By Kyt Dotson, SiliconANGLE
Network operations startup Forward Networks Inc. announced today it has raised $50 million in new funding to grow its unique offering that improves enterprise networks by creating “digital twins” of them.
Digital twins are a type of simulation, usually describing real-world objects simulated in virtual environments so that they can be observed, manipulated or operated on. The aim is to understand what’s happening to the actual objects without affecting them directly.
What Forward has done is make mathematically accurate digital twin models for sprawling enterprise networks that can drive actionable insights. The goal is to improve network operations, increase security, allow operations teams to test changes before they apply them in the real world and execute post-mortems of events without having to cause downtime...
Funding led by MSD Partners and includes new investors Section 32 and Omega Venture Partners with participation from existing investors Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Threshold Ventures, A. Capital and Andreessen Horowitz
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Forward Networks announced today that it has secured $50M in Series D funding from top-tier venture capital firms. The company provides unique digital twin network modeling software that delivers security, reliability, and agility to large enterprise networks. The funding round, led by MSD Partners, L.P., includes new investors Section 32 and Omega Venture Partners as well as existing investors Goldman Sachs Asset Management (Goldman Sachs), Threshold Ventures, A. Capital and Andreessen Horowitz. Additionally, Victor Hwang, managing director and co-head of MSD Growth, joins the Forward Networks board of directors.
Since its last round of funding in 2019, Forward Networks has quadrupled its customer base, opened new headquarters in Santa Clara, California and extended its development team with an office in Bangalore, India. The company achieved 139% ARR growth from FY2021 to FY2022 while experiencing exceptional customer loyalty demonstrated by a 96% retention rate.
By creating a mathematically accurate digital twin of the network, Forward Enterprise delivers actionable insights that enable network operators to make data-driven decisions, prevent errors and improve overall network security, compliance, and health. The platform supports all major networking vendors, hybrid-cloud, and multi-cloud environments, including AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure.
David Erickson, CEO and co-founder of Forward Networks, said, "We're creating a new technology category with a product that our customers deem indispensable as soon as it's implemented. We're excited to put this capital to work to grow sales and deliver a product that unlocks the power of the data inside everyone's digital infrastructure."
"We are exceedingly excited and optimistic about Forward Networks," said Victor Hwang, managing director and co-head of MSD Growth. "As enterprise network architectures grow and become more complex, the necessity for network security and visibility have dramatically increased. Forward's robust and scalable platform addresses this large and growing market need unlike anything else we've seen. As a flexible, long-term partner, MSD Growth seeks to back exceptional growth businesses with proven unit economics and strong commercial acceptance of their products. We're thrilled to lead the company's round of funding and support its next stage of growth."
"Forward Networks is one of the few companies addressing the multi-vendor, multi-cloud reality of enterprise networks," said Andy Harrison, CEO and managing partner, Section 32. "By providing network visualization and verification that supports the entire network, its digital twin puts people back in control of the network. The company has demonstrated substantial growth, underscoring the value of its unique approach to modern enterprises."
"Forward Networks has reached an inflection point in its growth as it innovates across network automation, advanced analytics, and cybersecurity," adds Gaurav Tewari, managing partner at Omega Venture Partners. "Modern enterprises rely on the company's category-defining solutions for transformative insights, intelligence, and proactive risk mitigation. Together with Forward Networks, we are excited to leverage Omega's substantial strategic resources to capture the tremendous growth potential ahead."
Threshold Ventures has been a financial supporter of Forward Networks since its Series B funding in 2017.
"We saw the potential value of the Forward Networks platform right away," said Andreas Stavropoulos, partner at Threshold Ventures. "We've been impressed by the company's growth and the expanded platform capabilities that make insightful and actionable network data available to NetOps, SecOps, and CloudOps teams."
To learn more about Forward Enterprise, visit www.forwardnetworks.com.
