Steve Mullaney has massive plans in store for his fast-growing cloud networking and security company including hitting the public markets within the next 18 months and reaching over $3 billion in annual revenue in five years.

“We are going to be bigger than Cisco,” said Aviatrix’s president and CEO Mullaney, a longtime industry leader who came out of retirement a few years ago. “Because cloud is going to be 10-times bigger than the market that Cisco had to generate. The opportunity is 10-times bigger. That’s why people like me come out of retirement because this is the biggest wave I’ve ever seen. … We are going to be the architectural standard for networking in the cloud.”

Aviatrix is doubling its revenue every year, winning dozens of new Fortune 500 customers each year, hiring hundreds of net new employees, and recently raised $200 million in a single funding round.

“In five years, we’ll be doing more than $3 billion in revenue, probably have a $50 billion in market cap,” said Mullaney. “We’ll be a horseman of the new infrastructure.”

Aviatrix All-In On Multi-CloudADVERTISEMENT

Aviatrix’s founder and chief technology officer, Sherry Wei, created her Santa Clara, Calif.-based company in 2014 after a long career at Cisco with the belief that cloud networking is much different from data center networking for enterprises.

[Related: Former VMware Star Sanjay Poonen Becomes CEO Of Cohesity] 

Aviatrix secure cloud networking is software-deployed and directly programs native cloud constructs to maintain the simplicity and automation unique to each cloud provider, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Oracle Cloud and Alibaba Cloud.

Aviatrix then injects advanced networking, security, automation, and day-two operational visibility for enterprises using one or more public clouds.

“Cloud service providers do very primitive networking functionality. Each cloud is different. Enterprises need somebody to give them advanced services that layer on top of the primitive stuff that the cloud providers give,” said Mullaney. “And more importantly, give them one architecture that they can do multi-cloud with, because they’re not going to have five different architectures.”

The ‘Next-Generation Of Cisco’

Aviatrix simplifies multi-cloud networking for enterprises who are currently forced to use “primitive networking services” and “low-level native constructs” from the cloud providers, Mullaney said.

“There’s two things that every enterprise needs more than anything else: visibility and control. Visibility first. Then they have to control the security, control the performance, control the cost—if you don’t give them ability to have that visibility and control, they’re flying blind,” he said. “Think of us as the next generation of Cisco. We’re not a better Cisco, we’re a different Cisco.”

Aviatrix customers get to have a cloud-native operational model as well as the visibility and control needed from a networking and network security perspective.

Mullaney said typical enterprises have many different business units who each use different clouds, such as AWS, Azure and Google Cloud.

“You can’t have five different architectures for networking and security. You need one that abstracts away all the details underneath. Because there’s no way you’re going to have enough people that are going to understand AWS, Azure, Google, Oracle, Alibaba cloud, etc.” said Mullaney.

“We abstract that away so you don’t need to know the low level details,” he said. “So it looks like one network to our customers. They go, ‘Oh this is great. I can handle that.’ It’s all infrastructures as code, it’s all very software-defined, and very cloud-like where you’re not manually managing things.”

Steve Mullaney Is A Driving Force

Mullaney was the CEO of software-defined networking pioneer Nicira, which was acquired by VMware in 2012 for $1.3 billion. Nicira’s technology became VMware’s flagship networking solution NSX.

Over his IT career, he also held titles including Interim CEO of Palo Alto Networks; vice president of marketing for both Blue Coat Systems and Force10 Networks; as well as general manager of VMware’s networking and security business unit.

He retired in 2014, but returned in 2019 to become president and CEO of Aviatrix as demand for cloud computing started to explode which created a complex IT environment for enterprises.

“Humans cannot comprehend the enormity and the scale of cloud computing. You know it’s big, but it’s far bigger than anybody things,” he said.

With Mullaney at the helm since 2019, Aviatrix has gone from a few million in annual recurring revenue sales and about 100 SMB customers, into a $100 million company with over 600 customers, including 68 of the Fortune 500 companies. The company is on pace to double its sales in 2023, he said.

$200 Million Funding Round

In September, Aviatrix raised $200 million in a funding round led by private equity firm TCV.

The funding round, which Aviatrix will use to hire even more employees and for marketing purposes, elevated Aviatrix’s valuation to $2 billion.

Additionally, the company recently hired industry veteran Michael Welts as its new chief marketing officer. Welts was a founding member and CMO of cloud storage company Wasabi Technologies for the past five years. He also led marketing at networking software startup Plexxi, which was acquired by Hewlett Packard Enterprise in 2018.

“I have very quickly realized just how determined and enormously passionate the people are here about defining the multi-cloud era,” said Welts, who has more than 30 years of IT experience in a statement. “They’re not just taking the lead in creating a game-changing cloud networking technology, they are redefining the cloud networking industry, and all bets are on Aviatrix winning the race. … Someone is going to become the ‘Cisco’ of the multi-cloud era, and we believe it will be Aviatrix.”

With demand for cloud solutions and multi-cloud services skyrocketing, Mullaney is more than bullish about his company’s future.

“We have 600 customers, but what about the other 10,000 enterprise customers? They’re in a lot of pain right now,” he said. “Eventually what will happen is those will become our customers.”

“We’re at a $2 billion valuation. We’ll be IPO in a year and a half timeframe,” he said. “And we haven’t even really started.”LEARN MORE: Cloud Platforms  | Cloud Security  | Network Security  | Network-Systems Management 

 Learn About Mark Haranas


Mark Haranas is an assistant news editor and longtime journalist now covering cloud, multicloud, software, SaaS and channel partners at CRN. He speaks with world-renown CEOs and IT experts as well as covering breaking news and live events while also managing several CRN reporters. He can be reached at [email protected].


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