Why we invested in Deepfield

We are excited to announce that Mercury Fund portfolio company Deepfield Networks has been acquired by Nokia! Mercury led a seed investment in Deepfield (co-led with Ann Arbor-based RPM Ventures) in September 2011. This was followed by Mercury participating in Deepfield’s Series A investment, led by Cisco Systems, in April 2015.

Deepfield provides internet service providers (ISPs) the ability to monitor their network operations and performance with granular visibility and deep analytics. With a full offering of network analysis tools for security, big data, and operations, companies like Comcast and Time Warner can analyze this streaming data tool and better understand how their consumers are receiving the service. This type of operational performance evaluation also allows ISPs to analyze how streaming companies (ie: Netflix, etc.) are delivering content given bandwidth allotments.

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Deepfield founders, Craig Labovitz and Joe Eggleston, were two of the earliest and most impactful employees at Arbor Networks (acq. August 2010 by Danaher) that became the leader in the ISP security sector. After the acquisition, Craig and Joe began to develop their own ideas of a next-generation network analytics platform by leveraging modern cloud architecture and big data science. Their vision provided a full end-to-end solution for ISPs that offered precise full network flow insights down to the subscriber level. Early on in the company’s lifecycle, It was very clear that a modern, cloud-based platform would win out in the dynamic ISP environment. By quickly becoming the industry leader, the company has secured contracts with some of the largest players in a global industry. Deepfield has continually worked to solve a difficult problem in networking with the most elegant solution in the market.

Deepfield was one of the earliest investments in our NextGen Enterprise theme, which we see as the convergence of DevOps, cloud computing and big data within the enterprise. What started out as a platform to perform network analysis for ISPs became a full fledged platform for anyone with complex network traffic, data – and in need of insights. Deepfield, along with Infochimps (acq. Aug 2013 by CSC) and Datical, have been the foundation of our core NextGen Enterprise theme.

In December 2016, the historically hardware-centric Nokia, which has begun to reemerge as a dominant network service provider and solutions company,  saw a clear and near-term enterprise growth opportunity with Deepfield’s internet genome/big data analytics software platform that would substantially expand their ISP customer footprint. Nokia also saw a compelling emerging solution in the Deepfield Singularity Platform, which combines their Cloud Genome tool with security solutions for DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks, service assurance, and cloud intelligence. Deepfield’s rapid growth and exit was not only lucrative for the company, its investors, and employees, but proved to be highly beneficial to the Ann Arbor region.  While many companies in the Midwest suffer from Early Exit Disease, Deepfield overcame this slippery slope. The timely acquisition will yield an increased employment base in Ann Arbor and continued aggressive growth as an increasing force in the networking sector.

We wish Craig, Joe, Lorne, Rob and the rest of our Deepfield neighbors in Ann Arbor the best of luck in the future!

Posted February 2017 by | Software, Venture Investment Strategy