Letter from the CEO: Here’s to the crazy ones…

by Zededa
February 25, 2019

Today I am extremely proud to announce that ZEDEDA has closed a highly oversubscribed $16M Series A round co-led by Energize Ventures and Lux Capital. Our returning investors include Wild West Capital, Almaz Capital, Barton Capital, and several exceptional high-profile angels who have been with us since day one, including industry veteran Ed Zander, former CEO of Motorola and former COO of Sun Microsystems.

The entire ZEDi team is extremely grateful to these investors for their support and faith in our vision: to become the leader in edge virtualization, an essential piece of software that is required by enterprises for their connected operations and for their digital transformation journey.

Flippin’ Incredible

I will forever remember vividly the first days of our company, and the “secret insight”, that we identified right through all the buzz, noise and hype of IoT – as the physical world is getting connected, everything that gets connected will be generating incredible amounts of data.

As a hardcore networking guy, who has been involved with the Internet since its early days, this was a profound insight for me: the main network traffic direction is going to “flip”, and consequently we are going to go from networks that have been built for downloading video content to mobile/home users, to networks that are built for uploading, in order to ingest and process massive amounts of IoT data. It reminded me of the effect that peer-to-peer file sharing networks, like BitTorrent and Napster, had on networks at their time, but MP3 sharing just never got to the scale of what we are seeing happening now with IoT.

This insight led to our next profound insight: with incredible amounts of data flowing into the network, the software that is supposed to make sense of all that data can realistically only run at one place in the network: at the edge, as close as possible to the point of origination of the data. It is simply too expensive to transport all that data to the cloud, or any other location really.

Welcome to what the world has since then started calling edge computing.

Not all edges are created equal: “Edge” for wind turbine operator

The ingestion and processing of this IoT data at the edge are especially critical for enterprises; as they connect their operational assets, their ability to analyze the data that is generated from these assets gives them huge business benefits and competitive advantages.

From customers that now can predict outages and failures of their operational assets weeks or months before they happen to improving and optimizing their supply-chain for just-in-time delivery, all the way to customers now being able for safety and business continuity reasons in real-time be able to adapt to failures and outages – we could write entire books on what we learned talking to hundreds of enterprises since our inception on how they are transforming their business by being able to ingest, process and analyze this data at the cyber-physical edge.

As we talked to enterprises in many verticals, we started to learn from customers in specific advanced verticals like industrial manufacturing, energy and retail, about their very core and basic challenges on delivering on their edge computing initiatives.

And as we engaged deeper with those select customers, we learned that by introducing virtualization at their cyber-physical edge, we could not only address their “short-term” edge control and visibility challenges, but also provide them with a cloud-native edge that is built around zero-trust, supporting and protecting legacy software investments yet ready for cloud-native and AI-based edge apps.

Even more, with our open standards-based approach, they now can build out an edge that does not lock them into any cloud or hardware, which fits right in with their overall multi-cloud and hybrid cloud strategies.

We created ZEDEDA to deliver the edge virtualization software that enables cyber-physical edge innovation at the speed of the cloud. We are delivering the cloud-native edge.

A compelling vision, however, is just one part of a success story…

Vision Without The Right People Is An Illusion

A well-known business proverb is that vision without execution is an illusion. At the end everything, even execution, starts with people. And not just anyone, but a team of people who see the grand vision and understand what it takes to come together not to iterate on what’s existed in the past, but to create something that hasn’t existed before. This is why I pay homage to the famous Apple campaign from years ago – its the “people who are crazy enough to change the world, are the ones who actually do”.

All of it started together with my three co-founders, who each not only represent one of the three core technology DNA strands of the company – operating systems/virtualization, networking/connectivity and cloud/open-source, but also complement each other and myself in every aspect professionally and from a leadership perspective.

The four of us then had to bring in a team and build a culture around the idea that if these industries are going to meet the needs of tomorrow, it will be incumbent on us to execute the vision of the cloud-native edge today. I am thankful for the trust and support of all the team members that joined us during our journey so far, and super excited about the prospect to keep growing the order of the ZEDi’s.

The final piece of this puzzle brings us to today’s announcement: our new investors.

I have had the chance in my career to work with investors across a broad spectrum of company stages and sizes, from as small as starting here at ZEDEDA with just an idea, to all the way working as an executive at a 150,000 employee company like Ericsson, and really any stage and size in between.

That experience taught me that the importance of the relationship between a company and its investors is in direct proportion to the company’s stage: the earlier stage of the company, the more critical the investors role and their involvement is to its success.

From our first meetings with Energize Ventures and Lux Capital, we knew we were talking to extraordinary people, who shared our “crazy ones” values and principles. As we got to know both teams better, we saw that their feedback and suggestions came with a deep caring in supporting our vision and mission. We know building the next big edge software company is a long road, and at the end we became convinced that both Energize Ventures and Lux Capital were the best investors we could ask for – investors that are tremendously complementary to each other, able to help us right now and in the future, guide us but also be there to push us every step of the way of our incredible journey.

Energize Ventures is a firm based in Chicago, with deep connections and knowledge of industrial and energy verticals. Their views of edge computing were perfectly aligned with how we saw the market play out over the next few years, especially in industrial and energy verticals, and their ability to help us drive short-term customer engagements are second to none. Juan, John, Amy and the rest of Energize Ventures make up a phenomenal high-energy team to have on our side, and we are super excited to work with them.

Lux Capital is a deep tech VC based in Menlo Park and New York  City that loves to invest in world-class teams working on really hard and difficult technical problems that will change the world. Their investments fit right into sci-fi, ranging from surgical robotics, autonomous cars, neural interfaces, autonomous ocean surface vehicles, computational biology platforms to ultra-fast drones. With Bilal leading the investment and partnering with us, we could have not asked for a more experienced and smarter investor to have on our side, along with the amazing broader partnership and team at Lux Capital, and we are super proud to add edge virtualization software to their incredible deep tech investment portfolio.

ZEDEDA is now on its way on the next phase of its journey in creating the leading edge virtualization software, which sits at the heart of the cloud-native edge, enabling organizations to have the visibility, control, and security of edge assets needed to unlock the business-impacting potential of connected operations. Organizations can plan on a future free from vendor solution lock-in and data silos thanks to open software, universal standards, and hardware choice.

Thank You

There are so many people to thank for helping us along this mission. To our seed investors and key advisors: thank you for your support since the founding of the company and for helping us embark on this journey of creating a cloud-native edge that extends the innovation we see in the cloud to the enterprise edge.

To the ZEDi Knights who made this happen. I couldn’t ask for a team of smarter individuals to build the foundation of this company with. Your enthusiasm and passion for not just the technology but for creating a unique culture that will endure well past this company’s formation is what truly makes ZEDEDA a special place to be.

To the real “crazy ones” – our loved ones and families who have supported us in these early days. No founding team can create something with such ambition without the home team!

And last but not least, to our current partners and customers who, as true “crazy ones”, came in early and have helped us shape our technological vision into reality. We are now prepared to embark on a long and fruitful journey that will help you do more and create the innovation we need for the world we live in today.