Stateless, a network functions startup, closed a $1.4 million seed round led by European VC SpeedInvest with additional contributions from EVO Venture Partners, Techstars, and more. The funding round will support the growth of its network-as-a-service platform.
The startup and its patented product were the result of research at the University of Colorado Boulder. CEO and Co-founder Murad Kablan and his PhD advisor Eric Keller conducted research on cloud infrastructures and networks with companies such as AT&T and IBM.
Their research found that while many parts of the infrastructure were evolving, computer networks were falling behind. “As opposed to what everyone in the industry is doing — creating more virtual machines — we saw the need to redesign the underlying architecture of these network functions,” said Kablan.
The resulting patented technology was a way to design network functions that decouples the network state — thus making it “stateless” — into a high-performance data store adding new scalability, failure resiliency, and instant deployment of functions.
The platform is engineered for cloud service providers and telecommunication providers “because that’s where we feel like there’s a big gap of having these network functions to be more flexible in a job,” said Kablan. He also noted that while public clouds can achieve some of this network agility there is no affordable, local, private-cloud option that delivers that.
Deploying this as-a-service model for network functions enables the software and the network to overcome certain challenges presented by network functions virtualization (NFV).
Stateless’ pre-configured software is downloaded on commodity x86 servers. This shifts the focus of data centers and network engineers from operating and deploying and allows them to focus on the application, said Kablan.
The seed round will go into continuing to build and complete the product, build case studies, and “start serving up the pilot pipeline,” said Kablan.
Stateless is currently offering a demo of its product with two unnamed companies operating pilot versions of it. The system was initially built at the University of Colorado data center, and the startup is in the process of taking it outside of the research lab to package it as a product.
In January the company plans to launch its first network function, a firewall, which will run on top of the platform. In 2018, additional network functions, a load balancer, and intrusion detection, will be released in Alpha and Beta.
Apart from the seed round, Stateless has filed a patent, written multiple research papers, received two grants from The Science Foundation, and graduated from the Techstars accelerator program in Boulder.