Timing is everything in the business world, and remote access startup Infiot is a prime example of that saying. Infiot, which came out of stealth mode on Wednesday with $15 million in Series A funding, was founded last year before the pandemic changed the world.
With its thin edge device, Infiot's Intelligent Edge platform was designed for remote workers and IoT devices. The San Jose, Calif.-based company is led by CEO Parag Thakore, CTO Anupam Rai, and Chief Architect Sunil Mukundan, all of whom were the founding team members of VeloCloud before it was bought by VMware three years ago.
Lightspeed Venture Partners, Neotribe Ventures, Westwave Capital, and Harpoon Ventures have kicked in on Infiot's funding to date. Guru Chahal, a partner at Lightspeed and one of the lead investors in VeloCloud, is on Infiot's board.
While Infiot is making its public debut, it has customers across various verticals including manufacturing, healthcare, education, hospitality, retail, and managed service providers.
Infiot’s Intelligent Edge converges connectivity, zero trust security and edge-computing for remote users, sites and devices anywhere in the world. In an interview with FierceTelecom, Thakore said Infiot separates itself from the VPN client and SD-WAN companies because it was built for remote use from its inception compared to vendors that are now trying to shoehorn large routers into work-from-home services.
"We are focused on a variety of different use cases, starting from remote workers working from home all the way to a machine, all the way to these ATMs and kiosks," Thakore said. "If you look at the remote access market today, you have the VPN clients that are archaic and old. And on the other hand, you have these big fat routers from SD-WAN deployments. I would argue that none of them are built as remote first.
"We provide intelligent access for remote first users and devices. We can do what they can do. That means I can totally get deployed inside a branch office. I have all the SD-WAN features that you need for the branch office deployments. But they cannot what we can do, which is we can even connect people and things. So it's about people, places and things."
Infiot's thin edge device that's deployed in a home is smaller than an iPhone. It comes shipped with a SIM card and has wired, wireless and Wi-Fi connectivity. Once the device is plugged in, the user clicks on a link in an email that causes the device to connect to the cloud to download the policies that are applicable to that user.
Aside of remote workers, Infiot is also able to place its thin wireless edge devices into larger pieces of machinery, such as the aforementioned ATM, or even in bigger deployments to work with IoT sensors that are located in large manufacturing facilities.
Using Infiot's multi-tenant controller that runs in the cloud, the applications that are on the Infiot edge device can downloaded sensor languages to "talk" to the machines' sensors. Infiot can take the analytics that are generated in production environments and send them to a data-analytics company for analysis.
Infiot has its own marketplace for the apps, and also supports some third-party applications. It also has its own firewall in place,
"The security services are based on who you are," Thakore said. "Based on your identity, you get access to only a certain resources. So it's identity aware precision access based on who you are that gets pushed down to the edge.
"If you have edge compute requirements, that edge-compute app also gets pushed down to the edge. So it's a unified, single pane of glass for your trust zero security, edge compute, and your connectivity."
Thakore said Infiot was a complete software-as-a-service platform that uses Kubernetes to scale to the cloud. Infiot has a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) when compared to SD-WAN vendors, which gives managed services providers better margins to resell it to their customers.
"Service providers can have multiple channel partners and each channel partner can have their own end users," Thakore said. "So it's build in a very flexible way and with a single click, you can spin up an MSP or an organization. Most of the service providers love this fact about us."
The lower TCO also comes into play in large branch deployments since Infiot's devices are cheaper to deploy than typical SD-WAN routers, according to Thakore.
Infiot, which also has offices in Greece and Sweden, currently has about 40 employees, which Thakore said comprised the company's core team. Thakore said the company would have about 50 employees by next year.
Thakore said that while Infiot has all of the elements of secure access service edge (SASE) in place, that's currently not the company's focus.
"We want to appear as a remote first company that cares about remote first use cases. It could be could be remote users or it could be remote IoT devices," he said.
As for future funding rounds, Thakore said while Infiot is currently well-funded, he expects investors to reach out to the company to offer more funding down the road.
With more IoT-based services and sensors coming online daily, along with the fact that many workers may not ever return to their offices, Infiot is well-positioned going forward.
"I just want one box that does everything," said Lee Doyle, principal of Doyle Research. "A box that has Wi-Fi, security, remote access and the parts of SD-WAN that you care about; people will pay for that.
"They're one of the new startups that's targeting this space, presumably with a blank sheet of paper, and not with the baggage of previous generations or attempts to focus on this market."