Forward Networks lands $50M in Series D funding to help prevent network outages
With millions of people joining the internet every day, the underlying IP networks have to be resilient and scalable. As part of the effort to support future growth and global connectivity of the Internet, the Internet Society launched IPv6 on June 6, 2012, after the exhaustion of the IPv4 address pool, further complicating the IP networks.
As IP networks become increasingly complex and larger, managing them becomes much more difficult. That’s why one startup has developed a platform and a suite of software tools to revolutionize the way large networks are managed.
Enter Forward Networks, a Santa Clara, California-based tech startup that delivers an innovative platform that provides network visibility, and policy verification to help network teams eliminate costly network outages.
Founded in 2013 by a team of PhDs who helped pioneer SDN at Stanford, Forward’s software delivers a digital twin of the network, enabling network operators to ensure that the network is secure, reliable, and agile. Its platform supports devices from all major networking vendors and cloud operators, including AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. With its success, Forward Networks has not gone unnoticed by investors and venture capital firms.
Today, Forward Networks announced it has raised $50M in Series D funding led by MSD Partners, L.P., with participation from new investors Section 32 and Omega Venture Partners as well as existing investors Goldman Sachs Asset Management (Goldman Sachs), Threshold Ventures, A. Capital and Andreessen Horowitz. Forward Networks has raised a total of $112.1M in funding over 4 rounds.
In conjunction with the funding, Foward also announced that Victor Hwang, managing director and co-head of MSD Growth, has joined its board of directors.
Since its last round of funding in 2019, Forward Networks has quadrupled its customer base, opened new headquarters in Santa Clara, California, and extended its development team with an office in Bangalore, India. The company achieved 139% ARR growth from FY2021 to FY2022 while experiencing exceptional customer loyalty demonstrated by a 96% retention rate.
By creating a mathematically accurate digital twin of the network, Forward Enterprise delivers actionable insights that enable network operators to make data-driven decisions, prevent errors and improve overall network security, compliance, and health. The platform supports all major networking vendors, hybrid-cloud, and multi-cloud environments, including AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure.
David Erickson, CEO and co-founder of Forward Networks, said, “We’re creating a new technology category with a product that our customers deem indispensable as soon as it’s implemented. We’re excited to put this capital to work to grow sales and deliver a product that unlocks the power of the data inside everyone’s digital infrastructure.”
“We are exceedingly excited and optimistic about Forward Networks,” said Victor Hwang, managing director and co-head of MSD Growth. “As enterprise network architectures grow and become more complex, the necessity for network security and visibility have dramatically increased. Forward’s robust and scalable platform addresses this large and growing market need unlike anything else we’ve seen. As a flexible, long-term partner, MSD Growth seeks to back exceptional growth businesses with proven unit economics and strong commercial acceptance of their products. We’re thrilled to lead the company’s round of funding and support its next stage of growth.”
“Forward Networks is one of the few companies addressing the multi-vendor, multi-cloud reality of enterprise networks,” said Andy Harrison, CEO and managing partner, Section 32. “By providing network visualization and verification that supports the entire network, its digital twin puts people back in control of the network. The company has demonstrated substantial growth, underscoring the value of its unique approach to modern enterprises.”
“Forward Networks has reached an inflection point in its growth as it innovates across network automation, advanced analytics, and cybersecurity,” adds Gaurav Tewari, managing partner at Omega Venture Partners. “Modern enterprises rely on the company’s category-defining solutions for transformative insights, intelligence, and proactive risk mitigation. Together with Forward Networks, we are excited to leverage Omega’s substantial strategic resources to capture the tremendous growth potential ahead.”
Threshold Ventures has been a financial supporter of Forward Networks since its Series B funding in 2017.
“We saw the potential value of the Forward Networks platform right away,” said Andreas Stavropoulos, partner at Threshold Ventures. “We’ve been impressed by the company’s growth and the expanded platform capabilities that make insightful and actionable network data available to NetOps, SecOps, and CloudOps teams.”