Intelligence Firm ThousandEyes Turned Scavenging For Computer Servers Into A Billion-Dollar Idea

Since its inception in 2010, ThousandEyes has offered businesses a platform to improve their digital experiences. The San Francisco-based company enables enterprises to visualize cloud-based and multi-network environments by collecting data from the Internet, data centers, and devices regarding how customers and employees utilize websites, applications, and services.

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The company has an extraordinary success story, starting with cofounders who launched with almost no money. Mohit Lad and Richardo Oliveira began as colleagues in the UCLA computer science department, where they soon joined forces to bring to life their idea of tracking down and avoiding web performance problems. To be able to monitor the internet for problems, they needed to build a data center - an expensive process for two people low on funds. Mohit and Richardo scored a $150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, and immediately began looking for free computer servers in the recycle bins of big corporations.

Today, ThousandEyes’ clients include Evernote, Servicenow, Zendesk, YMCA, and Viacom. Over the last ten years, the company has raised more than $110 million across six funding rounds, with a current known valuation of $670 million. They are backed by numerous venture capital firms, including Sequoia Capital, Sutter Hill Ventures, and Salesforce Ventures.

The tail end of May signaled a big change, as Cisco announced it would be acquiring ThousandEyes. While the terms of the deal weren't disclosed, a source revealed to CNBC that the purchase price was around $1 billion, as reported by Bloomberg.

Cisco has said it will combine its network and application performance tools with ThousandEyes visibility to improve software and network delivery. Cisco’s integration of ThousandEyes could also optimize the business it's grown around AppDynamics, which it purchased in 2017.

"The ThousandEyes acquisition will enable deeper and broader visibility to pinpoint deficiencies and improve the network and application performance across all networks your business relies on by enabling end-to-end visibility when accessing cloud applications," Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cisco's Enterprise Networking and Cloud business, Todd Nightingale, shared in a blog post. "Embedding ThousandEyes technology into Cisco's networking portfolio will give unprecedented intelligence on the largest deployed base of networking equipment in the world."

ThousandEyes CEO Mohit Lad revealed that discussions with Cisco had been ongoing over the past year. On March 5, the company reported it had $100 million worth of revenue, representing almost 80% year-over-year growth. ThousandEyes hasn't revealed whether the COVID-19 crisis has helped or hindered its business, though the kinds of services it provides suggest an increased demand during the outbreak.

Cisco said it expected the deal to close before the end of the first quarter of 2021.