ZEDEDA chases edge gains after $12.5M cash infusion

Edge ML is still a newer technology, and while it’s getting a lot of attention, innovators are still determining how to implement this technique across various platforms.
ZEDEDA is targeting gains at the far edge of the network, where traditional tools like those from VMware don't make sense. (Vchal/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Edge orchestration company ZEDEDA outlined plans to use $12.5 million in fresh funding to fuel an ambitious expansion plan, targeting gains in the far reaches of the network, which one of its executives claimed others can’t adequately serve.

Founded in 2016, the startup offers edge management and security software, and to date it has raised a total of $28.5 million on top of its initial $3 million in seed money, with Rockwell Automation and Juniper Networks leading its latest fundraising round.

The company noted in a press release it will invest the new batch of funds in “R&D, sales and marketing” as it works to triple the number of customer edge nodes under its management by mid-2021. Jason Shepherd, ZEDEDA VP of ecosystem, told Fierce the company currently serves several thousand nodes but is aiming to boost that figure into the tens of thousands.

A key part of its strategy, he said, is getting its orchestration platform white-labeled and embedded in products offered by major OEMs, noting “you can certainly read between the lines when you see names like Rockwell Automation and Juniper on our press release.”

Shepherd stressed ZEDEDA is not interested in competing with the likes of VMware, which he said is focused more on large data centers, but is instead targeting the “distributed edge” from “the lightest possible node up to the fringes of the data center.” That includes everything from cell towers to wind turbines, on-premises and private 5G deployments, where the traditional tools used to manage large data centers don’t make sense, he said.

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He explained it is here that ZEDEDA sees an underserved niche: “Our competition, there are players that only support containers. That’s where things are headed, but there’s a lot of legacy out there” that still requires support. Shepherd added another class of competitor offers products based on proprietary technology, which he said locks customers in and hampers ecosystem development.

By contrast, ZEDEDA’s solution is based on the Linux Foundation’s open EVE-OS, which he described as the edge equivalent of Android. This, he said, “becomes the vehicle to offer stuff as a service to new types of customers, new types of use cases out in the field. So the ecosystem really matters. It’s not just that we’ve architected orchestration right, it’s that we’re bringing a posse of people through that open anchor point.”

Shepherd concluded “The ultimate potential of digital is interconnected ecosystems. Entirely new business models driven by trusted relationships…You’ll never get there if you don’t start with an open foundation.”