Martin Casado

Martín Casado is a Spanish-born American computer scientist, entrepreneur, and investor. He is a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, and was a pioneer of software-defined networking, and a co-founder of Nicira Networks.

Early life and education

Martín Casado was born around 1976 in Cartagena, Spain.[1] He received his bachelor's degree from Northern Arizona University in 2000.[2] In 2017, he received an honorary doctorate from the same university.[3] He worked for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory doing computational science[4] followed by work with the intelligence community from 2000 to 2003.[4] Casado attended Stanford University from 2003 to 2007, earning both his Masters and PhD in computer science.[5] While at Stanford, he began development of OpenFlow,[6] an open source protocol that enabled software-defined networking. During this period, he co-founded Illuminics Systems[7] with Michael J. Freedman.[7] Illuminics Systems was acquired by Quova, Inc. in November, 2006.[7] His PhD thesis, "Architectural Support for Security Management in Enterprise Networks,” under advisors Nick McKeown, Scott Shenker and Dan Boneh, was published in 2008.[5]


In 2007, Casado co-founded Nicira Networks along with McKeown and Shenker, a Palo Alto, California based company working on network virtualization. Along with McKeown and Shenker, Casado promoted software-defined networking.[6] His PhD work at Stanford University led to the development of the OpenFlow protocol, which was promoting using the term software-defined networking (SDN). McKeown and Shenker co-founded the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) in 2011 to transfer control of OpenFlow to a not-for-profit organization.[8]

In July 2012, VMware acquired Nicira for $1.26 billion.[9][10] At VMware he was made a fellow and held the positions chief technology officer (CTO) for networking and security and general manager of the Networking and Security Business Unit.[11]

Casado was named one of Business Insider’s 50 most powerful people in enterprise tech in 2012,[12] and was featured in Silicon Valley’s Business Journal’s “Silicon Valley 40 Under 40” in 2013.[1] Casado was a 2012 recipient of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Grace Murray Hopper Award as for helping create the Software Defined Networking movement.[13]

In 2015 Casado, McKeown and Shenker received the NEC C&C Foundation award for SDN and OpenFlow.[14] In 2015, he was selected for Forbes’ “Next Gen Innovators 2014.” [15] Casado left VMware and joined venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz in February 2016 as its ninth general partner.[16][17][18] Andreessen Horowitz had been one of the investors Nicira, contributing $17.7 million to the start-up venture.[10]


  1. Linda Taaffe (December 6, 2013). "Silicon Valley 40 under 40: Martin Casado". Silicon Valley Business Journal. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  2. "Roots that Matter" (Press release). Northern Arizona University. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  3. "Around the Town: NAU graduation Friday and Saturday" (Press release). Arizona Daily Sun. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  4. "The accidental entrepreneur". Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. April 9, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  5. Martin Casado (December 2007). "Architectural Support for Security Management in Enterprise Networks" (PDF). PhD dissertation. Stanford University. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  6. Sean Michael Kerner (April 29, 2013). "OpenFlow Inventor Martin Casdo on SDN, VMware, and Software Defined Networking Hype". Enterprise Networking Planet. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  7. "Illuminics Systems". CrunchBase. March 2006. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  8. John Markoff (March 22, 2011). "Open Networking Foundation Pursues New Standards". New York Times. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  9. Quentin Hardy (October 17, 2011). "What is Nicira up to?". Bits Blog. New York Times. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  10. Dina Bass and Sarah Frier (July 24, 2012). "VMware to Buy Nicira Network Software for $1.26 Billion". Bloomberg Business. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  11. "Martin Casado". VMware. Archived from the original on April 23, 2016. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  12. Julie Bort (June 22, 2012). "The 50 Most Powerful People in Enterprise Tech". Business Insider. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  13. Virginia Gold (April 9, 2013). "Martin Casado, Award Winner" (PDF) (Press release). ACM. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 5, 2016. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  14. "NEC C&C Foundation Awards 2015 C&C Prize" (Press release). NEC Corporation. October 16, 2015. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  15. Roger Trapp (April 28, 2015). "Martin Casado, Cofounder of Nicira and General Manager of Networking, VMware". Forbes. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  16. Marc Andreessen (February 24, 2016). "Martin Casado". Andreessen Horowitz. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  17. Alex Konrad (February 24, 2016). "Andreessen Horowitz Names Nicira and VMware Veteran Martin Casdo Its Ninth General Partner". Forbes. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  18. Darren Pauli (February 25, 2016). "NSX Daddy Martin Casado leaves VMware to become a VC: Andreessen Horowitz lures mightily influential network virtualisation figure". The Register. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
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