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The Cisco-CliQr deal: why entrepreneurs need more than capital to succeed

By July 11, 2016Article

Innovation needs to be nurtured in multiple ways to make a lasting impact in the global marketplace. Too often, good ideas go undeveloped because entrepreneurs lack the experience and the business networks to properly test and refine their products.

In my dual roles at Trace3 and InstantScale Ventures, I had the privilege of working with CliQr Technologies from its initial conception through its recent $260M acquisition by Cisco. We knew from the early days that the company’s highly innovative application-defined cloud management platform had the potential to make a big impact in the marketplace.

To succeed, however, we recognized that venture funding alone would not be enough. CliQr would need guidance to navigate the technology marketplace, as well as strong business connections that would enable market leaders to test and react to the technology in a productive feedback loop. 

In essence, our journey with CliQr exemplifies the fundamental concept that great ideas need more than just capital to succeed. 

In CliQr’s case, the company had developed a truly groundbreaking technology for companies to manage applications across data center, private and public cloud environments. We knew that the company’s founders, Gaurav Manglik and Tenry Fu, were on the verge of really disrupting the market for application-defined cloud management. While the cloud had the potential to change the way companies think about information technology, CliQr was built on the belief that there needed to be a simple way of getting applications to natively work across a variety of clouds. 

The relationship between CliQr and Cisco grew during Trace3’s VC Briefing Program in Silicon Valley. These briefing sessions empower CIOs to transform their businesses by giving them access to venture capitalists and technology entrepreneurs in a setting that accelerates successful enterprise adoption of disruptive technologies. Trace3 has a long and highly productive reseller relationship with Cisco, and we were able to drive adoption of CliQr and Cisco’s ACI architecture, which helped pave the way for clients to leverage a joint solution. 

InstantScale Ventures later invested in CliQr’s Series C funding round, and we also provided the company with immediate access to our network of technology leaders and sales partners. This partnership enabled CliQr to test and refine its technology in order to bring a highly compelling product to market in a short time frame. Polaris Partners led the Series C funding round with additional support from Google Ventures and Foundation Capital. 

CliQr’s impressive success reinforced our belief that enterprises are searching for partners that can both solve today’s problems and anticipate solutions to the challenges of tomorrow. At the same time, entrepreneurs need faster and higher quality access to the marketplace to test the applicability of their innovations and enable greater go-to-market efficiencies through increased scale. This is where traditional funding methods fall short when it comes to providing full support for a growing business.

In CliQr’s case, the company’s approach to application-defined cloud management was a perfect fit for Cisco. The acquisition extended Cisco’s vision for driving application relevancy throughout IT while helping Cisco customers to simplify their public, private and hybrid cloud deployments. 

Cisco’s acquisition of CliQr was a well-deserved outcome for the two united companies to provide an easier and more powerful way to make cloud computing simple and application-centric. We were delighted to provide the go-to-market assistance that helped CliQr reach this outcome, including sales and channel strategy consulting and access to corporate clients. 

Gaurav Manglik, co-founder and CEO of CliQr, mentioned in a recent conversation that InstantScale Ventures and Trace3 had provided him with extensive sales, engineering, channel experience and access to clients. 

This provided valuable feedback and helped facilitate field adoption, which provided CliQr with a faster path to market to continue to disrupt the market for application defined cloud management. 

Our collaboration with CliQr illustrates the power of capital support coupled with business relationships and an established partner ecosystem to drive strategic transactions and fuel disruptive innovations. 

Chad Cardenas is president of Trace3, the premier provider of IT solutions and consultation services. He is responsible for Trace3’s marketing and branding. Cardenas also is managing director of InstantScale Ventures, a venture capital firm that believes entrepreneurs need more than just capital to grow—they need better access to market resources to test innovations, a network of domain experts with proven strategies to reduce risk, and more efficient go-to-market strategies.









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