VideosJanuary 17, 2023

Innovation and passion – what makes DriveNets the Company of the Year

Wins 2022 Leading Lights Award for Company of the Year (Private) in the Communication Industry

The Leading Lights company of the year award recognizes the company that the judges feel stands out from its competitors, innovates constantly, makes investors proud and makes employees happy. This is DriveNets’ third consecutive Leading Lights Award win. In 2020, DriveNets received the Company of the Year (Private) award, and in 2021 DriveNets received the best product of the year.

DriveNets brings together innovation, good people (employees, customers, partners, investors, and advisors) and tons of passion, and unites them under the ambitious goal of transforming service provider networks to a modern cloud architecture. The vision of building networks like cloud to empower a future of new connected experiences is inspiring. The DriveNets Network Cloud solution has become a production-proven router equal to, and many times better than, incumbent routing platforms. Achieving such results based on a disaggregated, distributed, cloud-native architecture is a strong proof-point to the advantage of a ‘network built like cloud’ model.

DriveNets won this prestigious Leading Lights award from Light Reading, for all the reasons that make it such a special company. It’s the combination of a bold vision, passionate people, strong execution, and some chutzpah, with the end goal of making customers successful. There is a reason why many operators work with DriveNets, demonstrating that it can be trusted and how the routing solutions are successfully deployed at tier-1 operators around the world.

Full Transcript

Hello and welcome to another Light Reading sponsored video featuring DriveNets as we discuss their success in the most recent Light Reading Leading Lights awards program. The Leading Lights, by the way, is our publications awards program where we cover the best and brightest of what’s going on in the communications industry. My name is Phil Harvey, I’m an editor here at Light Reading and today I am joined by Inbar from DriveNets. Hello, how are you?

Hi Phil, I’m great.

Good to have you aboard and thank you so much for sponsoring this video. And congratulations on your success in the Leading Lights program. I say program because this is not the first time we’ve seen you in the Leading Lights awards. Last year. In the 2021 Leading Lights program, DriveNets took home the Leading Light for best new optical networking/IP product and that’s awarded to that was awarded because of the product set that DriveNets has that helps service providers and hyperscalers replace, as we termed it, a mass of routers and servers with modular white boxes and sort of completely rearchitect how they do networking. This year we’re taking a bit of a broader look at the capabilities of the company. Your Leading Lights award this year covered company of the year, a private company of the year. And the way that we sort of discuss that one is that it’s the company that we think and our judges feel stands out from its competitors, innovates constantly, makes investors proud and makes employees happy. So quite a lot going on there. So let’s sort of get right into it. What do you think are some of DriveNet’s biggest achievements in the past year that sort of put you on the path to winning in the Leading Lights?

Yeah. So first I have to share with you that every time we win an award like that, we make posters and we hang them all over the walls. We have three floors in this building and so we have kind of the hall of fame and the Leading Lights awards are in that hall of fame. I should send you a picture of us. Fantastic with that. So we’re very excited about that. We do feel that you guys at Leading Lights kind of see who’s going to be the big influencers of this industry. So we’re very proud to have this award and we don’t take it lightly at all. The reason why I feel that we won this award is we had a busy year in the past year and it’s in all fronts if you look from a customer perspective, we want some major projects. Now you’re going to ask me who they are? I can tell you we have several press releases ready to go and what I need is just a customer to tell me, yes, you can release it. Sure. We’ve won some projects in Asia, in Europe, in North America, and have been working with our customers and rolling them out to the market so very busy doing that. We also roll out new solutions to the market. We were the first to support J2C+ from Broadcom in a new white box, and that made us a router actually support the highest density of 400 gig ports. And you can assume how interested our customers are in that high scale 400 gig ports. We also supported almost all the optics vendors on their ZR/ZR+ solution. So quite a few new things came out in the past year. We made some new partnerships with key system integrators, all the system integrators that service providers work with to roll out their solutions around the world. So quite a few big names have joined our partners program, and we’re working with them very tightly. When you’re a software vendor in a networking world and you rely on white boxes from third parties, you have to make sure those partnerships work really well with the white box vendors, with the system integrators, because unlike the incumbent vendors, we don’t provide the whole thing. The whole idea is the open architecture, the software based architecture. So we need to make sure that our customers feel like they’re supported by one vendor, even though we’re multiple vendors behind it. And that required a lot of investment from our part in making it happen. We also hired a lot of people. So we’re like United Colors of Benetton here. We have people from all over the world, people who worked for Cisco and Juniper and Netflix and Salesforce and security vendors. So we have people with different backgrounds from AWS, of course, from cloud providers, so people from different places in the world and from different backgrounds. And the last thing is, we secured our third round. So seriously, funding of, as you mentioned, $262 million. And what that gives us is kind of the time and the backing to really pursue what we feel is the right thing in this market. So kind of that peace of mind that we can trust our strategy and move on because we have the backing to make it happen.

