Arrcus: The People, The Tech, and The Market are Just Right

July 16, 2018 | Steve Herrod

As a managing director at General Catalyst Partners and investor in Arrcus, I’ve had the opportunity to lead the latest round of Arrcus’s financing. As with all investments, our interest in Arrcus stems from a number of specific advantages we see the company has. For Arrcus, these reasons are the people, the overall market, and the technology we’re going to use to solve the critical problems in networking today.

The people

Arrcus has a fantastic team that starts with the leadership group. This group has a very rich history, both in leading startups but as well as being domain experts within the networking space. It’s also important for companies like Arrcus to have an incredible development team. We’ve been able to develop such a team with Arrcus by securing the services of an amazing set of people right from the start, including talent on the software side of the business, the data side, as well as the hardware side. This combination of talent is capable of bringing highly impressive products together and deliver them to our customers.

The market

Another area we always consider when investing in companies is the market itself. In the networking market today, there is a lot of opportunity not only to create a business with the potential to grow, but there are a number of large problems looming that need to be solved with creative products and technologies. To us, this indicates that the market will be very receptive to the kind of work and the kind of innovations Arrcus is working on.

Networking is the foundation on which is built all our Internet services, from data centers and cloud offerings to end-user Internet access. We see a real opportunity to deliver a new type of networking within this environment that will be more efficient, better priced, and certainly deliver the quality and performance demanded by the cutting-edge services that customers demand today.

Networking’s value

As the foundation of the data center, networking is an absolutely critical layer that enables companies to deliver services to customers. Surprisingly, this foundational technology has undergone a relatively small amount of innovation compared to the evolution of the services built on the network.

We see a big opportunity to deliver a new stack of software that enables people not only to deliver traditional network services, but to be more agile and cost effective and deliver next-generation quality for all Internet services.

Learning from VMware

Prior to becoming an investor, I was the CTO at VMware, which represents one of the major software innovations to hit the data center for a long time. I see a lot of parallels between the success of VMware and what Arrcus has to offer. The idea that both these platforms are built on, which is something you learn in computer science courses, is that you can solve a lot of problems with a layer of indirection.

In the case of Arrcus, the software works across a wide variety of hardware and provides tools to improve efficiency, deliver new services, as well as to simply move faster and deliver innovation more quickly.

As I look at Arrcus and the opportunity to bring to networking what was brought to servers and to storage with VMware, I see number of exciting possibilities for what we can deliver.

Why ArcOS is exciting

Enterprise software, particularly for networking, has to be seriously top-notch. It’s one thing to design software that simply works, but it’s another thing entirely to design software that has the robustness and performance that are expected of a router or a switch—and these are the things that are the most central to how you actually deliver your software.

Even more significantly, we’re coupling this enterprise-grade operating system with very unique capabilities around data collection. As we head forward, the amount of data we’re able to collect and use will ultimately lead to a much better routing or switching experience.

I’ve seen a lot of software delivered over the years, and I’m extremely excited about ArcOS. It provides a real, robust software stack for modern networking that will bring agility and elasticity. Through its data collection and the usage of that data, I believe we can make a cognitive solution that will change the game and help us think about networking differently.

About Steve

As managing director at General Catalyst Partners, Steve invests in early-stage enterprise start-ups, particularly in the enterprise space. Until 2013, Steve was CTO and SVP of Research and Development at VMware. During his tenure, Steve helped build a world-class 3,000-person engineering organization that delivered numerous industry-changing products; he was also named InfoWorld’s CTO of the Year in 2009. Prior to VMware, Steve co-led the development of a virtual CPU with “code morphing” technology at Transmeta Corporation, and held roles at SGI and MIPS Technologies. Outside of work, Steve focuses on the advancement of children’s education, particularly around STEM. Steve holds a PhD and a master’s degree in computer science from Stanford University, and a BA with distinction in computer science from the University of Texas at Austin.