Nile has been out of stealth mode for almost a year now and has been steadily making progress delivering new capabilities, forming partnerships, and acquiring new customers. This $175 Million Series C funding was led by March Capital and Sanabil investments and a number of other strategic and contributing investors. Nile Raises $175M Series C Funding to Propel Its Vision to Redefine Enterprise Networks – Nile (nilesecure.com) An impressive round in an uncertain economy for sure.
Nile’s goal is to deliver next-generation network as a service (NaaS) solutions to its initial target market of k-12 and higher education markets, followed by enterprise customers. Nile delivers wired and wireless campus solutions via a cloud-based management approach that enables organizations to consume an inherently secure wired and wireless campus network entirely as a consumption-based service that includes initial assessment, design, deployment, and streamlined operations of the network.
Back in June, it announced a partnership with Palo Alto Networks to provide integrated security solutions and secure SD-WAN. The two companies have worked together to leverage APIs to integrate network data to provide enhanced zero trust (network, access, and isolation) solutions for their joint customers. Working with a global leader in security like Palo Alto Networks makes sense and its AI-powered and cloud driven approach is a good fit for highly distributed, modern network environments.
Having an initial focus on campus networks is a good choice for a startup like Nile as Wi-Fi technology evolves quickly (Wi-Fi 7 Consumer APs are already out) and high turnover rates (as compared to DC switches) provide an opportunity for Nile to gain traction quickly. Also, organizations are under pressure to re-imagine the campus — for the education market, it is about supporting more devices and ensuring secure and seamless experiences when coming back to campus. For the enterprise, the campus network needs to securely support the return to the office and accommodate bandwidth-intensive collaboration applications via Wi-Fi.
For virtually all markets, Wi-Fi connectivity is viewed as a utility, in the same way older generations simply expected to pick up a phone and get a dial tone (I know, I am showing my age). Nile understands that concept and has developed a solution that removes the complexity from assessing and designing a new solution and accelerates the deployment of new, secure campus wired and wireless technology. With its partnership with Palo Alto Networks, it provides enhanced security and includes secure SD-WAN as well.
Another notable aspect of Nile is who its founders are — namely Pankaj Patel and John Chambers. Many of you may remember John’s other successful startup — no, not Cisco, but Pensando — the company that set out to democratize smart NICs and distributed services for both enterprise and hyperscaler markets. Pensando is now part of AMD (April 2022 acquisition).
Nile came out of stealth with significant go-to-market channels already in place and has spent the last year acquiring customers and deploying solutions with streamlined operations that enable organizations to spend time working on strategic business initiatives and not responding to problems with their Wi-Fi networks. This latest round of funding will give them the opportunity to invest in additional resources to ramp up their go-to-market and deliver more tightly integrated solutions with partners like Palo Alto Networks.
Given the recent funding, next-gen technology, and veteran management team, it’s hard to bet against Nile. However, it should be noted that they do have formidable competition — not only from the established networking leader Cisco, but also from rising challengers, such as Arista, Extreme Networks, HPE Aruba Networking, and Juniper Networks (alphabetical order), that continue to innovate and grow.
Ultimately, this competition will drive innovation and Nile joining the field will only help to create a rising tide that will ultimately benefit all markets and enterprises with more secure, robust, and intelligent network environments. Nile has made a lot of progress in the last 12 months, and I am looking forward to seeing what the next 12 months bring.