About Forward Networks
Forward Networks is revolutionizing the way large networks are managed. Forward's advanced software delivers a digital twin of the network, enabling network operators to ensure that the network is secure, reliable, and agile. The platform supports devices from all major networking vendors and cloud operators, including AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. Forward Networks was founded in 2013 by four Stanford Ph.D. graduates and is headquartered in Santa Clara, California. Investors include MSD Partners, Goldman Sachs, Andreessen Horowitz, Threshold Ventures, Section 32, Omega Venture Partners, and A. Capital. For more information, visit www.forwardnetworks.com.
About MSD Partners
MSD Partners focuses on maximizing long-term capital appreciation across three core areas of investing expertise – Credit, Real Estate, and Growth Equity. It is an affiliate of BDT & MSD Partners, a merchant bank with an advisory and investment platform built to serve the distinct needs of business owners and strategic, long-term investors. Since 2010, BDT MSD Partners' affiliated funds have deployed more than $50 billion across their investment strategies. For more information, visit www.bdtmsd.com.
About Section 32
Section 32 is a venture capital firm investing at the frontiers of technology. Founded by Bill Maris, the team has vast experience building iconic companies. Our goal is to accelerate the discovery, development, and distribution of revolutionary technologies that improve the human condition. We invest across the entirety of technology. This includes cybersecurity, enterprise software, fintech, web3, quantum computing, space, machine learning, artificial intelligence, computational biology, and biotechnology.
About Omega Venture Partners
Omega Venture Partners is a premier technology investment firm headquartered in Silicon Valley. Omega invests in rapidly growing software businesses that leverage artificial intelligence, machine learning, data, and automation to deliver transformative solutions. The firm employs a thematic investment strategy to identify large market opportunities and invest in the next generation of category-defining companies. Visit: https://www.omegavp.com.
Digital twins — virtual representations of actual systems — have become an important component in how engineers and analysts build, visualize and operate AI projects, network security, and other complicated architectures that might have a number of components working (or malfunctioning as the case may be) in tandem. Today, a startup called Forward Networks — which has built digital twin modeling software geared specifically at helping to operate and maintain enterprise networks — is announcing some funding on the heels of strong growth.
The company has raised $50 million, a Series D that it will be using to continue investing in R&D and expanding its base of customers. MSD Partners is leading this round, with new backers Section 32 and Omega Venture Partners also participating alongside previous backers Goldman Sachs Asset Management (Goldman Sachs), Threshold Ventures, A. Capital, and Andreessen Horowitz...
Forward Enterprise recognized as the only solution that offers complete visibility into the network topology and outperforms 13 other solutions
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Nov. 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Forward Networks announced today that it has been named the highest-ranked leader in the 2022 GigaOm Radar Report for Network Validation. The report recognizes Forward Enterprise as the only solution that offers complete visibility into the network topology and outperforms 13 other solutions. The report ranks Forward Enterprise as exceptional for its features and capabilities, impact on organizations, and deployment model that spans on-premises and private and public clouds.
The GigaOm Radar report analyzes key criteria and evaluation metrics across 14 vendors' offerings. The report provides a forward-looking assessment, plotting each solution's current and projected position over a 12-to-18-month window. Forward Networks is ranked a "Leader" and "Outperformer" for supporting "a broad range of vendor devices with sophisticated validation and automated remediation capabilities."
According to the report, "Offering complete visibility into the network topology, the leader in the space, Forward Networks, provides digital twin mapping of all possible traffic paths, while advanced search, validate, compare, and predict functions enable administrators to manage network behavior proactively in a vendor-agnostic manner."
"Network complexity has grown exponentially and it's no longer possible for the human brain to analyze and track network behaviors and configurations," said David Erickson, co-founder and CEO of Forward Networks. "Global enterprises need digital twin technology to ensure their networks are secure, predictable and agile. We're thrilled to see GigaOm conduct industry-wide research into how technology is helping network operations, security and cloud teams verify network configuration and behavior. Being named an outperformer is a true honor and testament to the hard work of our engineering team over the past decade."
