ASSIA, a 6-year-old startup, today raised $10 million in funding, some of which comes from carriers that it hopes will become customers. Since its inception, the company has managed to build out software that improves the quality of DSL lines; sign on major carriers such as AT&T as customers; and reach more than $10 million in revenue on about $4 million from previous investments. In this round, Mingly China Growth Fund and SFR Development joined previous investors Swisscom Ventures, Stanford University, and T-Venture.
John Cioffi, CEO and chairman of ASSIA, said the key so far to ASSIA’s success has been the ability to keep its burn rate low, which means that of the $8.1 million it’s raised since its founding in 2003, half is still in the bank. Cioffi explained that long testing cycles at carriers mean that increasing staff or counting on an actual paying deal before it’s really done, can mean disaster for a telecommunications firm. This most recent round will be used for building out new software products, as well as serving more carriers. Cioffi expects a second close in January to bring in an additional $10 million to $15 million.
ASSIA’s software sits inside the core telecommunications network and tests the service available on copper DSL lines. When it encounters problems, it changes the parameters inside the network to eliminate noise on the line or otherwise improve the signal’s quality. It also can check out performance on the lines and boost speeds thanks to tweaks the software can perform inside the network.
Right now the company has 23 million lines under management, but the worldwide DSL market is huge, at 300 million lines. With more money, and the knowledge that copper is still playing a huge role in broadband access, Cioffi hopes to use ASSIA software to keep DSL around for a long time to come.