Customers, users, and friends of OpenDNS,
This morning Cisco announced its intention to acquire OpenDNS. I often say we have the best users and customers in the world, and I mean it. It’s because of you that we have grown into the company we are today. Your feedback and support helps us build world-class security services, and frankly, it’s what motivates us each and every day to deliver security solutions to keep you and your company secure. Today we protect 65 million Internet users spread across more than 150 countries. That number includes the employees of more than 10,000 organizations, from small businesses to global deployments with Fortune 500 enterprises. Believe me – That’s a lot of motivation!
We will carry this passion with us as we transition to become a part of Cisco. We take our commitment to you and your trust in us with the utmost seriousness. It’s an honor to serve you.
Cisco recognized this passion and was drawn to OpenDNS because of it. Cisco’s commitment back to you is to maintain OpenDNS as it is today. We’re not going anywhere and OpenDNS as you know it will continue to work as it does today. In Cisco’s words: “This level of service for all users is a priority.”
We’re very excited for what the future holds, and we’ll share more about that in the coming months. In the meantime, I’d like to point you to a blog post from Cisco Chief Technology and Strategy Officer Hilton Romanski which you can find here. Below, I have included an email I sent earlier this morning to the incredible team we have here at OpenDNS that provides more details on this partnership with Cisco.
Letter to Employees
You’re going to read in the news this morning (or afternoon for the London team) that we’ve entered into an agreement to be acquired by Cisco. Because this is a really big deal and Cisco is a public company, I unfortunately wasn’t able to talk about it with all of you before the news hit the wires. If you haven’t read the announcement yet, you should take a moment to read the press release first.
I have a lot to say, but I’ll try to keep it short since I know you all have a lot of questions. We will answer them starting with this email and continue at a Townhall meeting at 10am Pacific. And for those interested, I have added some expanded thoughts at the bottom of this email.
First: This is an incredible milestone for our business – a milestone very few other companies ever reach. This is a testament to the outstanding team we have assembled, the rapidly scaling business we have created, and the advanced security solutions we have developed. You should be exceptionally proud.
Second: I’m incredibly excited about the potential this unlocks for us in the years to come. Other companies have approached us in the past, and when Cisco initially presented us with an offer, while flattered, we didn’t think it would progress further than previous similar discussions. However, over the course of our conversations, we got to know Cisco better as a company and as individuals. And every interaction has reinforced that we share a common vision and worldview. It became clear that they were the right partner and that now was the right time. We didn’t decide to sell OpenDNS. We decided to sell OpenDNS to Cisco. That’s an important distinction.
When Cisco made a compelling case that we would be stronger together, we agreed. We’re confident about this next move for us. Cisco has great respect for the technology we’ve built and taken to market, for our incredible team, and for our culture. Cisco is not buying OpenDNS for our individual components, but for the whole. I will speak more about this today and over the coming weeks.
Third: We believe we can move faster and with more impact by leveraging Cisco’s scale and resources in a way that we would be unable to do on our own or with any other partner. Just look up how many of their endpoint clients are installed (over 100 million!) or routers and firewalls deployed!
So what happens next? Our jobs will be the same as they were yesterday. In fact, because this is such a big deal, we need to go through some anti-trust clearance and other closing conditions before we finalize the transaction. That will take anywhere between six and eight weeks, maybe less. Going forward our goals and vision remain unchanged. Help the world connect with confidence on any device, anywhere, anytime by designing, developing and building world-class security services for the customers who rely on us.
Right now you should pause for a moment and be proud. Whether you have been here for five years or five weeks or five days, the company that you joined was the right one, and will continue to be the right one. We have developed pioneering security services, delivered them to market, and had great fun while doing it. All of this is an amazing accomplishment. I am confident that we have many more accomplishments to celebrate ahead of us.
On a personal note, I love working with all of you. I am so proud of the company we have built together. As I’ve said in meetings before, this kind of thing doesn’t just happen. It takes hard work and really is something special. Very few companies ever achieve a level of success like we have. In case any of you are wondering, I’m not going anywhere. I love what I do, working with all of you, shipping incredible security products, and I’m excited to keep doing that at Cisco. Over the coming months we will be working with each of you on becoming Cisco employees. This will be a collaborative process, just as most things are here.
For some logistics… You’ll get more details later today and we will all gather at 10am for a Townhall. If you are remote, you can connect to a WebEx that will be sent out in an invite. It’s also the end of the quarter, and in the midst of all this news, we need to continue to exceed our Q2 Goals. Q3 starts tomorrow, and we have a big number to hit. Something tells me this news will help flood your inbox with leads. 🙂
— Some expanded thoughts on this acquisition —
OpenDNS has always been a security company. When we first launched as a “faster and safer DNS”
service, we had individuals, parents, schools, universities, businesses and multinational corporations all using us to secure their networks from threats. At first it was phishing threats. Then it was content filtering controls. Then Internet-scale attacks like Conficker.
Then the world changed, and we were ready. Mobile devices transformed the way people work. The cloud took applications and servers outside the datacenter and office. LTE, widely-available connectivity, and increased bandwidth made this possible. Workers now work wherever work needs to get done. Yesterday’s anomaly of an employee sitting at Starbucks on their own laptop using Salesforce and Box has become today’s normal. And as a result we grew our business tremendously. Moreover, we realized the power of the data running across our network and sought to make it meaningful; and Security Graph was born to automatically identify new threats as they emerged, without any action on the part of the customer. There were no nightly anti-virus updates, no hardware appliances to deploy, and it was simple to use. This was unprecedented.
OpenDNS’s technological innovations set the foundation to make the last three years here incredible; for instance, we’ve averaged more than 20% growth every quarter for the last ten consecutive quarters. We’re more than 300 employees, we’re closing $1M annual recurring revenue deals, and we’ve added more than 2,000 paying customers this year alone. We have global deployments with the largest companies in the world and a superb retention rate that is without compare in our industry.
Fortunately for us, we’ve also always had amazing, passionate customers who gave us invaluable feedback and helped guide our product’s direction. We developed our solutions with the belief that if we built and delivered what customers want, we’d build a healthy, thriving business. And we have. Today we protect 65M Internet users around the world and the entire workforces of Fortune 50 companies. Which is all a long way of saying that we didn’t have to sell this company. We have always used revenue as a way of controlling our own destiny. We made this decision to sell OpenDNS because I believe we can take our incredible teams and technologies, and harness the resources, reach, and scale of Cisco to deliver better products faster, while recognizing an incredible and rarely experienced milestone for all of us along the way.