Cisco is leading a $70 million investment in Israeli CDN startup Qwilt, driven by growth in the open caching architecture developed and endorsed by the Streaming Video Alliance.
This new method for content delivery is enabled by Qwilt’s CDN platform, coupled with Cisco’s edge compute and networking infrastructure, to deliver the solution as-a-service (SaaS).
The move is also evidence that the long standing CDN field is experiencing a further spate of activity driven by proliferation of streaming amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic. Such elevated activity has been highlighted in recent reports such as the "CDN Market by Technology, Platform, Application, Service Type, Customer Type, and Industry Verticals 2021 - 2026" published by ResearchAndMarkets.com in August 2021. This report argued that the market need for CDN technology and services was proliferating in step with an “explosion in broadband networks, smart mobile phones, and related applications, services and content.” The report suggested that in particular, convergence of cellular networks supported by LTE and 5G with cloud-based applications, was driving a need for more intelligent content solutions.
Qwilt has benefited especially from rising online video consumption through being closely aligned with SaaS open caching, an open architecture developed and endorsed by the Streaming Video Alliance (SVA). Qwilt is co-chair of the SVA’s Open Caching Working Group, aiming to help service providers play an active part in the content delivery value chain.
The Open Caching industry initiative is driven by the belief that building and operating content delivery technology closer to consumers from edge caches will improve streaming quality and increase network capacity. Indeed, Cisco’s interest is in combining its edge compute capabilities with Qwilt’s CDN platform, to facilitate video delivery for customers as a service. Qwilt’s software accelerates streaming of live video and VOD broadcasts, while reducing latency, already integrated into Cisco products as part of a strategic partnership announced in 2020.
Cisco’s exact contribution to the new $70 million funding round has not been disclosed, but it takes the total raised by the company to around $134 million, a significant sum for a CDN startup. This raises the valuation of privately held company, founded in 2010, to about $800 million, so it is close to becoming a unicorn defined as a startup worth $1 billion or more.
Qwilt products have been used by telcos such as Italy’s TIM and Verizon, as well as the streaming services of Disney+. The company says it will use the funds to advance its ambitions of building one of the world's largest high-performing Content Delivery Networks with global service providers, focusing on the network edge.
"This investment signals an inflection point for Qwilt and Cisco to expand upon our shared vision to help service providers use edge computing to deliver digital content experiences from their own networks," said Alon Maor, Chief Executive Officer, and Co-founder, Qwilt. "We are ready to accelerate our efforts by hiring new talent, elevating our marketing efforts and putting R&D into action for mass-scale growth."
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