Yeah, and I think that’s what sort of pushed you over the line in terms of going from a company that’s introduced really interesting and successful technology to private Company of the Year, where we sort of said, look, they’ve definitely leveled up, like you said, across the board. But they’re also not just pushing a singular single purpose technology. They’re getting behind an entirely new way of networking, an entirely new architecture. It’s software defined. And like you said, that introduces maybe on your side, a completely different level of complexity, business model and that sort of thing. And from all that we can tell, it looks like everything’s working out and there’s plenty of open road ahead. Yes, you’re right. I am going to ask you about your customers. So who are some of your named reference accounts and what are they saying about your company?

Yeah, so everyone knows, obviously, about AT&T, and it’s a good thing and it keeps growing and there will be some more information about that as we progress in the year, hopefully soon. Also, at Mobile World Congress, we’re going to have some activities with customers so the industry will learn more. As I mentioned, we can’t talk too much about customers we haven’t officially announced, but I can say they’re tier one operator to one, tier two. All over the world we have in Asia, in Europe, in Middle East, in North America, and what I love is what customers say about us. And it’s consistently and it’s all customers. We always are number one in the lab, and that’s something we’re very proud of. When you do high scale networking, it’s very complex. A lot of vendors doubted that we will be able to pull it off and support some of the largest networks in the world as a startup. And that’s what is our claim to fame. We come up number one in the lab. Our technology always win there. Our capabilities, our scale, the availability of the solution. And that’s what you will hear consistently that they say. Where we’re struggling sometimes is the fact that the incumbent vendors will do the best they can to really stop us from growing. And it’s kind of transition, it’s obvious when you’re kind of disrupting a market, those who get disrupted don’t like it. But in terms of the technology and the fact that we’re committed, we’re innovative, and it’s 24/7 for us. If a customer needs us, we’re there. We’re always there for support and I think that’s why we’re doing well with those customers.

Yeah, you mostly answered my next question, which was, what’s it like being a startup in such an established networking space? Because from this side of the desk, we really don’t see that many. We see a lot of networking software startups, but usually they are solving a single point solution with a very specific problem and they’re quickly absorbed into an OSS company or something like that. Anybody that has to do with sort of the, I don’t say the core mechanics of networking, but you’re not only a company that’s growing at scale, but you’re taking on several large scale projects. So how has that posture in the industry changed things for you in the past year? Because I think even your competitors are probably looking at you a bit differently now.

Yeah, it’s interesting. We’re very ambitious, so I always joke that DriveNets. If you know this picture of a cat looking at the mirror and thinks that he or she is a lion, we think we can do everything. We’re very ambitious and we have to always rationalize what can we do, what we cannot, which use cases should we penetrate next? So we’re definitely view ourselves as one of the four major networking vendors in the industry. And you’re right. As I mentioned before, it is very difficult because we’re disrupting a market. But I think we’re also changing a market, and we kind of joke we already brought some benefit to the market just by the fact that we’re here and we exist and we make our competitors rethink what they’re doing and adopting a bit of what we’re bringing in. And you’ve seen some announcement before where some incumbent vendors support the white boxes that we help define in the industry. That’s an industry changing thing. So I think that’s our biggest challenge is to be able to take that long journey and be able to if we lost one RFP, one project, we’ll win the second one with that customers, because we’ve proven that we’re here for the long run and we have that energy and that strength behind us. So that’s how we take it. Just like in everything, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But as long as you believe in what you’re doing, you have the support of your customers, you have the respect of the industry. And I think we have the respect of many customers and many analysts in the industry. And we won the Leading Lights award. That demonstrates some of the respect that we have. So we’re staying on course, we’re bringing innovation, and we keep doing what we’re doing great.

And so coming up next for DriveNets is, like you said, announcements coming forthcoming at Mobile World Congress. You’ve obviously got several customers queued up. You mentioned that earlier. Anything else we should know about or look forward to in the coming year?

Yeah, some more solution announcements that will come up this year and I’m not allowed to say more than that. Okay. All right, we’ll leave it there. It’s a sponsored video. I’m not going to press you too hard on that particular thing and be my usual obnoxious self, but Inbar, thanks so much, first of all, for sponsoring the video, second of all, for being available to film the video. And then finally, again, congratulations for doing so well in the Leading Lights, which is, by the way, a reactive award. We’re just observing what’s actually happening in the industry. So congrats on the success. Thank you very much. It was great to be here.

Related Resources

Wins 2021 Leading Lights Award for Best New Optical Networking/IP Product

The award recognizes DriveNets Network Cloud as the most innovative IP product in the market – a significant achievement considering the distinguished set of vendor solutions nominated in the category. DriveNets’ Network Cloud multiservice solution marks the first time that the network can be efficiently and fully virtualized like cloud. This is DriveNets’ second consecutive Leading Lights Award win. In 2020, DriveNets received the Company of the Year (Private) award.