Business COVID-19 Liquidity Startups

Cisco To Acquire ThousandEyes In Reported $1B Deal

Cisco has announced it is buying network intelligence startup ThousandEyes, which has raised more than $110 million in funding, according to Crunchbase data.

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While the San Jose, California-based tech giant did not disclose how much it is paying for the company, CNBC pegs the amount at “about $1 billion.”

San Francisco-based ThousandEyes describes itself as “Google Maps for the Internet.”

The startup aims to help IT teams see what’s braking or slowing down the paths that their websites, applications or services take to get to their end users, so they can either reroute or get the problem fixed before it impacts their customers.

“Whenever a SaaS application or service goes down or slows down, every minute counts for IT teams to figure out what’s going on before customers start complaining, or worse, going to a competitive service,” ThousandEyes CEO and co-founder Mohit Lad, wrote me via email in 2019. “ThousandEyes helps IT teams ‘see’ into the Internet and cloud to identify the problem immediately, meaning they’re spending their time getting the issue fixed, rather than spending time trying to find what’s wrong.”

Its customers span a variety of industries and include Slack, Lyft, US Bank, eBay, Box, H&R Block and MasterCard.

One has to wonder how much the COVID-19 pandemic had to do with this acquisition. In a blog post, Cisco’s Senior Vice President and General Manager Todd Nightingale wrote: “ThousandEyes provides Internet intelligence at a scale and accuracy never seen before. In a time when every meeting is held and every document is shared through connected applications, the need for ThousandEyes technology has never been so high.”

In a statement, Cisco said it will incorporate ThousandEyes’ capabilities across its core Enterprise Networking and Cloud, and AppDynamics portfolios “to enhance visibility across the enterprise, internet and the cloud.”

Funding history

In February 2019, I covered ThousandEyes’ $50 million Series D round that nearly doubled the amount of funding it had received since it was founded in 2010. That money was raised at a $620 million valuation.

GV (formerly Google Ventures) led the round, which also included participation from Thomvest Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Sutter Hill Ventures and Tenaya Capital. Prior to that, its last raise had taken place in 2016, a $35 million Series C led by Tenaya Capital.

As of February 2019, the company had more than 250 employees spread across its home base of San Francisco and offices in London, Austin, New York and Tokyo. Today, it is estimated to have around 400 employees.

In a blog post, ThousandEyes’ co-founder Lad wrote that ThousandEyes “never had an exit strategy” and that he used to say his exit strategy is “to not have one”

“So our strategy has been to keep growing and to make decisions that were healthy for the long term,” he wrote. “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.”

Today, Thomvest Ventures’ Partner Umesh Padval told me that his firm was “absolutely thrilled to be part of the Thousand Eyes family led by Mohit Lad, a first time CEO and founder after he graduated from UCLA.”

“His story on how he built this company out of college and how scrappy he was on engaging and winning major customers with research grants should be a learning curve for many entrepreneurs around the world,” Padval said.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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