Creating an accurate digital twin of the network, Forward Enterprise enables network operators to verify compliance, make data-driven decisions, prevent errors, and improve overall network security and health. The platform supports all major networking vendors and cloud, hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, including Amazon AWS, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure.
"The network validation landscape offers several options, which can make choosing the right solution challenging," said Ivan McPhee, senior industry analyst, GigaOm. "Forward Enterprise was an outperformer across the board in our rigorous analysis, providing complete visibility to enable administrators to take a proactive approach to network security and reliability."
For more information about the GigaOm Radar Report for Network Validation, visit https://www.forwardnetworks.com/gigaom-radar-for-network-validation/.
By Chiara Regale, VP of Product, Forward Networks
If you’ve been in the technology industry for even a short time, you understand that the predominant characteristic of the sector is change. Chiara Regale, VP of product and UX at Forward Networks, discusses how companies can regain control of their networks amidst continuous change and how to choose the right network twin on the journey.
Often, what is marketed as innovation is merely change for the sake of itself. New technologies and solutions that solve challenges and deliver value are the only forms of meaningful innovation. Digital twin technology is a prime example, as it provides the data and controls to put people back in charge of the network. For some, the phrase is a buzzword; for those who implement it, it’s become the most valuable tool in their arsenal...
Forward Enterprise approved for use in all five program pillars to help agencies improve their security posture
SANTA CLARA, Calif., October 24, 2022 — Forward Networks today announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has named Forward Enterprise to the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) Program’s Approved Products List.
The CDM program, developed by DHS in 2012, supports government-wide and agency-specific efforts to provide risk-based, cost-effective cybersecurity solutions for protecting federal civilian networks. The CDM Program’s Approved Products List includes hardware and software products that have been extensively reviewed and confirmed by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to help participating agencies improve their security posture by:
Forward Networks was approved for the following functional capabilities:
“We are honored to be an approved vendor on the CDM program list,” said Zack Zimmerman, who leads Forward Networks’ government business. “As agencies embrace the executive order on improving cybersecurity, they need to ensure the right configurations and connectivity are being enforced and that they continue to verify evolving network behaviors. Forward Networks provides these capabilities.”
Forward Enterprise uses a mathematical model to build a digital twin of the entire hybrid multi-cloud network. The digital twin provides security professionals unprecedented insight into the network and its vulnerabilities to help agencies manage their attack surface, mitigate vulnerabilities and ensure enforcement of their security policy.
To learn more about Forward Networks’ work with federal agencies, visit https://www.forwardnetworks.com/federal/.
Forward Enterprise Recognized with Award from Consecutive Mobile Breakthrough Program Wins
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Oct. 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Forward Networks, the only provider of network digital twin technology that delivers network agility, predictability, and security for on-premises and multi-cloud environments, today announced that its Forward Enterprise platform has been selected as the winner of the "Cloud Computing Innovation of the Year'' award in the sixth annual Mobile Breakthrough Awards program. The program is conducted by Mobile Breakthrough, a leading independent market intelligence organization that recognizes the top companies, technologies, and products in the global wireless and mobile market today.
Forward Networks is the only company offering visibility and verification capabilities across the entire network estate, including on-premises, hybrid-cloud, private cloud, public cloud, and multi-cloud environments. The company's mathematical model creates a complete and always-current digital twin of an organization's physical, virtual, and multi-cloud network, including config and state information for all network elements. . The digital twin provides a comprehensive view of all network behavior, with visibility into every possible path a packet can take. With this view, the Forward Enterprise platform delivers unprecedented on-premise and multi-cloud visibility in an actionable, vendor-agnostic format, enabling all organizations to conduct business in the cloud with certainty.
Forward Enterprise enables teams to prove network innocence and diagnose issues in seconds, which means dramatically reduced business disruption. By making it easy to monitor, model and diagnose network behavior and configuration operations, Forward Enterprise helps speed cloud adoption and ensures that the entire compute estate behaves as intended.
