Intel Capital Splashes $117M on 14 Startups – Including a Telco Supplier

Tibit Communications, one of the beneficiaries of Intel's investment, provides home, office and cell site broadband connectivity. Others relate to AI, IoT and other emerging applications driving network demand.

Mitch Wagner, Executive Editor, Light Reading

April 1, 2019

3 Min Read
Intel Capital Splashes $117M on 14 Startups – Including a Telco Supplier

Intel Capital is investing $117 million in 14 tech startups, the company said today. Beneficiaries include one telco supplier, Tibit Communications, which provides virtualized broadband connectivity technology for homes, offices and cell sites.

But virtually all of the 13 other startups drive demand for telcos and other communications service providers, with applications requiring high-performance, low-latency networking connectivity, for artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, healthcare and more.

The investments are part of Intel Capital's recent strategy of taking larger, more strategic positions in startups, the company says. It invests $300 million to $500 million annually.

Tibit, based in Petaluma, Calif., is developing next-generation devices to provide a broadband connection to the home, office or cell site, managed virtually from the cloud to the user. Tibit replaces dedicated hardware devices in carrier and enterprise networks with a small module connected to a standard Ethernet switch, for significant savings in cost, power and space, Intel says.

Tibit's "initial product, the Tibit MicroPlug OLT, provides FTTx PON fiber access from Ethernet switches, routers, or almost any device with an Ethernet port," the company says on its website.

Tibit scored $13.8 million Series A funding in 2017, along with a partnership with European cable operator Liberty Global. We wrote at the time that Tibit:

...makes MicroPlug products that offer an option for virtualizing traditional optical line terminal (OLT) and optical network terminal (ONT) hardware. As part of the trend toward creating a Central Office Re-architected as a Data Center (CORD), Tibit is working to shift as many of the traditional functions in a passive optical network (PON) terminal into software (i.e. network functions virtualization), while condensing the PON MAC and PHY into as small a form factor as possible for service providers to deliver fiber-to-the-home services.

With this approach, operators can house just an Ethernet switch and the MicroPlug module at the edge of the network, cutting down on space requirements and driving the central office toward a future that is more about standard off-the-shelf hardware rather than expensive proprietary gear.

You're invited to attend Light Reading's Big 5G Event!  Formerly the Big Communications Event and 5G North America, Big 5G is where telecom's brightest minds deliver the critical insight needed to piece together the 5G puzzle. We'll see you May 6-8 in Denver -- communications service providers get in free!

A later product rolled out in August. (See Cable Industry Advice Led Tibit to Its Tiny OLT .)

For a full roster of the 14 companies and what they do, see Intel Capital's statement: Intel Capital Invests $117M in 14 Tech Startups.

Additionally, Intel Capital and Intel Global Diversity and Inclusion are partnering with HBCUvc, a nonprofit for students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). HBUvc provides students with skills, training, mentorship and opportunities to build professional relationships with investors and entrepreneurs.

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About the Author(s)

Mitch Wagner

Executive Editor, Light Reading

San Diego-based Mitch Wagner is many things. As well as being "our guy" on the West Coast (of the US, not Scotland, or anywhere else with indifferent meteorological conditions), he's a husband (to his wife), dissatisfied Democrat, American (so he could be President some day), nonobservant Jew, and science fiction fan. Not necessarily in that order.

He's also one half of a special duo, along with Minnie, who is the co-habitor of the West Coast Bureau and Light Reading's primary chewer of sticks, though she is not the only one on the team who regularly munches on bark.

Wagner, whose previous positions include Editor-in-Chief at Internet Evolution and Executive Editor at InformationWeek, will be responsible for tracking and reporting on developments in Silicon Valley and other US West Coast hotspots of communications technology innovation.

Beats: Software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), IP networking, and colored foods (such as 'green rice').

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