Today is a big day as we announce our plans to join forces with Cisco. I have been asked about our exit strategy many times. I have never liked that question. We’ve never had an exit strategy, and I used to say my exit strategy is “to not have one.” Even an IPO is not an exit to me—it’s just a new phase for the company. So our strategy has been to keep growing and to make decisions that were healthy for the long term. While some folks may argue that this is an exit, it’s not in my mind. We decided to become part of Cisco because we saw the potential to do much more, much faster, and truly create a legacy for ThousandEyes. It’s a great outcome no doubt for employees and investors, but we also made this decision knowing this would be a great outcome for our customers—whose best interests have always been at the center of every decision we make at ThousandEyes.
From Research To Reality
After our Ph.D.s at UCLA, Ricardo and I started ThousandEyes in 2010, with almost no work experience and a small NSF grant of $150K. Our vision was that the Internet will be the central nervous system for digital experience and that we could help organizations visualize the Internet like their own private environment. We spent the first year building the first version of our product, signed up some key customers, and brought revenue in to start growing. Since then, we’ve raised four rounds of funding from phenomenal investors, each round based on a clear intention to scale rather than survive. We signed up amazing customers including 80+ F500 companies and 150+ of the G2000—all possible due to our 400 stellar employees—and just a few short months ago we closed our fiscal year passing $100M in contract bookings. We have grown every single year, have never done layoffs and I could not be prouder of what we have achieved as a team. Yet, as founders, we still yearned for more—to increase our impact like never before.
In the last couple of years, we started to see two distinct themes in our customer conversations:
- Can you collaborate with APM vendors such as AppDynamics and provide a true end-to-end view?
- Can you make the unique intelligence you have on the Internet feedback to my network to make smarter decisions?
In our customer base, we kept running into AppDynamics on the application side and Cisco products on the network side and naturally started having conversations on collaborating with both sides of Cisco to formulate a strong joint vision. It was during these conversations over the last 12 months or so, that the two companies have gotten to know each other and developed a strong sense of mutual respect. Cisco’s excitement about what we were doing and how it complements Cisco’s strengths has been evident in every conversation across different parts of the organization.
Fast forward to today, after many interactions with Danny Winokur, Scott Harrell, Todd Nightingale and their teams, and getting to see their vision and commitment on how ThousandEyes can complement Cisco, I was convinced that together, we could fundamentally change the impact trajectory that ThousandEyes has on the market. We could not think of a better option for a better-together story. We could truly make it a Thousand times ThousandEyes—A Million Eyes!
What To Expect
From the beginning, our goal has been to empower customers to see the Internet and Cloud like it’s their own environment, and it has always been important to us that the people behind the product are just as valuable to our customers as the product itself. We want our customers to feel like ThousandEyes employees are an extension of their team, and are obsessed with making them successful. That culture of our commitment to innovate and continue to support every customer with the same fervor will stay the same as it has from day one.
We are incredibly excited to make our intelligence even more actionable with tie-ins to Cisco products on the network and application side. ThousandEyes will continue to be agnostic to underlying implementations so our customers can benefit from it no matter what vendors you use. And yes, we will continue to make those awesome T-shirts—that was the first term we negotiated.
A HUGE Thank You To Our Customers and Partners
There are so many people that have made this journey possible. The only reason we got past our first year was because of our early customers and partners who believed in us when we were just a founding team. As we grew, our customers became the cornerstone of our continued success and I am deeply grateful to each and every one of them and our partnership. I promise you that the next phase will be even more rewarding for both of us.
A HUGE Thank You To Our Employees
No amount of venture investment will result in a great company without awesome people, our superhero employees. I could not be prouder of the team we have, what we have accomplished and how we have done it, holding our heads high and always doing the right thing, even when it’s not easy. Along the way, we have also had a lot of fun, not afraid to see the lighter side of every stressful situation. Words can’t express how lucky I feel to have such an awesome crew and this is a huge thank you to my employees both present and past for making the choice to be a part of ThousandEyes and shape our journey. Even more amazing adventures await us.
A HUGE Thank You To Our Investors & Board
I am incredibly grateful to my board and investors who put faith in us. Carl Eschenbach & Aaref Hilaly (Sequoia Capital), Stefan Dyckerhoff (Sutter Hill Ventures), Brian Paul (Tenaya Capital), Dave Munichiello (GV), and Godfrey Sullivan, have provided us with a phenomenal board environment to help make the right decisions. Jim Goetz, Sanjit Biswas, Luis Robles, and Mike Tuchen have also all been part of our board in the past, and have provided exceptional guidance to help shape the company. Several others including Jonathan Heiliger (Vertex ventures), Umesh Padval (Thomvest), and Matt Garratt (Salesforce Ventures) have also played an important role.
We started ThousandEyes with a clear objective of setting our own course, uniquely empowering customers, not copying some larger company, but challenging the status quo and building a culture of innovation that goes beyond product and engineering teams. Though my hair has started to turn grey and reduced in volume substantially through our journey, with this announcement on becoming a part of Cisco, I feel the same energy and enthusiasm kicking in that I had when I started the company with Ricardo 10 years ago, except – eating ramen noodles for lunch and building our datacenter in the garage with recycled servers is not in the plan this time around.