In a classic tale of shepherding our clients from start-up to financing to product launch and sale, Pillsbury guided Nicira from its incorporation in 2007 to its goal of providing software-defined virtual networks to customers just five years later. Founded by a team of engineers from Stanford and the University of California, Nicira initially raised $50 million in funding from VCs like Andreessen Horowitz and Lightspeed Ventures. By 2012, the Silicon Valley-based company launched its Network Virtualization Platform (NVP), which decouples network intelligence from physical switches and routers to create software-defined virtual networks. The virtual networks, which are nothing short of revolutionary after 30 years of using standard architecture, didn’t take long to attract customers like eBay, Fidelity and Rackspace. Not much longer after that, Nicira attracted the eyes of potential acquirers. One suitor, VMware, bid $1.26 billion for the company – a deal that Pillsbury helped Nicira consummate. The sale put VMware’s market-leading cloud infrastructure clout behind Nicira’s disruptive technology. And that just might be the catalyst for the next 30 years of networking history.