Indian-led cloud security startup breaks into Silicon Valley’s unicorn club
Sanjay Beri, CEO, Netskope

When Mamoon Hamid of Silicon Valley investment firm Social Capital met Sanjay Beri in late 2011, the latter was part of the top layer at US-based computer networking company Juniper Networks.

Beri, Hamid’s partner's classmate at the University of Waterloo, left him thoroughly impressed.

“...Given his previous streak as an entrepreneur and all of the excitement around all things cloud in the enterprise, I couldn’t imagine him staying at Juniper much longer,” writes Hamid in a blog.

And boy, was he right! Soon after, Beri left the rewarding, almost-decade-long assignment with Juniper, cherry-picked co-founders, finalised a great idea and chose from among five investment offers. He launched cloud security firm Netskope, Inc in October 2012 along with Ravi Ithal, Lebin Cheng and Krishna Narayanaswamy, setting up the company's first office at Social Capital's office in Palo Alto, California.

A few months later, the Indian-origin tech veteran secured Series A funding from Social Capital. Netskope was going full steam. By April 2013 “it had outgrown its office space,” recollects Hamid.

But that was just a prelude to the amazing success story Netskope would script in the years to come.

Following the whopping $100-million Series E round it raised from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Accel Partners, among other investors, earlier this week, Netskope is the newest member of the US' unicorn club. (A unicorn is a company valued over a billion dollars.) Funderbeam, a site which tracks investments, has pegged its post-money valuation at $1.25 billion.

Netskope, however, did not reveal the valuation at which the funding round happened. An email sent by VCCircle to Beri, seeking comments, did not elicit a response at the time of publishing this report, presumably because of the time zone difference. We will update this story as and when we get his responses.

Netskope’s cloud-scale security platform provides “context-aware governance of all cloud usage in the enterprise in real-time.” In layman's terms, it helps companies monitor disparate apps and devices, and set security policies to identify and prevent breaches.

The company has so far raised over $230 million.

Network World from IDG listed Netskope as one of the top 10 cloud security startups in 2014.

Beri holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University and an MBA from Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley. In his last assignment at Juniper, he headed the company's India operations. Incidentally, Juniper was also co-founded by Indian-American Pradeep Sindhu.

Prior to his long stint at Juniper, Beri had co-founded enterprise data protection firm Ingrian Networks, which was later acquired by peer SafeNet.

Netskope has been growing at a brisk pace. The company claims its 2016 revenue was nearly three times that in 2015 and the funding will give it more firepower to march ahead in the rapidly evolving enterprise space.

“The cloud has precipitated a tectonic shift in the enterprise that has led to broader implications for computing and security,” Arif Janmohamed, partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, said in a media statement on Netskope's web site.

“Since the beginning, Netskope has never shied away from addressing these implications and forging the path in one of the most important segments of security today,” he added.

Beri joins the elite club of Indian-origin entrepreneurs who have created billion-dollar ventures in US, such as Laks Srini of Zenefits, Dheeraj Pandey of Nutanix, Ragy Thomas of Sprinklr and Jyoti Bansal of AppDynamics.

Last month, Herman Narula made waves in the UK startup space by raising $502 million from Japan's SoftBank, a round that propelled it into the enviable league of unicorns.

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