This morning we announced that we closed a $21MM series B minority investment round. This is a significant moment for us as a company, and for the SD-WAN market as a whole. This sizable injection of capital will unlock new resources to help us serve customers and partners even better, and further validates that Bigleaf is solving a huge market need as the world moves to SaaS and cloud.
Improving on a Customer-Proven Solution
The new investment allows us to expand and extend what we’re doing today to serve our existing customers and partners with amazing service and support. We have an industry-leading 95% gross annual retention rate and a base of absolutely thrilled customers. Within that 5% of customers who leave, it’s almost always because they’ve gone bankrupt or are downsizing, not because they don’t like Bigleaf. We are completely dedicated to maintaining customer satisfaction as we scale. We know this won’t be easy, so we’re going to use some of these funds to add more support team members, product management, software QA engineers, and other support staff to make sure that we keep the experience top-notch over time.
Enabling and Expanding our Channels
One of our top priorities with this new funding is investing in our partner channels. For our telecom agent partners, we’ll be enabling them with more educational and support resources to help them sell Bigleaf to tens of thousands more customers. Our success in the telecom channel was built through our relationships with hundreds of forward-looking partners who could see the growing need for a more stable and reliable connection to cloud technologies. For our MSP partners, we’re creating a fully fleshed-out MSP channel program to augment and accelerate the success we’ve had with our early partners. The new funding gives us the ability to extend our reach to more partners in both channels and equip them with the training and resources they need for success.
Finding the Perfect Partner
If someone had asked me 9 months ago about raising another round, we would have told them we weren’t interested right now. We were growing at an incredible rate and were staying focused on operating the business: we’ve now tripled our recurring revenue and company size since our last funding round in January 2018. Then, out of the blue, we started to field an influx of inbound interest from investors.
We realized something was notable about our success in the SD-WAN market. Something exciting. We had built something that was solving a truly un-met need.
SMBs and mid-size enterprises were struggling to address connectivity issues with traditional networking technologies or other SD-WAN solutions. What was available to them on the market wasn’t built for SaaS and public cloud, and couldn’t adapt to the pace of change in today’s business world. People saw that we built a product designed for this future — actually, for today for many businesses — and had proven it by solving these problems for more than a thousand extremely happy customers already.
We knew Bigleaf was on a promising trajectory and could be even more successful with more resources. We also saw a specific opportunity with MSP partners that we hadn’t tapped into at scale, and we saw the opportunity to bring our bigger vision for the next generation of Bigleaf to life. So we agreed to start talking to a few investors. As we considered who we might want to partner with, it was important for us to be able to maintain our Bigleaf way of doing business and who would provide the right kind of support as we scale and navigate challenges. We ended up selecting Updata Partners to lead the round, and we have participation from the Oregon Venture Fund, SeaChange Fund, and several of our other existing investors.
Updata reminds me in many ways of Bigleaf’s culture. They take a strong but humble approach to business (no big egos), they care about capital efficiency like I do, and they bring great expertise and connections. We’re excited about partnering with them on this next era of Bigleaf.
Building for the Future
Beyond taking what we’re already doing to more people, another top priority with this funding is building the Bigleaf of the future. We’re going to be investing significant resources to grow our development and product teams so we can create a new generation of network technology. These resources will also allow us to respond more quickly to the feature requests our community has been feeding us, including faster speeds, more features, and better visibility.
Enterprises both large and small are moving to SaaS and public cloud, and that journey always involves some network risk. We will continue building Bigleaf to serve our customers and partners by giving them peace of mind when they make that move.
Joel Mulkey, Founder and CEO