Reliance Takes Stake in Stoke
Stoke Inc. has struck up a deal with Indian carrier Reliance Communications Ltd. , which has become an investor in the startup and likely will be using Stoke's access gateways.
Reliance's contribution -- which technically came from a venture arm called Reliance Technology Ventures Ltd. -- was announced Monday (Jan. 7), and the amount isn't being disclosed. (See Stoke Adds Investment.)
The startup's most recent funding came a year ago, a $20 million round that brought its total to $50 million. (See Stoke Cashes In, Comes Out .) Reliance's investment doesn't count as a fourth round, says Keith Higgins, Stoke's vice president of marketing.
Stoke has a small team in India, but its work there has been "more from a development standpoint than a customer standpoint," Higgins says. So, the addition of Reliance as a probable customer -- Stoke isn't shipping in volume yet, and Reliance hasn't officially said it's going to use the products -- is a big step for the company.
Reliance could be a good showcase for Stoke not only because of the carrier's size, but because it owns a fixed-line network and multiple wireless networks -- CDMA, GSM, WiMax, and it's likely to work with LTE eventually.
Stoke shops its Stoke Session Exchange (SSX) as a way to merge the edge equipment that's dealing with functions like routing, session management, and security. Among its purported strengths is the ability to handle the whole mulligatawny of wireless devices that connect via varying networks. Targeted applications for the SSX include fixed/mobile convergence and video delivery. (See Stoke Says It's in Session.)
Stoke's been at this for about three years. Founding CEO Randall Kruep left shortly after last year's funding round and was eventually replaced by former CloudShield Technologies Inc. executive Vikash Varma. (See Kruep Steps Down From Stoke.)
Stoke's other investors include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers , Sequoia Capital , and DAG Ventures Management .
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading