The Story Behind My Eighth Investment, Vnera

I started this fund with the idea of investing in four areas: marketplaces, online-to-offline, all things mobile, and core infrastructure. This last category is a bit off the beaten path for me, yet I found over the years I had lots of friends who worked on enterprise-facing products and infrastructure. It all came to a head when I met the founder of Hashicorp, thought the space was out of reach, and then began talking to friends in and around the VMware community and realized something important — I didn’t need to be an expert on infrastructure in order to invest in the space.

That may seem counterintuitive, but what I found is that I had a small network of 3-4 close friends who could help me learn and evaluate investments. I had my own sense that Mitchell was a star technical talent, so I made a few calls and tried to learn more about Vagrant. After three conversations, it was clear Vagrant was great. Mitchell is great. Decision made. There is such a thing as trying to be too smart, so I went on my instincts.

From this process, I learned more about VMware and the ecosystem of technologies (and people) within and around it. So, when a good friend introduced me to the Vnera folks, I already had a good idea of the value they could create. It was a different investment for me but also one I saw as opportunistic given the caliber of the team. Now, as I’ve been writing the stories behind my investments, I wrote to the team to ask them if it’s OK. Often in core enterprise tech startups, folks have to remain quiet because initial development cycles are so long, startups can’t afford competitive leaks. As a result, the founder shared this with me, so hopefully this briefly explains what they’re up to:

In order to achieve true business agility, enterprises must be able to deploy new business critical apps quickly and eliminate any downtimes associated with them. To reach this utopia state, the underlying datacenter infrastructure, hosting those applications, needs to become more agile, efficient and predictable. A software-defined datacenter promises to deliver those benefits. At Vnera, our vision is datacenters that are software-defined and always-on. We are building a technology that will accelerate the movement towards software-defined datacenters and ensure they stay always-on. We want to make datacenter downtime a thing of the past.

Haystack is written by Semil Shah, and is published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. Copyright © 2018 Semil Shah.

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