Today we announced a growth investment round of $50 million led by GV (formerly Google Ventures), with participation from one new investor, Thomvest Ventures, plus all of our existing investors. More than three years after our last investment of $35 million with phenomenal market adoption and still more than half of the investment untouched, why would we raise another round? To take the company to the next level and in that process be willing to make new mistakes.
We started ThousandEyes because we realized the importance the Internet would play in shaping both consumers and enterprises. Nobody really understood how to decode this complex best-effort public environment, especially as companies moved (and continue to move) to the cloud and rely on the Internet for delivering a great digital experience. We wanted ThousandEyes to help companies and individuals to see the Internet like it was their own private network and kept challenging ourselves to tackle this problem with:
- smarter data collection
- innovation to extract intelligence from the data
- creative ways to visualize and interact with the data
Our goal was to make it look so incredibly easy, in spite of the vast complexity of the Internet, and to empower our users to be in control like never before. Today, we consider ourselves very fortunate to be trusted by the best brands in the market and are committed to continuing to make our customers more successful and our investors that backed us have also played an important role in our journey.
Why venture money at all?
We’ve taken a non-traditional funding path since the beginning; it all started with a modest $150K grant from the NSF, focus on building the first product and driving revenue through customer acquisition and growth. I have always believed investments are for scaling and not for surviving. For every round we raised, we used the investment to push a thesis we had on taking the company to the next level. Since our last round in February 2016 we have come a long way, strengthening our product portfolio, bringing strong individuals and leaders into the company, refining our customer acquisition and Go To Market (GTM) motion and accelerating our top line.
As we scaled the business, we made quite a few mistakes—for example thinking we could scale primarily by building a high velocity inside sales model when our sales process involved evangelizing a new solution for a new cloud-centric world. We offered a self-serve version of ThousandEyes to reduce sales friction and found out that customers did not understand their new environments enough to really do it on their own without help from us. We learned from these mistakes (and others) quickly and made some bold decisions on what we felt were the right things to push on. As we were wrapping up our year, we were seeing clear signs of the start of a different phase in the company—CIOs and CTOs directly involved with the ThousandEyes data and insights, a clear sense of urgency to apply our technology to their key initiatives around cloud adoption and digital transformation, and an increase in new customer business that toppled earlier records like never before. It felt like we had indeed figured out a lot of the recipe to go broad, go big and bring ThousandEyes to the wider market by making more investments on our side on all fronts, especially product and GTM.
Why Google Ventures as a Lead
In thinking of a partner for this phase, we wanted a team that had immense belief in our vision, backed market-changing technologies and yet would challenge us to think differently. Dave Munichiello and the GV team fit that bill perfectly, with a strong passion around the problem we solve and our solution, plus a proven ability to push us to think differently based on various conversations we’ve had over the last 3 1/2 years since I first met Dave. Once we started exploring our plans ahead together we knew that partnering even more closely with Dave and GV was the right way to enter this new phase for ThousandEyes. As we were putting the round together with the good fortune to be oversubscribed, we also got to know the folks at Thomvest Ventures. We found Umesh Padval and the team there to have strong instincts and a clear investment strategy in the Infrastructure space. We felt there was a great mutual fit from the numerous conversations had over a short period of time, which led to Thomvest being brought in as part of this round too.
The Journey Ahead
I always tell our employees: funding in and of itself is not something to celebrate; it’s the results we’ll be able to achieve with the funding that will be celebration-worthy. It’s about realizing that now more people believe in you and have put their reputation on the line by investing their money and supporting your thesis. It’s our responsibility to return their trust in the form of stellar results and together make the company a market-defining one. I am super excited to take on this challenge of taking ThousandEyes through the next phase of growth and impact. We are committed to building a truly amazing company—one that relentlessly invests in our technology and people with a mission to enable our customers to achieve extraordinary results and thrive in today’s hyper-connected world. And during this next phase of rapid growth, as we learn to navigate uncharted waters, we’ll inevitably make some new mistakes, and that’s fine as we’ll learn from those too, and learn quickly. So, here’s to this new phase of growth at ThousandEyes, and to making new mistakes!