Bigleaf Networks is expanding its channel reach with the help of $21 million in new funding.
Oregon Venture Fund and SeaChange Fund joined a group of investors contributing to the SD-WAN provider’s Series B funding round. The company says the new funds will go to “accelerating product innovation for our SD-WAN platform and expanding our offering into new markets and channels.” CEO Joel Mulkey said Bigleaf will invest more in its master agent relationships and spend more to develop its MSP channel.
The company generates about 80% of its revenue through agents and about 20% through MSPs, but the latter demographic is growing. Bigleaf launched an MSP program earlier this year to take advantage of the momentum. It will hire dedicated team managers for the MSP side and host more MSP-oriented events. Jeff Burchett, Bigleaf’s co-founder and vice president, said his organization will reach more partners in both the telecom and MSP channels thanks to the new funds.
— Bigleaf Networks (@BigleafNetworks) September 24, 2019
“Bigleaf’s 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,” said Jeff Burchett, Bigleaf’s co-founder and vice president. “MSPs are a natural addition to that channel. Our SD-WAN platform integrates seamlessly into their existing offerings, and the convergence of the telecom and MSP channels opens new offerings and revenue streams to both partner types.”
Mulkey told Channel Partners that Bigleaf’s security strategy fits well with what many MSPs want. Bigleaf’s SD-WAN platform sits outside the user’s firewall.
“That’s a pretty stark contrast from most SD-WAN offerings, especially with our MSP partners that have a preferred firewall vendor that they want to stick with,” he said. “They can deploy Bigleaf and get all the SD-WAN benefits without having to either replace or disable pieces of the firewall.”
Mulkey told Channel Partners that Bigleaf is communicating its message clearly through the “marketing noise” that surrounds SD-WAN. While the company’s solution comes across as unique in conversations with end customers, the vendor must engage more deeply with channel partners to differentiate itself. But Mulkey said Bigleaf’s focus on “site-to-cloud” networking contrasts sharply with its competitors.
“But once we do, we don’t tend to have a lot of end-deal competition. We have a lot of channel partners that represent another SD-WAN offering, because we’re so different from the rest of the whole mix. You’ve got all these players out there that are addressing this legacy architecture – site-to-site networking – and doing it with really complex products that are meant for large enterprises,” he said.
The vendor last year announced a $4.9 million funding round, which helped it triple its staff and add channel managers. Mulkey described this year’s round as optional. The investment represents an opportunity to scale up, and do so more quickly than planned.
“With this funding we’re committing to growing Bigleaf to be a quite larger company and achieve some major success,” he said.