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October 22, 2001
Teradiant Networks Inc. came out of stealth mode today to tell the world it has a network processor technology that will scale to OC768 (40 Gbit/s) (see Teradiant Offers a Glimpse).
The startup also revealed that it has raised $26 million in first-round funding from Menlo Ventures, Idanta Partners Ltd., and Diamondhead Ventures.
On the technical side of things, Teradiant isn't willing to say much at all. Like all network processors, its chips will sit inside switches and routers, reading the headers of packets to figure out where to send them.
"Our idea, essentially, is to develop processing power that runs at line rate," says Teradiant's president and CEO Satchit Jain. "Many solutions today cannot run at line rate, even at OC48 [2.5 Gbit/s]."
Sound familiar? It should, as there are now about 30 companies in the high-end network processor space. Teradiant will have to work hard to differentiate itself. It also has some catching up to do, as it was only founded in December 2000.
According to Jain, there are a couple of reasons that the startup is quietly confident that it can succeed.
For starters, Teradiant is on a firm financial footing, having managed to garner one of the largest first rounds for any startup in this sector of the industry, ever.
"We wanted to make sure that we have silicon in production before we need to raise another round of finance," explains Jain.
Second, Jain points to the strengths of Teradiant's technical team, which includes experience in several important areas: microprocessor design, memory design (graphics chips), networking, software, and systems.
Jain himself hails from Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), where he worked on the Pentium and Pentium II MPUs, and more recently on Intel's network processor chips.
Mordechai Fester, the startup's senior director of product management, was at Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). He also worked at MMC Networks, a network processor startup that was acquired by Applied Micro Circuits Corp. (AMCC) (Nasdaq: AMCC).
Then there is VP of software engineering, Shekhar Bhide, who spent seven years at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HWP) developing network software. Since then he has been director of engineering at a couple of startups, including Shiva Corp, which was bought by Intel.
Teradiant has also pulled in some impressive names to sit on its advisory board, including Dave Stiles, chief architect at Redback Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RBAK); Raj Jain (no relation to Satchit), CTO of Nayna Networks Inc.; Gerald Neufeld, a senior engineer at Redback, and designer of the software stack for the Siara and Redback products; and Rajiv Ramaswami, VP of systems architecture at Xros (now part of Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT).
And last, Jain says that Teradiant will turn the fact that it's so young to its advantage, by avoiding the mistakes that other companies have made. "We have learned from what others have done, or have failed to do," he says.
Teradiant was formerly called SiOptics. It changed its name to avoid confusion with CyOptics Inc.
— Pauline Rigby, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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