Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, First Round Capital is a venture capital (VC) firm that’s invested in some of the most familiar names in tech. Companies like Square, Uber, Roblox, and Notion have benefited from First Round’s funds, and seeing to the firm's technology needs for the past 15 years is Director of IT, Ryan Donnon.

Managing IT for First Round Capital’s three offices—that span coast to coast—in San Francisco, Philadelphia, and New York City is no small feat. Help desk tickets, budgeting, team management, and information security are but a few of the tasks Ryan tackles in a given week. So when it came time to build out a new office, Ryan needed a simple solution that was in line with the firm’s cloud-first approach.

Venture Capital
Project scope:
Network as a Service
San Francisco, CA

The Problem: Spotty Wi-Fi and Connectivity for VIP Guests

During Ryan’s tenure, he’d deployed everything from Ruckus Networks to Meraki devices. Each move was calculated to lighten the management load while streamlining the user experience, especially when startup founders were in the office and needed connectivity.

But when the inevitable issues sprang up, it was all down to Ryan to get things sorted. And when the issue is being had by a visiting founder or other VIP guest, the impetus was that much greater.

“Not having to even worry about support, knowing there’s a team of experts that are not only there to advise but to identify and fix issues is a huge delta for me.” Ryan Donnon Director of IT, First Round Capital

When Ryan heard about Meter, he knew he’d found the logical extension of his cloud-first focus, seeing the Networking as a Service (NaaS) model as the final frontier of what’s possible with office network infrastructure. “Meter is the final step of moving everything to the cloud. It’s completely managed for me.”

The Solution: Networking as a Service from Meter

Much of this process came down to people for Ryan. “Really, it was being able to have conversations with the team about the hardware, gaining an understanding of what’s gone into developing your products, that helped sell me on Meter.”

“It was all about talking to folks that I trusted who were already using the product and hearing how happy they were and how glad they made the switch. Then hearing how they were planning on moving even more infrastructure to Meter, that was enough, I was sold.” Ryan Donnon

Knowing he has a team of experts he can call on for any networking issues, any time of day, was another huge factor that sold Ryan on Meter. “Rather than saying, ‘Go check these settings and call us back,’ Meter says, ‘OK, I see what the problem is and it’s fixed now.’ Or if it required downtime, they ask when they can schedule the fix to go live and not disrupt our team’s workday. Just not having to worry about that is amazing.”

Then Ryan found out that the San Francisco office needed to relocate and the timeline was tight. Ryan's first notifying Meter of the move to the network going live was a total of only 4 weeks. That included a full site survey, Internet Service Provider (ISP) selection (more on that in a moment), hardware installation, and software configuration. Having a team of experts working on his side meant that the new office network was ready on moving day, rather than the 6+ weeks it can often take to build out and spin up a new network.

The Result: “It’s All Taken Care Of”

Ryan has an anecdote from just after the San Francisco office went live, “We had a founder visiting who needed to Airplay something to the conference room screen and it wasn’t working. I called Meter and within a few minutes was hearing, ‘You should move your AV systems to a different subnet, then open that up for visitors without interfering with the rest of the office’s connectivity.’ And 10 minutes later it was done.” 

“I call Meter an ‘End-to-End Networking as a Service’ company. If you need your internet infrastructure up and running quickly and easily, just call Meter. They’ll get you from 0 to 100 with little to no pain.” Ryan Donnon

There was another, surprise benefit Ryan highlighted. Meter’s Connect software allowed Ryan to quickly locate and establish a new ISP connection for their new offices. His Connect dashboard laid out the options, with the plusses and minuses of each, allowing him to decide in a matter of minutes something that had previously eaten up days' worth of his time.

“Having one person that has a holistic view of our network, from ISP down to individual endpoints, has made troubleshooting as close to painless as I can imagine is possible.” Guest experience is paramount in the venture capital world, and switching to Meter has allowed Ryan and First Round Capital to guarantee their VIP visitors get top-notch service and support.

“I’d give Meter a 10 out of 10. There was really only one metric for me during this project, people complaining about the office internet, and there’s not been one complaint since we switched to Meter.” Ryan Donnon

For more information on how Meter can save your IT team headaches, smooth out your VIP guests’ experience, and bring you the peace of mind of a managed and secure NaaS network, reach out to our team of experts.