Gainspeed Grabs Some More Green

Gainspeed is gathering momentum on the financial front as the startup also makes progress with a new distributed broadband platform that is already getting high marks from engineers and analysts.

Juniper Strategic Investments, a venture-capital arm of optics and telecom gear and software supplier Juniper Networks, confirmed exclusively to Multichannel News last week that it has led a “B” round of funding in Gainspeed, a company founded last year by Shlomo Rakib, a cable broadband engineer who also co-founded Terayon Communication Systems, a cable-modem and network-equipment vendor that was sold to Motorola in 2007 for $140 million.

Juniper and Gainspeed declined to disclose the amount raised in the B round or identify who else participated, but it follows the $22.8 million round Gainspeed landed last fall led by such backers as Andreessen Horowitz, Shasta Ventures and New Enterprise Associates.

Gainspeed (formerly known as Cohere Networks and founded in 2012) has not revealed its product strategy, but the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company is said to be working on a virtualized Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) that’s designed to boost the capacity of cable networks.

Gainspeed is apparently making progress. Jeff Heynen, the principal analyst for broadband access and pay TV at Infonetics Research, said he saw a private demonstration of Gainspeed’s platform at last week’s SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in Atlanta. He characterized the product as strand-mounted optical node, noting that the prototype shown last week was far enough along to support live traffic. “The secret sauce is in the software,” Heynen said.

The demo also received rave reviews from an engineer with a top-five U.S. cable MSO. “I didn’t just walk away impressed. I walked away blown away,” he said, impressed with the progress Gainspeed has made in just a year with its made-from-scratch, custom code.

The Gainspeed investment should give Juniper another angle into cable. Officials for Juniper said Gainspeed’s technology is a logical fit with its strategy to help cable operators to centralize the control of their networks while also distributing processing through the use of software-defined networking and network functions virtualization.

This is not the first time Juniper has pursued a cable-access angle. In 2001, Juniper bought CMTS startup Pacific Broadband Communications for $200 million in stock. The product did not gain much traction, and Juniper shut it down in 2003, opting instead for a temporary deal to resell the Arris CMTS.