Stoke Gets Stoked With $20M
Stealthy startup Stoke Inc. has grabbed some VC funding but is not yet ready to go public with details of the fixed/mobile convergence (FMC) products it is working on.
The company wouldn't officially comment on the funding, but according to Venture Wire, it has received $19.8 million in a series B round. "There's clearly been a funding event," allows Keith Higgins, who is heading up marketing for the firm. Stoke is backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital.
Even as other FMC startups start to crowd the marketplace, Stoke wants to keep its powder dry and not reveal too many details about its product line. "There's a lot of things to be solved in fixed/mobile convergence," says Higgins, before clamming up.
But a source tells Unstrung that Stoke is working on a box that will enable an end-to-end VPN connection from "any-to-any" network point. So that could be a WLAN network to a GSM network, or a cable network to WiMax.
Stoke's CEO Randall Kruep certainly has a history on the wired side of the networking business. He was a top salesman at Redback Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RBAK) before he became CEO at Procket. He resigned from Procket in June 2003, and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) purchased the firm's assets earlier this year. (see Procket CEO Resigns and Cisco to Pay $89M for Procket Assets).
Of course, a lot of young companies out there are looking to solve very similar problems (see The Convergence Contenders). Some of Stoke's rivals include Azaire Networks Inc., NewStep Networks Inc., and Persona Software Inc., each of which takes a different approach to the problem of allowing data and voice calls to be passed between different fixed and mobile network types.
And, at the time of writing, it is not clear why the startup decided to name itself after a rainy town in Northern England.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung