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Networking Unplugged

Perspectives on cloud networking and software-defined WANs

Posted February 13, 2013
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How Spiceworks is Enabling SMB IT Innovation

When I went out to raise our first round of funding a year ago, investors loved the Pertino story right up to the point where we said "and we believe the right market for our revolutionary new way to network is small and medium businesses". Investors understand the well-worn path of launching new technology into large enterprises, but SMBs are more of a mystery to them. Luckily, I found two top-tier, forward-thinking investors in Norwest Venture Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners who recognized the huge potential of the SMB market and trusted that my team would find an effective way to reach it.

Since then, Pertino has partnered with Spiceworks in a grand experiment that will help shape the future of SMB IT innovation. Over eight months ago, we worked closely with Spiceworks' executives and our account team to devise a strategy for incubating and launching Pertino within the Spiceworks community of 2.4 million IT pros by leveraging their social interaction platform. On February 12th we witnessed the culmination of this strategy by publicly announcing the Pertino cloud network service.

The results of our Spiceworks experiment have exceeded my expectations and will undoubtedly blaze a trial for other startups focused on bring IT innovation to SMBs. We started with a 20-company private beta program and that grew into a community-exclusive public beta where 250 "Spiceheads" build and tested Pertino cloud networks. Along the way we received incredible, first-hand feedback and insights from IT pros on everything from our network-as-a-service offering and service delivery process to messaging and positioning, use cases, pricing, website, and company policies. I can think of no other way to gain such extensive, concise and timely customer engagement. On more than one occasion, we went from conversations with IT pros about certain issues to deploying new software that addressed them within a couple of days. Such product cycles can often take weeks or months.

To our friends at Spiceworks and all of the Spiceheads who have played a key role if getting us to this point, I thank you. Together we are helping shape the future of IT innovation for SMBs.

Please read the following post by Jay Hallberg, Spiceworks Co-founder and Vice President of Marketing, where he shares his perspectives on this "grand experiment" and the broader implications for the Spiceworks community...

Craig Elliott

Craig Elliott

Co-Founder & CEO

As Pertino's co-founder and CEO, I'm working to revolutionize the way business networks are connected, created and managed. Moved from Iowa to Silicon Valley, where I spent ten years at Apple in senior product, marketing and GM roles. CEO of Packeteer, growing the company from three people to IPO. 

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