Cisco Alum Spin Up A Stealthy AWS Competitor With $278 Million In Backing

Formed by ex-Cisco engineers in 2017, Pensando Systems has emerged out of stealth with a total of $278 million in raised capital to transform data centers of big companies into cloud-friendly systems.

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The startup today announced a fresh infusion of $145 million via a Series C, according to a press release. Investors in this round include Lightspeed Venture Partners and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Other stakeholders from the Series A ($71 million) and B rounds ($62 million) include Goldman Sachs and JC2 Ventures.

On first glance, Pensando just seems like a Cisco-born version of Amazon Web Services (AWS), which many startups use to secure back-end stability and scale rapidly. Pensando describes itself as a “edge-accelerated platform that directly addresses the generational shift occurring as data pushes to the edge of cloud,” and is targeting big companies.

As for AWS, Pensando claims, in a press release that its technology is more advanced, and delivers five to nine times the “improvement in productivity, performance, and scale when compared to current architectures with no risk of lock-in.” (AWS and other cloud platforms generate billions in quarterly revenue. Microsoft and Google sell similar services in the growing IaaS and PaaS spaces.)

The team isn’t new to creating startups that speak the language of big companies trying to transform and innovate. Pensando is led by Mario Mazzola, Prem Jain, Luca Cafiero, Soni Jiandani and Randy Pond.

As TechCrunch notes, the first four individuals have previously built four startups that have been acquired by Cisco. Pond is a former Cisco executive vice president.

Beyond its roots, the company has scored customers and partners such as Goldman Sachs  and HPE (who are both investors) as well as NetApp, and Equinix.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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