Google VC arm invests in networking firm Plexxi

Fresh off a $35 million Series D, networking solutions provider raises new capital from GV

Financial trends and news by Ronny Kerr
January 20, 2016
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Plexxi, a networking solutions provider, today announced that it has received a new infusion of funding from the venture capital arm of Google, GV (short for “Google Ventures”).

We reached out to find out approximately how much GV is investing, but Plexxi isn’t disclosing the size of the round. In total, the company confirmed that it had previously raised $83 million across several venture rounds, suggesting to me that the GV investment is a growth-stage round sized at least as large as the company’s last, a $35 million Series D last September.

Previous investors in Plexxi include Lightspeed Venture Partners, Matrix Partners and North Bridge Venture Partners.

While there are plenty of companies in the networking solutions space—Big Switch Networks and Nicira Networks just to name a couple—Plexxi says it has a fresh, more intelligent approach to data centers by taking into account applications and data requirements in terms of business goals, not technology silos in a vacuum. The company focuses on making networks easier to manage, faster to deploy, and scalable by prioritizing the performance needs on the user or application. The technology follows from those needs.

The result is a solution that the company calls “software-defined architecture” in data centers.

The company offers three main products:

  • Plexxi Switches for consolidating data center networks and scaling them out.
  • Plexxi Controller: A software-defined networking (SDN) controller built as a single, global management point for the network, taking into account available resources and application requirements.
  • Plexxi Connect for integrating the network into other existing IT systems and infrastructure to integrate workflow and third-party solutions.

“We are at the dawn of the next great era of IT, the Cloud Builder generation, and Plexxi has developed a transformative data center network solution that promises to become the standard for future public and private cloud agility,” said Plexxi CEO Rich Napolitano in the press release for the announcement.

The company’s newest backer, GV, invests across sectors relevant to Google's interests, including consumer and enterprise technology, life and health sciences, artificial intelligence, and robotics. The firm has previously invested in Uber, Medium, Blue Bottle Coffee, Nest, 23andMe, Slack, DocuSign, and HubSpot.

Though a couple GV portfolio companies naturally exited when Google acquired them, as with Nest in 2014 and Makani Power in 2013, this route isn’t a given. Foundation Medicine (NASDAQ: FMI) and HubSpot (NYSE: HUBS), for example, both exited via the public markets, while iPierian was acquired by pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Plexxi says it will use its new funding from GV to continue scaling its product offering and company operations.

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