Speedify got its start as an SD-WAN company after its founders grew tired of building radio systems for battlefield robots in Iraq.
“In 2009 we had this management team meeting where all of us said, ‘we love solving hard networking problems, we love working with each other, but how did we did get into this situation?’,” said Speedify CEO Alex Gizis. “So we sold off a bunch of the company’s assets to a competitor and rebuilt as a connectivity company.”
At the time Gizis was CEO of a company called Nomadio. The other management team members were Bhana Grover, now Speedify’s president, and Brian Prodoehl, Speedify’s CTO. With their new company they looked to solve another networking problem.
“The big reason Speedify exists at all is because our devices today, including cell phones, do a terrible job juggling LTE,” Gizis said.
The startup, originally named Connectify, launched with its first product in 2009. That product, the Connectify Hotspot, was a virtual routing software for Windows. The product turns PCs into a WiFi hot spot that can be shared with any other PC or mobile device. Its popularity rose and fell with Windows. “At one point it was a huge hit — we had 30 million users — but it’s sadly following the curve of the Window’s software industry,” Gizis said.
How Speedify Works
The company changed its name and launched its SD-WAN product, called Speedify, in 2014. It’s a channel-bonding service that combines multiple internet connections such as WiFi, cellular, and Ethernet networks into one link to provide increased bandwidth, lower latency, and better reliability. The service uses encryption, and it supports Windows, Android, and Linux environments.
“It works a lot like a VPN that runs it the background on your device,” Gizis said. “It lets your device use all of its internet connections, either for bonding or just for seamless failover so if one stops working it magically moves all of your VoIP and downloads to the connection that is working. Or even redundancy — media companies are using Speedify for this.”
For examples, television and radio reporters with iPhones use the software to stream VoIP calls back to the station. “With no change to their application we stream the call over WiFi and cellular networks at the same time and deliver whichever packet gets their first,” he explained.
The company sells its software to consumers and enterprises. Its business customers include news and entertainment companies, software developers, hardware providers that can add the SD-WAN service to embedded Linux devices, and network operators and mobile carriers.
“Several carriers in Europe are running tests now with applications where they build Speedify into their application,” Gizis said. “For them it’s about WiFi offloading. Mostly what they want is to make sure no one ever turns off their WiFi again.”
Speedify only started serving business customers this year, but Gizis says it’s got about 100 customers so far.
Speedify primarily competes against hardware vendors that make routers with a similar functionality built in, Gizis said. These include Peplink, Mushroom Networks, and Viprinet. “Whereas our software gives you all of that functionality with no hardware at all,” he said.