"We're honored to win Mobile Breakthrough Awards for two consecutive years," said Chiara Regale, vice president of product and UX, Forward Networks. "Modern IT departments need visibility into their entire network, both on-prem and in the cloud. Forward's digital twin is delivering this, and these back-to-back award recognitions of our platform are a testament to that."
by Chiara Regale, Network Computing
The increasing complexity of networks today requires IT teams to oversee network connectivity, cloud migration, mobile integration, security, and more, despite the IT staff shortage crippling progress for many organizations. The sum becomes a herculean task as a typical enterprise network spans multiple locations and thousands of devices, each with its own proprietary operating system and configuration rules. IT teams need a solution that oversees these complexities in a way that doesn’t inhibit growth, increase risk, or rely on regressing back to on-premises, centralized systems. Some wonder if a digital twin is the answer.
A digital twin is an exact virtual reproduction of an organization’s entire network environment that can model network behavior. In its Emerging Technologies and Trends Impact Radar report, Gartner predicts digital twins will fundamentally change the way enterprise networks are managed due to the host of benefits they provide organizations...
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Sept. 27, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The Business Intelligence Group today announced that it has awarded Forward Networks a 2022 Stratus Award for Cloud Computing in the Software-as-a-Service category. This is Forward Networks' second time winning a Stratus Cloud Computing award. Award winners represent the companies, products, and people offering unique solutions that take advantage of cloud technologies.
Cloud providers ignore the reality of multi-cloud environments by presenting siloed visibility into what's happening in each individual cloud. Forward Networks has delivered a Software-as-a-Service network digital twin that acts as a single pane of glass solution to visualize and verify hybrid multi-cloud networks. IT departments can now perform hop-by-hop analysis of traffic from the on-premises network and throughout the multi-cloud estate to make their networks more secure, reliable, and agile.
"IT departments need the same level of assurance in the cloud that we deliver for multi-vendor on-premises environments," said Chiara Regale, VP of product and UX, Forward Networks. "We've extended our digital twin capabilities to deliver a comprehensive view of all network behavior and hop-by-hop visibility for an organization's physical, virtual, and multi-cloud network estate. Winning the Stratus Cloud Computing Award again validates the importance and effectiveness of our efforts and we are honored to be recognized."
"Forward Networks is at the forefront of the cloud helping to drive practical innovations in the cloud," said Maria Jimenez, Chief Nominations Officer of Business Intelligence Group. "The cloud is now part of the fabric of society, and we are thrilled that our volunteer judges were able to help promote all of these innovative services, organizations, and executives."
About Forward Networks
Forward Networks is revolutionizing the way large networks are managed. Forward's advanced software delivers a "digital twin" of the network, enabling network operators to ensure that the network is agile, predictable, and secure. The platform supports devices from all major networking vendors and cloud operators, including AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.
Forward Networks was founded in 2013 by four Stanford Ph.D. graduates and is headquartered in Santa Clara, California. Investors include Goldman Sachs, Andreessen Horowitz, Threshold Ventures, and A. Capital.
About Business Intelligence Group
The Business Intelligence Group was founded with the mission of recognizing true talent and superior performance in the business world. Unlike other industry and business award programs, business executives—those with experience and knowledge—judge the programs. The organization's proprietary and unique scoring system selectively measures performance across multiple business domains and then rewards those companies whose achievements stand above those of their peers.
By Nikhil Handigol, RTInsights
Most IT professionals lack visibility into their hybrid and multi-cloud environments. And they have problems identifying all the cloud services in use in their organizations.
The cloud promised three important things – simplicity, security, and flexibility. As the variety and the sheer number of cloud platforms increases with unprecedented velocity, the corresponding challenges of effectively managing, securing, and paying for these cloud services inevitably rise, too. An Omdia report suggested that by 2023 most companies will spend 40% of their IT budget managing their infrastructure across multiple cloud service providers.