Sramana Mitra: I was commenting on your 10 to 11 years, but not just 10 to 11 years. Some companies are going 15 to 20 years and then finding exits like Lynda.com. When she had a unicorn exit, they had been around for almost 20 years.
We have a company in our portfolio that is also something like 15 years old that completely bootstrapped with no financing, and it just sold for $60 million. There’s a lot of that going on at the moment. I’m just trying to understand how you view it from a timeline point of view and from a slightly larger venture fund point of view.
Let’s switch to your portfolio. Talk about some examples of companies that are representative and that you like a lot. Help us think through when they came to you, what did you see in them that really captured your imagination? Let’s focus on companies that you were in right from the early stages.
Sumant Mandal: I’ll give you one that was an exit for us where we sold a company to VMware for about $600 million. It’s called VeloCloud. That started in The Fabric five years ago. It was really an idea that The Fabric founders had around the fact that the cloud is becoming more and more complete in networking-intensive where you can take networking functionality and deliver from the cloud.
That was a radical idea at the time because most people thought of the cloud as application-focused and not as infrastructure-focused. So we started building this company, getting validation, meeting customers, but coincidentally met with two people who were a perfect fit as co-founders for this company.
Sanjay Uppal and Ajit Mayya were the two who joined us on day zero. The minute they joined the company, that company became real for us. That became valid for a series A investment. These guys had done it before. They came from the industry. Both had worked together. They had gone to college together. They were a good team.
When we sold it, they were close to $100 million of bookings in their fifth year of existence. In size and scale and in five years, it’s very hard to do. Very few companies have done it.
Sramana Mitra: Absolutely. That’s venture scale growth. That’s very hard to do.
Sumant Mandal: So you look for that. You look for greenfield opportunities. The compelling part of that was you have billions of dollars being spent when you open a branch of a bank or a retail organization.
The first thing you do is you buy a router. You hire someone to go and figure that router so you can access your applications in your data center. Now the applications are moving to the cloud. You don’t need a T1 line. You can get one-tenth the price a DSL line or a cable line and get the same kind of bandwidth.
So you have these multiple things happening at the same time, gratis to a new way to deliver the same value.