The latest investment round, which brought Nashua, N.H.-based Plexxi’s total financing from investors to $83 million, is led by a new, undisclosed investor as well as participation from existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Matrix Partners, and North Bridge Venture Partners.
“The focus of this investment is really around our market expansion,” says Plexxi CEO Rich Napolitano. “About a month ago we announced a partnership with Arrow Electronics about being our mass distributor to increase our reach into the enterprise and government markets. That opportunity is going to be fueled by this round of fund raising.”
Napolitano says that Arrow books more than $9 billion across 1,000 partners in the enterprise sector. Plexxi’s goal is to sign up 25 to 50 new reseller partners in the next 18 months. The new partners will work through a two-tier distribution model led by Arrow and supported through a “direct touch” model with Plexxi.
“With each one of these partners we expect to do at least $1 million a year,” Napolitano says. “That’s one of the key ways we scale our business.”
Plexxi offers a data-center network that doesn’t follow the usual leaf-and-spine architecture and is “not defined by its cabling,” Napolitano says. “We use our photonic interconnect between our switches and we use a very intelligent global SDN controller that allows us to really create a software-defined network at multiple levels of the infrastructure.”
Plexxi’s hope is that factors such as Big Data and the Internet of Things will draw customers to this kind of dynamic architecture.
Napolitano, who took over as CEO in November, anticipates one more round of funding before the company would consider filing for an IPO. Citing Arista Networks as an example, he says it typically takes about four years and $150 million in investments to get to that status.
Plexxi’s product roster includes its agile data center offerings, scale-out applications, and distributed cloud-based networks. Plexxi’s products are being used across federal and financial services, education, and service provider networks both in the United States and abroad. The company has integrations in place with VMware and Cloudera, among others, as well as an OpenStack integration.