Tibit Lands $13.8M ‘A’ Round

Tibit Communications, a startup with technology that’s focused on telcos and cable operator access networks, said it has landed a $13.8 million “A” round led by a mix of strategic investors and network operators.

Tibit didn’t reveal those investors, but Liberty Global praised the Petaluma, Calif.-based company and identified itself as one of the vendor’s partners in Tuesday’s funding announcement.

Founded in 2014, Tibit’s initial focus is on pluggable devices that are focused on helping telcos and cable operators virtualize their networks.

Tibit’s initial products are the MicroPlug OLT and ONT, claiming they provide FTTx PON fiber access from Ethernet switches and other devices equipped with an Ethernet port, including fiber nodes, and that those modules work with some of the market’s leading Software Defined Networking orchestrators.

“PON is not a box anymore,” Edward Boyd, Tibit’s chief technology officer and co-founder, said, noting that the vendor’s pluggable form factor packs in the MAC and PHY layer components.

He said the technology will fit into cable’s strategy as MSOs shift away from centralized access network architectures to those that distribute those components.

Part of the pitch is that operators can plug in Tibit’s components without altering the fiber plant, and that operators can move to generic Ethernet switching hardware and take advantage of those economics without being locked into a specific vendor’s chassis. It also allows operators to put in PON where they want on a port-to-port, selectable basis, Boyd said.

Cable operators are interested, he said, because they can drop a fiber into a neighborhood in a  greenfield scenario without having to add a hub site or headend.

“Partnering with Tibit fits our strategic GIGAWorld ambition of bringing high-speed gigabit connectivity to homes and businesses as early as possible,” Colin Buechner, managing director or access networks as Liberty Global, said in a statement. “The Tibit MicroPlug provides significant flexibility in the systems that we can use to provide FTTx. We can purchase FTTx solutions from a much wider supplier base and get one that best fits the deployment need.”

Tibit is currently enabling partners to evaluate its products with a programmable FPGA version of the product, and expects to reach production on the actual modules, which will run on custom silicon, later this year, Boyd said.

Tibit, which has about 20 employees, all in engineering, is led by a team that hails from the telecom world. Boyd previsuly was CTO and co-founder of Teknovus (now part of Broadcom). Tibi president and CEO and co-founder Richard Stanfield was once CEO of Imagine Communications, and led the sale of the company to Harris Broadcast Corp. in January 2014.

In 2015, Boyd, along with Kevin Noll, then with Time Warner Cable, and Fernando Villarruel of Cisco Systems, and Saifur Rahman & Nagesh Nandiraju of Comcast co-authored a white paper that compared and contrasted several solutions for implementing a PON in a node-based architecture.

“Remote PONs can be very beneficial to MSOs. They allow the operator to run fiber with very high efficiency or connect customers at very long distances. An operator can reach customers without adding hubsites and could potentially consolidate hubsites,” they concluded. 

Though Tibit is announcing the funding today, the company filed an SEC document on Oct. 14, 2016, showing the $13.84 million raise, with a total remaining to be sold of approximately $805,218.