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(SnapRoute Image)

SnapRoute, a networking startup formed by Apple engineers, announced Tuesday that it secured $25 million in a Series A venture funding round with new investments from AT&T and Microsoft Ventures.

The startup uses open-source software to allow network administrators to create more flexible data centers, which challenges the need for expensive hardware. Microsoft’s venture fund, Microsoft Ventures, said the combination of a strong product and team led to its investment in SnapRoute.

“SnapRoute is filling a gap in how network engineers work today by offering a highly scalable open networking stack, enabling engineers to work more efficiently and reduce enterprise costs,” Microsoft Ventures VP Nagraj Kashyap said in a statement. “This smart offering, paired with a strong technical team, sets SnapRoute up for continued market traction.”

SnapRoute CEO Jason Forrester

SnapRoute was founded by Jason Forrester, Apple’s former global data center network manager, who said the company’s FlexSwitch software has grabbed “a bunch” of customers since its launch last year.

“For about 30 years they had little choice,” Forrester wrote in November. “Networking has been closely coupled to hardware and has lacked the kind of flexibility that the computing and storage sides of the house have come to take for granted in the last 10 to 15 years. What we’ve done with FlexSwitch is use open source software to make networks as flexible as servers and storage. ”

The company has had no trouble getting attention. When touting its own Open Compute Project, Facebook said it was excited about SnapRoute and has tested the company’s FlexSwitch software on its Wedge network switches.

The latest round of financing — led by Norwest Venture Partners and also including existing investor Lightspeed Venture Partners — suggests that attention is likely to continue. The company said it will use the $25 million to accelerate the development of its software.

“In under a year, we’ve been able to challenge legacy players who have previously had a tight grip on the market,” Forrester said. “Why? Because our technology is more agile, flexible and affordable than any other offering. This approach has already been validated by our production customers. We are excited for the next phase of the company and to expand our offering and customer base.”

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