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Exavio Stores $7M for Cable Idea

Heading into OFC, new startup bags $7M as it strives to make a video-on-demand dream come true

March 7, 2003

3 Min Read
Exavio Stores $7M for Cable Idea

Stealthy startup Exavio won't say exactly what it's building for carriers, but the company might drop a hint or two at the upcoming OFC Conference. The company's founder and CEO, Ji Zhang, is speaking on a March 27th panel hosted by Exavio board member David Britts, who is a partner at ComVentures.

Exavio is backed by $7 million in funding from ComVentures and the Crystal Internet Venture Fund LP, according to Thomson Financial's Venture Economics. Exavio's vice president of marketing, Gary Law, says the round is still open and the company is out talking to investors.

In general terms, Exavio is building a on-demand media solution for cable operators and carriers who have cable, DSL, and Ethernet access networks. "Instead of broadcast video [on demand], think of what it would take to deliver television-quality MPEG video over IP and what would enable a network-based PVR (personal video recorder)," Law says.

Think of being able to have access to everything that's being broadcast on TV or via satellite today during a 3-week sliding window, Law says. He paints the picture of a world where a cable TV subscriber could go back and view anything in that 3-week window whenever they wanted.

"There are several components to such a system and one of those is a storage solution," says Law. In fact, Law says the company had already started shipping a storage product for revenues before it raised its Series A funding round.

Exavio was founded in early 2002 and it employs 13 people in San Jose and about 10 in an engineering facility in Beijing. John Bing, Humphrey Liu, and Ji Zhang are the founders.

Zhang was founder and chief technology officer of V-Bits, a cable video processing equipment maker that was acquired by Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) in Dec. 1999 for $128 million. From 1994 to 1997, Zhang was a staff engineer at DiviCom Inc. in Milpitas, Calif., a leading developer of digital video networking products that merged with Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) in 2000.

To handle the black art of marketing, Exavio has employed Law, the former VP of marketing for defunct optical switch maker BrightLink Networks. Law's prior marketing roles included stints at Terayon Communication Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: TERN), Adaptec Inc.'s (Nasdaq: ADPT) Networking Products Group, and Bay Networks (now Nortel Networks Corp.).

The startup also recently hired Brian Bentley as its vice president of sales. Bentley also hails from Terayon, and he spent more than 12 years in cable industry sales for companies such as Scientific-Atlanta Inc. (NYSE: SFA) and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT).

Of course, even if Exavio successfully builds a video-on-demand solution and a network PVR, the IP data streams could only be doled out to customers with some sophisticated software and other network elements. "It's a massive undertaking, and clearly we're not doing everything," Law says.

— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading

For up-to-date information about the coming OFCConference, please visit Light Reading’s Unauthorized OFC Preview Site

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