The 10 Hottest Networking Startups Of 2023
The hottest networking startups of 2023 focused their energies on the edge, private 5G, multi-cloud networking and SASE.
Networking newcomers are making a name for themselves by going against the grain and coming to market with new ways to approach networking that embrace current trends and customer requirements, such as edge, multi-cloud and private networking.
Edge and private networking startups are wrapping their arms around new kinds of connectivity, including LTE and 5G, to fill in the gaps for enterprises as businesses extend their networks into new places, such as pop-up locations and the outdoors. Longstanding networking and SD-WAN vendors such as HPE Aruba and Versa Networks,are choosing to team with startups because of their fresh takes on private 5G, managed networking offerings and next-generation connectivity options. At the same time, cloud networking upstarts are serving up a new way for enterprises to obtain secure networking through as-a-service- and consumption-based models without breaking the bank. And speaking of breaking the bank, private equity was very interested in the networking startup space over the past year. Many market newcomers raised new rounds of funding to help them expand their reach and continue their innovative work.
From those specializing in multi-cloud-based offerings and Networking as a Service to edge networking and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), here are 10 of the hottest networking startups of 2023.
- Aarna Networks
- Aviatrix Systems
Five-year-old Aarna Networks has been working toward simplifying edge orchestration for enterprises in the form of private 5G and enterprise edge computing application automation software since the company’s inception in 2018. 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 in October closed its oversubscribed Series A financing round with $1.5 million in investments led by LDV Partners, 3Lines, Carat Venture Partners and Nvidia. This brought the company’s total funding to $5 million across three rounds.
Startup Alkira specializes in agentless, multi-cloud networking. The San Jose, Calif.-based company 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 June launched its Alkira Extranet as-a-Service (EaaS) offering. Alkira EaaS uses Akira’s global hyperscale cloud networking infrastructure so that customers can instantly connect a variety of enterprise-class B2B applications and resources, establishing any mode of on-premises and cloud connectivity. This service lets enterprises connect their customers, partners and third parties seamlessly and safely across highly distributed IT environments and multi-cloud networks. 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 carved out its niche in the secure, cloud-first 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 solution providers that aren’t tied to the on-premises networking world. According to Aviatrix, the company has doubled its revenue every year since its start in 2018. Due to its sizable growth, the company in July brought on Doug Merritt, Splunk’s former CEO, as its new CEO to take the now-larger company to the next level, Aviatrix told CRN.
Upstart Celona burst onto the networking scene in 2020 with a platform that lets enterprises build and deploy 5G/4G LTE private networks, which filled a major gap in the wireless connectivity market at the time, especially with interest around private networking increasing for channel partners and enterprises alike.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company goes to market via a strategic partnership with HPE Aruba 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 latest,and oversubscribed $60 million Series C funding round.
Celona in September launched a neutral-host private wireless platform that can integrate with service providers, and the company announced it was certified to work with T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network.
Edgio was created as a result of the 2022 Limelight Networks acquisition of Edgecast Networks, a subsidiary of Yahoo and provider of content delivery network and video streaming services.
Today, Phoenix-based Edgio helps companies deliver online experiences and content faster, safer and with more control via its developer-friendly, globally scaled edge network and application and media solutions, according to the company. The upstart’s specialties include content delivery, AppOps, edge-enabled software solutions, cybersecurity, over-the-top and edge computing, the company said.
Networking specialist flexiWAN comes to market with what it calls the world’s first Open Source SD-WAN and SASE service that is “democratizing” the SD-WAN and SASE space. 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, which emerged from stealth in 2019, is working with a variety of channel partners, including systems integrators and solution providers, VARs and MSPs.
Edge networking upstart Graphiant emerged from stealth mode in 2022 ready to take aim at market incumbents like Cisco Systems and other competing SD-WAN players. The networking newcomer is delivering what it refers to as 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 said it’s solving a big networking problem that existing SD-WAN players are not listening to—increasingly distributed workloads and network complexity that are in turn creating more complexity and security issues for businesses.
San Jose, Calif.-based Graphiant, led by a Viptela founder, told CRN it will do all its business through the channel. The company in March raised $62 million in Series B funding led By Two Bear Capital with participation from Sequoia Capital, Atlantic Bridge, Harpoon Venture Capital Partners and others.
Six-year-old privately held Macrometa comes to market with its Global Data Network and edge computing platform that lets developers build real-time applications and APIs and helps enterprises solve their complex data problems, according to the company.
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based edge specialist in 2022 revealed a partnership with content delivery network services provider Akamai Technologies that the company said would bring together three infrastructure pieces into one platform. At the same time, Akamai also led the most recent funding round for Macrometa that included participation from Shasta Ventures and 60 Degree Capital.
Networking market newcomer Nile, which specializes in Networking as a Service, 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, and it’s already seeing success: The company said it has tripled its customer base since last year.
Nile launched last year with its partner program, Nile Connect, in tow. The company in August raised $175 million in a Series C funding round, bringing its total funding to $300 million. The Series C round was co-led by March Capital and Sanabil Investments with participation from solutions by stc, Prosperity7, Liberty Global Ventures, 8VC, Geodesic Capital, FirstU Capital and Valor Equity Partners.
After emerging from stealth mode in 2019, multi-cloud networking disrupter Prosimo joined the market 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 earlier this month launched Cross-Cloud Service Connect, a new set of capabilities the company said tackles the technical limitations of hyperscalers’ PrivateLink and endpoint networking by extending it to multi-region and multi-cloud.
Prosimo last year 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. The company in its latest funding round in 2022 raised $30 million in Series B funding.