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Gainspeed Names New CEO

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

Krishnan Padmanabhan, an exec who is late of Harmonic, NetApp and Philips, took the helm of Gainspeed last Tuesday (September 2), and succeeds Drew Perkins, a company founder who will not retain his formal board seat but will continue to be active with the Gainspeed board.

“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-to-market 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, which still hasn’t announced a product, develops a virtualized and more distributed form of a Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP), a high-density architecture that will enable cable’s all-IP migration.

That plan puts Gainspeed in direct competition with 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 tsunami of IP traffic, particularly bandwidth-intensive video traffic. At last month’s CableLabs Summer Conference in Keystone, Colo., cable engineers recognized Gainspeed’s virtual CCAP, as well as a “virtual retinal display” made by another startup called Avegant, as “Best new idea most likely to succeed.”

“The IP explosion that’s coming their way…is going to be monumental,” Padmanabhan said, holding the belief that it the need will be strong enough for operators to move to a more disruptive approach that will bring major improvements to network performance. “The key thinkers at MSOs are moving our way in terms of thinking through the future.”

Padmanabhan identified three general priorities as he takes on the new role – to ramp up communications with cable operators, building trust with MSOs, and driving toward 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. Juniper Networks, one of Gainspeed’s big investors, CommScope, Netgear and JDSU have struck interoperability partnerships with the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based startup. 

More about Gainspeed’s approach and a lengthier discussion with Padmanabhan will be covered later this month as part of Multichannel News’  coverage of the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, which is scheduled to take place September 22-25 in Denver.