Moment’s First Investment
Soha Systems is a special company for Moment Ventures, as it was the very first investment we made. Soha, which was originally called BubblewrApp, was founded by Haseeb Budhani who had been a leader at several Silicon Valley innovators including Citrix Systems. Haseeb has been a longtime friend of Moment partner, Ammar Hanafi, and was previously a senior executive at one of his prior investments at Alloy Ventures. In 2013, Haseeb began exploring an idea to build an enterprise security platform to enable users to securely access applications, regardless of where the application was hosted, and regardless of where the user was located, and without any purpose-built hardware anywhere. As Haseeb was working to get the product defined, MobileIron technology veteran Hemanth Kavuluru, joined as co-founder. We had the opportunity to see Haseeb and Hemanth in action up close, and were happy to provide a sounding board for them as they conducted numerous customer conversations as they were working towards establishing good product-market fit.
Based on the progress we saw, we took the opportunity to lead Soha’s initial $2 million seed financing round, where we welcomed additional co-investors, which included Menlo Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. Once Soha closed the financing, Haseeb was ready to move out of Moment’s offices and set up his corporate headquarters in Sunnyvale.
An Outage That Explained Everything
After one of Soha’s early product releases, Haseeb asked us to come down to their Sunnyvale headquarters to get our very first hands-on demo of the service. We were eager to see the demo in action and prepared to access their test application with our phones and tablets, without the assistance of any VPN hardware or software client. And of course, as Murphy would have predicted, just as the demo started, an unrelated interruption caused the power in the entire building to go out and we were left sitting in the dark, with only the glow of our mobile screens illuminating the room. And wouldn’t you know it… the demo still worked! The test application was hosted in the cloud, and our mobile devices were running on battery power, so we were easily able to securely access it without a hitch. Haseeb went on to explain that it really didn’t matter where we were located, as we could have been on the other side of the planet in a hotel room or on an airplane at 30,000 feet – our access still would have worked.
The Borderless Enterprise
It was at this point that we knew that Soha had developed a powerful service designed for today’s borderless enterprise. Applications, which can be located anywhere, can be securely and easily accessed by authorized users, also located anywhere. This gives the enterprise granular control on an application by application, user by user basis without having to deploy new technology so that its various class of users can simply use the service. It’s a powerful proposition to which Gartner’s award to Soha in 2016 as a Cool Vendor in Cloud and Emerging Security Technology is a testament.
Soha went on to build an outstanding team, a terrific customer pipeline, and has become a recognized next generation leader in the security industry. We’re very proud of Haseeb, Hemanth and the entire team at Soha, and are grateful to have been a part of their journey. We’re also thrilled to have worked with a terrific co-investor in Menlo Ventures. Menlo led Soha’s Series A round and has been a terrific partner, providing the team with guidance and great advice every step of the way. We’re especially excited because Moment is celebrating this success just shy of one year after we formally closed our debut fund, Moment I. Congratulations again to everyone at Soha and Akamai!