Just like the companies we help, we are also entrepreneurs. And in the same way we counsel our teams to validate their ideas and solutions, we do the same with ours. And as all entrepreneurs know, validation tastes so sweet!
We set out on a mission to find four tech companies that could have a significant impact on the cable and broadband industry. We wanted to make the cable industry easier, more friendly, more supportive to startup companies and bring the technology to market to benefit both sides. We wanted to be the glue in the middle to find true product-market fit. And its a hit! We couldn’t be more excited for the success our first four teams have already experienced. While we officially completed our programming for the UpRamp Fiterator at the end of 2016, the ripple effect of the foundation laid will go on for a very long time. Last week at the CableLabs Winter Conference in Orlando, the four CEOs of VelociData, Edgewater Wireless, MediaHound, and Trinity Mobile Networks discussed the results of the program (as much as NDAs will allow at this point) with Phil McKinney, our CEO at CableLabs.
What Was the Most Revealing/Surprising Outcome?
For Edgewater Wireless, it was the extensive testing and validation by Kyrio, UpRamp's sister company under the CableLabs' umbrella. The third party valuation of their WiFi3 technology for high density WiFi networks is something they are leveraging in all aspects of their business, with customers, prospects, partners, investors and even their internal team.
For Trinity Mobile Networks, CEO Tyler Reynolds was surprised by how much pent up demand there was for a product like their SDN Jumpnet and how quickly the cable industry moves when it sees the value. "The cable industry doesn’t necessarily have a reputation for being on the cutting edge of innovation, but the reality is [they] have such a high bar for quality that most new, innovative products can’t meet [the] quality standard or are otherwise immaterial to [their] businesses. Because we’ve built a product that the cable industry wants, we’ve found everyone in the industry from CableLabs to our potential customers to be very kind and helpful and overall, it's been a great experience."
Barry Rudolph, CEO at VelociData, said, “Our team is world class at certain things: stream computing, stream analytics, & parallelism and we applied that to the financial market and made some game-changing advances in that area but we didn't know much about this market at all. What was most amazing for us was having our mentors teach us about the applications, potential value propositions, and the overall level of collaboration and willingness of the industry to work with us to take advantage of our innovation and accelerate the fit within the industry, driving business value and market adoption.”
So What Are the Business Results?
This month, MediaHound is launching a new movie discovery portal in partnership with a large European cable company. The web app will give the company’s customers a unique and fun way to discover what to watch on their service. MediaHound is also working with 3 other Mid-Tier Operators to provide an engaging discovery portal for their North American markets with a targeted March trial rollout. This responsive web app allows multiple family members to receive personalized recommendations from a single interface across the MTO's VOD and TV Everywhere catalogs.
VelociData has installed their stream compute technology in a tier one operator in the US, and are starting a field pilot. They are installed at two mid-tier operators in what they describe as collaborative development. They are making great progress with feature development, usability and scaling optimization based on the input and support they are receiving from these partners. They have active discussions with 3 other mid-tier companies and believe at least one of those will result in a collaborative relationship within the next 30 days. They have revenue from one of these relationships and hope to scale the solution over the next several months.
Edgewater Wireless Systems Inc. (YFI; TSX.V) is fixing painfully slow WiFi as they are engaged with five MSOs today in various levels of engagement. They are entering their first trial of WiFi3 in a venue this spring. The trial is a direct result of Fiterator. The trial is a high density deployment which is right in the wheel house for WiFi3.
Trinity Mobile Networks has talked with a dozen MSOs across the world and has numerous Proofs of Concept lined up. They are happy to say they have a completely full pipeline for the next year! They just started Phase 1 of their first PoC with an operator and are collaborating with a Mid-Tier operator to give them better visibility into WiFi network’s coverage and usage. Venue operators have reached out to them and they are speaking with vendors that want to embed their SDK inside their offerings.
Of course, this program would have been impossible without the help of countless hours of mentoring. We had mentors come in from the highest levels at major cable companies to some real down-in-the-weeds techie mentors who live and breathe cable/wireless/broadband technology. When we asked our four Fiterator teams what they thought of the mentoring, their response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. So, thank you mentors, for all of your hard work and dedication!
In addition to the mentors, the teams attribute the success to the industry knowledge & programming, the subject matter experts that shared incredible insights, the high level access they were given, the validation of Kyrio testing, and the openness of the industry as a whole to work with them.
The Fiterator program, which kicked-off in August of 2016, took place for 18 days over three months. The goal is immense learning, validating technology, finding the best fit possible in the industry, and finally, getting real customers. We are all about DEALS, not DEMO DAYS.
If you think your company would be a match, apply today for our Fall 2017 cohort.