Martin Casado

Today I am delighted to announce that Martin Casado is joining Andreessen Horowitz as a General Partner!

Ben and I first met Martin in 2009 when he and colleagues from Stanford and UC Berkeley were forming their startup Nicira Networks. I vividly recall Martin, a newly minted Stanford Computer Science PhD, vigorously pitching us on a networking future where software would run the show. He was clearly speaking our language.

a16z became Nicira’s first institutional investor, and Nicira launched into the networking industry like a cannonball hitting placid water. Very quickly the rest of the networking world followed the lead of Martin and the Nicira team toward what we now know as software defined networks (SDN). VMware subsequently bought Nicira for $1.26 billion in 2012, and startup history was made.

But Martin wasn’t done yet. Whereas most founders with his deep technical background would either stay in the larger company in an architect role, or leave to found a new startup, Martin quickly became the general manager of VMware’s entire networking and security portfolio, managing thousands of the industry’s best and finest. This culminated with the product family, under Martin’s leadership, closing out 2015 at an astonishing $600 million annual revenue run rate, and with a six-fold increase in paying customers only three years after Nicira was acquired.

Martin brings to a16z a very special set of skills. He’s worked on large-scale simulations of nuclear weapons at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. After the Sept. 11 attacks, Martin shifted his research focus to the intelligence community, determining the vulnerability to remote attack of networks through which flowed incredibly classified operations. You can imagine.

While working in this environment, Martin realized that unlike computers, networking gear lacked the ability to be programmed and applied to use cases not intended by the vendors. One PhD later, Nicira was born.

PhD-level technologist, industry visionary, product creator, company founder, business builder, and operating manager, Martin’s skill set is directly aligned with a16z’s core philosophy of working with the world’s best founders to help build the industry’s best companies. We are confident Martin will raise our game!

Ben and I would like to especially thank our friends Andy Rachleff, Nick McKeown, Scott Shenker, and Steve Mullaney with whom Martin started and built Nicira — without them we would never have met Martin and this day wouldn’t be possible.