Startup NoviFlow has completed its first round of public funding, pocketing $9 million to drive its vision of OpenFlow SDN computing with carrier-grade performance.
Unlike many other startups getting Series A funding, Montreal-based NoviFlow is already shipping finished product to customers, Marc Leclerc, NoviFlow VP strategy and marketing and co-founder, tells Light Reading, in an interview following the Wednesday announcement.
"This is not a typical Series A. We already have a commercial product we're shipping," Leclerc says. "We're already on what we consider a good trajectory. This is an expansion of resources. "
NoviSwitch OpenFlow switches and NoviWare software offer broad support for OpenFlow 1.3 and 1.4 specifications, to deliver agility and performance, says Leclerc.
The funding round was led by Fonds de solidarité FTQ and joined by W3 Investissement and Somel Investments Inc., as well as previous investors. NoviFlow had been privately funded as a spin-out of the University of Quebec Montreal.
Although NoviFlow ships both hardware switches and software, it calls itself a software company. "The reason is we're creating software that runs on standard network processors," Leclerc says. The NoviFlow software runs on EZchip Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: EZCH) processors also used in Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and other high-performance networking equipment. "The hardware itself isn't the real point of innovation. It's what we put in the software," Leclerc says.
NoviFlow's customers are split about 50-50 between carriers and enterprise, with carriers being a growth area that takes up the biggest chunk of the company's time, Leclerc says. Network operators implementing NFV and looking for a more "agile substrate" of SDN are particularly interested in NoviFlow's technology, he says.
NoviFlow currently has about 15 staff, and plans to hire another 30, tripling the size in two years. The new funding will go to sales, marketing, and engineering.
As service providers look to increased agility and performance from their networks, required by the New IP, companies are putting network intelligence into switch software. These include Arista Networks Inc. , Pica8 Inc. and Cumulus Networks . Former Cisco CEO John Chambers told Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders he sees white box switches -- with intelligence residing in software -- as the chief future competitive threat. (See Arista Offers Software à la Carte, Pica8 Boosts Data Center Interconnectivity, and Think Outside the White Box.)