When Mist was founded in 2014, we had a bold vision of leading a new era of IT that uses AI to save time and money, deliver unprecedented scale, and provide unparalleled user experiences. Given the importance of wireless networks – and the challenges with traditional solutions – this was the natural place to start. So, in 2016 we delivered the world’s first AI-driven WLAN with several industry firsts, including a microservices architecture, Wi-Fi service levels, dynamic Packet Capture (dPCAP), automated event correlation, and virtual Bluetooth LE (vBLE) .
In the first full year of shipping the Mist Learning WLAN (2017), we won numerous accolades and were labeled a visionary in two Gartner MQ’s (a feat that was also repeated last year). Plus, we established a strong foundation of marquee customers, including the largest online retailer, largest Internet company, and a premier resort.
Going into 2018, I was naturally excited for what was to come. But, I never expected a year like this!
Mist experienced over 400% growth in sales in 2018, and tripled the company’s size. We knocked down the walls (literally) to double the size of our HQ, added another corporate office in Austin, and hired local teams in Australia, Benelux, Germany, Japan, Middle East, India, and UK. In addition, we achieved the following milestones, all of which contributed to an amazing year:
- Introduced the first AI-driven virtual network assistant, “Marvis”, which uses natural language processing for easy queries and unprecedented insight.
- Secured series C funding, bringing total investment to approximately $90 M. (VC powerhouse Kleiner Perkins led the round, which included a list of star-studded VC firms like Lightspeed, Norwest, and Google Ventures.)
- Launched Managed Service programs with 2 of the Top 5 largest global Telcos, including an SD-WLAN service with Verizon
- Grew our list of certified Mist solution providers globally to well over 200 partners.
- Repeatedly saw amazing coverage in technology and business press, such as:
- CIO magazine: How AI is reshaping IT operations
- Forbes: AIOps: A Self-Driving Car For Computer Networks
- Wall Street Journal: The Morning Download: Artificial Intelligence Starts With Data
- Developed the first AI for IT certification class
- Partnered with top IT vendors, such as Juniper, Palo Alto, and VMware, to bring Mist’s AI across the full stack
- Delivered the first OpenConfig implementation for wireless
- Earned the business (and trust) of the most respected companies in the world, including the following Mist customers:
- 3 of the Fortune 10
- Over 20 of the Fortune 500
- 7 of the Top 40 Retailers
- 4 of the Top 10 Social Media / Online Collaboration Companies
- 1 of the Top 3 Largest Airlines
- Key references in almost every vertical, including Hospitality (Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin), Healthcare (Orlando VA Medical Center), Higher Education (Dartmouth College), Manufacturing, and Technology.
What’s next? In 2019, we will offer new products and services that expand the Mist value proposition and enable our WLAN to be deployed in even more environments. In addition, we will continue to work with industry leaders to extend AI across the whole stack, delivering the IT Infrastructure of the future. Plus, and perhaps most importantly, we will continue to bring new and amazing wireless experiences to the top enterprises, schools, stores, campuses, hospitals, hotels, airports, and warehouses throughout the world.
I recently saw a quote from Joel A. Barker that stuck with me. “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.”
Mist has the bold vision of delivering a new IT service model powered by AI, starting with the wireless network. In 2018, we showed that we can take substantial action towards executing on this vision. Will this change the world? With over 9 Billion Wi-Fi enabled devices in use today (and growing), the potential for AI-driven wireless networks is huge. We have a very long way to go, but I am extremely grateful – and excited – to see what the coming year(s) have in store.