Fresh with $16 million in Series B funding, startup Forward Networks is unveiling a new product called Forward Essentials that will let network operators and engineers have access to the company’s platform for free if they have 50 or fewer network devices. Forward Networks delivers a mathematically accurate software copy of a running network.
Forward Networks Co-founder and CEO David Erickson likens its new offering to the freemium model used by mobile app developers that let customers download their app for free and then pay a fee as their usage increases. He said the company wants to offer its platform to enterprises as a way to drive more usage and let users evaluate the software quickly without making a huge upfront investment. “We think of this as an introductory product into our platform,” he said.
Forward Networks’ software builds a behavioral model of a network and the applications, providing enterprises with a view into the network and any potential problems. The software also helps enterprises improve network efficiency because it eliminates a lot of the manual tasks that can lead to errors and network outages. “If you run a network you have to have access to this information,” said Erickson. “You need configuration info across all the devices. Today, many are manually logging into the devices, and that is a very time-consuming process.”
For companies with more than 50 devices, Forward Essentials will charge $2 per network device per month. “This is a very consumer and enterprise friendly business model,” Erickson said.
Essentials is available for beta testing today and will be generally available in the fourth quarter.
Series B Funding
Forward Networks also has secured $16 million in Series B bringing its total venture capital funding to $27 million. DFJ participated in the round along with Andreessen Horowitz and A Capital Ventures. Andreessen and A Capital were also involved in the Series A round that raised $11 million in 2014.
Erickson said the additional funding will allow the company to hire more engineers as well as increase its marketing and sales team.
The company also announced that its Forward Platform will support VMware vSphere switches on ESXi versions 5.5, 6.0, and 6.5. This will allow enterprises to search complex networks, debug problems, and verify intent and policy correctness in a virtualized environment. “Now we are going further to the edge server platform,” Erickson said.