Versa scores $84M in new funding for SASE, SD-WAN

Versa Networks raised $84 million in a Series D funding round, bringing the company’s total amount raised to $196 million. The round was co-led by investors Princeville Capital and RPS Ventures, with additional participation from existing investors, including Sequoia Capital.

The new funding will enable Versa to continue to grow its software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) and secure access service edge (SASE) business.

SASE is actually a blending of SD-WAN with security. The SASE market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 42%, reaching almost $11 billion, with least 40% of enterprises having SASE adoption strategies in place by 2024, according to Gartner, the analyst firm that originally created the acronym SASE.

Versa’s new funding comes on the heels of a record year for the company. Kelly Ahuja, CEO of Versa Networks, told FierceTelecom, “We’ve got over 5,000 customers and over 500,000 branches. We’ve got tens of millions of users using Versa technology somewhere.

The company has also increased its workforce to about 500 employees, and its roadmap calls for adding another 100 employees in the next 12 months.

The customers for its subscription software include about 150 service providers, including Verizon, Comcast, Lumen Technologies and Zayo, just to name a few. Other customers include systems integrators and value-added resellers (VARS) that deliver Versa’s technology to every imaginable type of industry vertical.

Versa’s software

Versa’s SASE provides a software stack that is hardware-agnostic and scales seamlessly for use via the cloud, on-premises or as a blended combination of both. 

“We built something from the ground up that differentiates,” said Ahuja. “We built this stack in which multiple companies would have had to come together with their boxes.” He said Versa’s SASE covers everything from Layer 2 to Layer 7 functions, including switching, routing, SD-WAN and full security.

The software provides a single interface to implement unified corporate security and networking policies.

Some SD-WAN vendors established global point of presence (PoPs) right from the beginning, including Cato Networks and Aryaka. But others, such as Versa, did not.

“Early on when we started, we used our service providers to be able to put us in their PoPs,” said Ahuja. “As the market shifted, we’ve been building out our cloud. Today, we do have a network of PoPs that are interconnected. It’s fully global. We have tons of relationships. We have over 150 service provider partners and also partner with cloud players extensively.”

But he said the company’s architecture around SASE is elastic. “Our fabric allows us to spin up virtual PoPs at any given time. We could have infinite PoPs. We do that as customers need it.”

SASE market

Futuriom analyst Scott Raynovich recently mentioned that Versa is one of the few big SD-WAN players that hasn’t been bought. VMware purchased VeloCloud, Cisco purchased Viptela and HPE picked up Silver Peak, to name the biggies.

RELATED: SD-WAN rides digitization back to high growth — Raynovich

Asked if Versa is shopping itself, Ahuja said, “We’re busy building a fast-growing business. We’re continuing to grow it. We’re a standalone company with scale and focused on building the standalone business.” 

Amusingly, Versa found in a recent survey that 69% of organizations couldn’t correctly define SASE. (And who can blame them really. The tech industry rivals the government for most lousy acronyms!)

To raise awareness Versa has come up with a SASE certification program, and it published a  book “SASE for Dummies.” 

“There are a lot of good things SASE brings to the table,” said Ahuja. “What we’ve been doing for the past 10 years is very much in line with SASE.”