Nokeena Raises $6.5 Million In New VC Funding

Nokeena Networks today announced $6.5 million in new venture capital funding, bringing the total funding for the company, which was founded in February 2008, to $15 million.

While existing and strategic investors participated in this new round, the round was led by Mayfield Fund, and is the first investment of Mayfield's Fund XII, a $395 million fund raised in September 2008.

When I sat down with the company's Chief Technology Officer, Prabakar Sundarrajan, a few weeks ago to record a podcast, we discussed the fact that the company had a strong technical solution but had chosen to stay in stealth mode for over a year, in order to fine-tune the product.

"Our impetus for staying in stealth mode so long," said Sundarrajan, "was that the challenge of what we were trying to solve—extreme inefficiencies of delivering high-quality video online—required concentrated focus. We feel we've solved the technical problems, and we are able to demonstrate scalability of the software appliance solution Nokeena has designed."

This most recent funding announcement, though, is primarily about getting the word out on the company's dynamic streaming and guaranteed delivery systems.

"The additional financing marks a significant milestone as we enter the next phase of company growth," said Nokeena co-founder and CEO Rajan Raghavan in a company press release. "Our ability to complete this investment in the current economic environment underscores the immediate and prospective value we are delivering to our customers and partners."

Nokeena's technology is designed to allow adaptive streaming, in much the same way that Microsoft's Smooth Streaming or Adobe's Dynamic Streaming does. Beyond just the adaptive nature of the tools, though, which reside at the core of the network, Nokeena has demonstrated that its Media Flow Director software appliance can support up to 40,000 streams and 10Gpbs per rack unit.

The software appliance approach makes sense, given the CTO's background. Prior to Nokeena, Sundarrajan was at Citrix Systems in the company's Application Networking Group and also served as SVP Technology of Exodus.

What is also of interest is the fact that Mayfield's Managing Director is Navin Chaddha, one of the co-founders of VXTreme. Reaching way back to the early days of streaming media, VXTreme was a Stanford-derived virtual classroom technology that was acquired by Microsoft in 1997, and became the underpinnings of NetShow and WindowsMedia.

"Nokeena has several ingredients for success," said Chaddha in the press release. "including an innovative solution and a large market opportunity. We look forward to working with Rajan, Prabakar and their team to establish Nokeena as the standard for online media serving at massive scale, while providing a television-like viewing experience at dramatically lower delivery costs."

I asked the company, in light of this recent funding announcement, about the intent for the funds. As the company has just come out of stealth mode, and hasn't announced many customers, I was curious if this funding is the kickoff for marketing and sales of the software appliance, or merely a sales effort accelerant.

"This funding is accelerating the sales efforts that had been undertaken at the time of launch," said a company spokesperson, replying to my email query. "Previously all efforts were being put in releasing the product and evangelizing with the prospect base using a very focused sales effort, now it is time to go after the prospect base in much larger fashion."

Given the challenges in the economic climate, Nokeena's newest funding round is one to watch closely, since it is primarily focused on sales and marketing efforts. However, a portion of the funds are also planned for infrastructure expansion. When I asked about use of funds to drive CDN partner implementations as well as an internal infrastructure technology demonstration platform, the company said it would use the additional funds for both areas.

"These funds are going to be used to drive CDN partners," the company spokesperson said, "and also for expansion on development of internal technology to address the varying needs of CDNs in entirety."

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