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Edge Networking Startup Infiot, Backed By $15M In Funding, Exits Stealth

Founded by SD-WAN leader VeloCloud, channel-led Infiot’s solution is about connecting ‘people, places and things’ in a single framework, CEO Parag Thakore told CRN.

A new startup led by seasoned tech veterans is bursting onto the scene with a new approach to edge networking and connectivity at time when demand for Internet of Things applications and remote working is at an all-time high.

Infiot emerged from stealth mode on Wednesday with $15 million, a Series A funding round backed by Lightspeed Venture Partners, Neotribe Ventures, Westwave Capital, and Harpoon Ventures, the company announced.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based startup is putting the money toward building out its channel, Infiot‘s primary route to market, Infiot Co-Founder and CEO Parag Thakore told CRN.

[Related: Cradlepoint CEO: Ericsson’s $1.1B Acquisition Will Help Company Compete Against Cisco Meraki]

Founded in 2018, Infiot is offering a cloud-delivered intelligent thin wireless edge access platform that supports wired, wireless and cellular connectivity. The Intelligent Edge platform brings together connectivity, zero trust security and edge-computing for remote users, sites and devices anywhere in the world, according to Infiot.

The startup is led by networking industry veterans CEO Parag Thakore, CTO Anupam Rai, and Chief Architect Sunil Mukundan, the original founding team members of SD-WAN provider VeloCloud, which was acquired in 2017 by VMware.

Thakore, who spent more than six years in edge networking product management for Cisco Systems, alongside his colleagues, started VeloCloud with the intention of bringing internet into the branch as a cheaper connectivity alternative to expensive, private MPLS connections, all while ensuring the commodity broadband would be reliable and secure enough for enterprises.

After the sale of VeloCloud, Thakore and his team launched Infiot after recognizing that a big part of the edge networking market wasn‘t being addressed: very small locations. SD-WAN was designed for the branch office, and many customers liked the performance SD-WAN provided at these sites, but the smallest locations, like retail stores, that were already using internet instead of MPLS links didn’t need all the bells and whistles of a full-fledged SD-WAN solution, Thakore said.

“This problem has multiplied in COVID times as the remote worker became a branch of one,” Thakore said. “A lot of [vendors] are announcing teleworking solutions, but we believe they were not built from the remote cost mindset.”

At the same time, devices and sensors have also become a branch of one as IoT endpoints are being deployed at an increasingly rapid pace, Thakore said. These devices require edge computing and connectivity to the cloud.

Infiot can address the typical branch and data center deployment, but the startup also built its solution for small environments or endpoints that don’t need a full SD-WAN service, he said.

“It could be users, it could be one user working from home, or it could be devices or one machine,” he said. “It’s about people, places and things and how you connect these together in a single framework,” Thakore said.

The Infiot solution, which is Software as a Service (SaaS)-delivered, gives businesses connectivity, security, and edge computing power in a single pane glass. The startup can also help businesses build overlay tunnels to destinations, such as data centers and points of presence, the company said. The solution can also reduce latency by pushing applications to users directly from the edge device.

Thakore and his team are learning from the mistakes made at VeloCloud, he said. “In the SD-WAN world, the best controller design came from Viptela. Viptela has a good design, but they are not cloud-native, so we came up with an architecture that is completely cloud-native using Kubernetes,” he said. “As you add more and more edges, the cloud grows with you.”

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