side with companies like Dell, but very importantly in terms of what we do with distribution and VARs," said Murray.

Murray said his company has been working on revamping partner programs around training, certifications and MDF. "We're working through the program and program timeline so we'll be in the position to launch that later this year," he said.

For the first time, Big Switch made it onto Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Data Center Networking in 2017, dubbed a 'visionary' in the space. Big Switch's flagship products include its network packet broker Big Monitoring Fabric, and data center switching Big Cloud Fabric. The vendor's software runs on top of hardware from vendors like Dell, Accton and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, to name a few.

Murray said Big Switch will be "incredibly focused" on increasing its US market presence over the next year, and then look at channel expansion abroad in geographies such as Japan, Australia and the U.K.