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Gainspeed Gains a CEO As Startup Heads to Market

Gainspeed, a startup that is developing a “virtualized” architecture that aims to revolutionize the performance and economics of the cable access network, has landed a new CEO to head up the company’s go-to-market phase.

Krishnan Padmanabhan, formerly with Harmonic, NetApp and Philips, took the helm of Gainspeed last Tuesday (Sept. 2), and succeeds Drew Perkins, a Gainspeed co-founder who will retain his spot on the board and continue to advise the company.

“As many of you know, the early stages of a company are my forte, and I really wanted to find a CEO who could lead Gainspeed into its go-tomarket stage,” Perkins, the former chief technology officer of Infinera, said in a memo to Gainspeed employees. “Krish has the passion, knowledge and skills to lead Gainspeed into its next chapter, and I look forward to seeing the company thrive under his leadership.”

Padmanabhan takes the reins of Gainspeed as the company, which still hasn’t announced a product, pushes ahead on the development of a virtualized, more distributed form of a Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP), a high-density architecture that will enable cable’s all-Internet protocol migration.

That plan puts Gainspeed in direct competition with CCAP suppliers such as Harmonic, where Padmanabhan most recently served as senior vice president of product, as well as Arris and Casa Systems.

Padmanabhan said he was drawn to Gainspeed because it is working on technology that’s poised to help cable prepare for a tsunami of IP traffic, particularly bandwidth-intensive video traffic. At last month’s CableLabs Summer Conference in Keystone, Colo., cable engineers identified Gainspeed’s virtual CCAP as a “best new idea most likely to succeed.”

“The IP explosion that’s coming their way … is going to be monumental,” Padmanabhan said, adding that he believes the need will be strong enough for operators to move to a more disruptive approach that promises to deliver major improvements to network performance and economics, while also reducing power and space requirements at the cable headend because key functions that have traditionally been centralized would be pushed deep into the network.

Padmanabhan identified three general priorities as he takes on the new role — to ramp up communications with cable operators, build trust with MSOs and drive toward Gainspeed’s first batch of trials.

Gainspeed, a company started up by Shlomo Rakib, a DOCSIS pioneer and a co-founder of Terayon Communication Systems (sold to Motorola in 2007), has raised about $33 million.

Gainspeed has already been engaging with vendors that will fi t into the ecosystem of its architecture. Juniper Networks (one of Gainspeed’s big investors), CommScope, Netgear and JDSU have forged technology interoperability partnerships with the Sunnyvale, Calif.- based startup.