& cplSiteName &

UNVEILED! California's Hottest SDN Startup, Versa Networks

Mitch Wagner
2/19/2014
50%
50%

Light Reading has uncovered California's hottest stealth software-defined networking (SDN) startup, Versa Networks , a company founded by Silicon Valley networking royalty and backed by one of the biggest venture capital names in communications technology.

Versa, made up of former Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) executives, is currently in stealth mode, but we've found out that the company is working on a new software management system designed to bridge the datacenter and WAN (wide area network) to create a single virtual network that spans from the customer premises to the cloud.

Versa is looking to streamline the management of end-to-end connections by eliminating the need to switch between different networks to connect customers to the cloud. Companies would be able to use the same management tools and support staff for the LAN and WAN.

If Versa can deliver on its dream, that could be a huge deal for communications service providers (CSPs), as their future depends on the efficient delivery of services and applications from datacenter/cloud platforms across their managed networks to their customers' premises and devices.

"That's the Holy Grail they're working toward," said a former colleague of the founders, who spoke with Light Reading on condition of anonymity.

Versa's Santa Clara, California, Headquarters
Viewed from Google Earth. We have helpfully highlighted key features of the office. You're welcome!
Viewed from Google Earth. We have helpfully highlighted key features of the office. You're welcome!

In pursing this dream, Versa puts itself into competition with networking superpowers Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Juniper, and more. (See SDN's Northbound Ascent, Embrane Helps Cisco Build Its SDN Strategy, and Blessed Are the SDN Switchmakers.)

But Versa, under the leadership of co-founders Kumar and Apurva Mehta, has the brains to do it.

"The Mehta brothers" -- that sounds like they should be James Bond supervillains, complete with a white cat. But these siblings are engineering geniuses who previously plied their trade at Juniper Networks, where Kumar was VP of engineering and Apurva the CTO and chief architect for the mobility business unit.

"Those guys I would say are among the top networking engineers in the valley," said a former colleague of the Mehtas, who also requested anonymity. "They built the Juniper MX core switch from start to finish. [That's] a billion-a-quarter business for Juniper. There are very few people in the industry who have the mind to wake up every single morning and think all day and every day about how you move packets. That's what they do." (See Juniper Primes Its Edge Router Lineup.)

He noted that Sequoia Capital invested $14.4 million in Versa, "which is a huge Series A." He added, "Series A are usually two-handed deals with two VCs. But Sequoia didn't want anyone else, so they took it all."

Next page: Versa's plan and open positions.

(9)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
pjbclarke
50%
50%
pjbclarke,
User Rank: Lightning
2/21/2014 | 5:11:33 PM
Re: This is going to shake things up....
Looks like the investment was made in 2012 http://venturebeat.com/2012/11/27/vice-or-versa-either-way-stealth-networking-startup-gets-14-35m/
R Clark
100%
0%
R Clark,
User Rank: Blogger
2/20/2014 | 1:20:21 AM
Nice day
The Sequoia guys must be feeling good today with their SDN play getting quality Light Reading airtime, but owning a piece of WhatsApp probably helped.
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
2/19/2014 | 3:52:32 PM
Re: Memories
Sam

Mobile taxi apps are about the most dotcom-ish things on wheels right now. Look at the amount of money thrown at them in 2013: http://www.lightreading.com/services-apps/mobile-services/mobile-services-are-next-uber-trend/a/d-id/705859
sam masud
50%
50%
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/19/2014 | 3:24:01 PM
Memories
Every time the words "hot" and "SDN" are attached to a vendor (particularly one that apparently hasn't sold anything) I feel nostalgia for the old dotcom days.
Steve Saunders
50%
50%
Steve Saunders,
User Rank: Blogger
2/19/2014 | 1:45:52 PM
oh wow
An exclusive story about business, technology, the technology of business, and people - with a laugh out loud snort coffee thru your nose humorous graphic? Hmmmm.

1. I feel like i just got transported back 12 years (so why aren't I thinner?)

2. Best story I've read on LR this year... kudos and points, Mitchell.

 

 
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
2/19/2014 | 12:52:07 PM
Pursuing the Holy Grail
Versa's area of focus is intriguing - streamlining end-to-end management of network connections is, indeed, the Holy Grail. 

It will be interesting to see what they bring to the party as a start-up, not having to deal with any particular set of hardware or legacy systems. 
Sarah Thomas
50%
50%
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
2/19/2014 | 11:04:19 AM
Now hiring?
Your post is going to help Versa in its recruiting efforts. Bear-fighting, bowling, and UFOs?? Startups always have the coolest digs.
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
2/19/2014 | 10:23:23 AM
More ex-Juniper staff...
The apparent exodus of technologists from Juniper is fueling the SDN revolution.
Ray@LR
0%
100%
Ray@LR,
User Rank: Blogger
2/19/2014 | 10:17:28 AM
This is going to shake things up....
If the Mehta brothers are as gifted as Sequoia's backing suggests, this could make some network operators very excited and some other vendors very nervous... 
From The Founder
NFV's promises of automation and virtualization are intriguing, but what really excites service providers is the massive amount of money they could save.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
VMWare VP Brings Women Up With Her

8|16|17   |   6:49   |   (1) comment


It's an art and a science to make mentorship, inclusive leadership, diversity and promotion of high-potential women work, says Honore' LaBourdette, vice president of Global Market Development at VMWare.
LRTV Documentaries
5G Spectrum Wars – The Recap

8|15|17   |   2:22   |   (0) comments


Service provider 3 has filed a lawsuit against Ofcom over 5G spectrum auction in the UK.
LRTV Custom TV
Say What? Facebook Unleashes AI Anarchy – The Recap

8|7|17   |     |   (0) comments


A recap of the week's talking points on Light Reading's sister site, telecoms.com. Facebook AI programmers had a bit of a brain-fade as they allowed one of its AI applications to invent its ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu's Women Band Together to Help Girls Do STEM

8|2|17   |   9:35   |   (1) comment


Supporting women both inside and outside of Fujitsu is a top priority of the telecom vendor. Yanbing Li, Fujitsu Network Communication's director of System Software Development & Delivery, shares why it's important, but why there's still a long road ahead.
LRTV Custom TV
If You're Not First, You're Last – The Recap

7|31|17   |   08:18   |   (1) comment


In case you missed it, Amazon's 1% stock increase helped Jeff Bezos dethrone Bill Gates as the richest man in the world. Also, Taiwanese electronics manufacturer
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Tech President Preps Workforce for the Future

7|26|17   |   5:47   |   (10) comments


AT&T is focused on the software-defined network of the future and is reskilling its workforce to get ready too, according to AT&T's President of Technology Development Melissa Arnoldi.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment


Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment


At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon VP Talks Network, Career Planning

7|12|17   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Heidi Hemmer, vice president of Technology, Strategy & Planning at Verizon, shares how bold bets and the future of tech define her career.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Masergy's NFV Journey

7|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Watson, vice president of global technology at Masergy, discusses the advantages and challenges in entering the still-maturing NFV market for the past three years.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Intel CEO Leaves Trump Biz Advisory Board
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/15/2017
Are Cord-Cutting's Days Numbered?
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 8/14/2017
Analyst Nolle: Fundamental Errors Plague NFV
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/11/2017
Snapchat Misses Estimates, Eyes Reality Shows
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 8/11/2017
ATIS: Connected Car Security an Industry-Wide Issue
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/10/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Animals with Phones
We Know a Tough Day When We See One Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.