Korean VC, Akamai invest in Israeli data delivery firm Saguna

SoftBank Ventures Korea Corp is making its 1st foray in Israel, in a firm that brings internet content ‘closer’ to consumers

Filming a video on a smartphone. (Pexels)
Filming a video on a smartphone. (Pexels)

Korean investment firm SoftBank Ventures (SBVK) is making its first investment in Israel – in Yokne’am’s Saguna Networks, which has designed a system to speed up data delivery without requiring a hardware upgrade. The total amount of the investment was not disclosed.

“We are delighted that Saguna Networks will be SoftBank Ventures Korea Corp’s first investment in Israel,” said Daniel Kang, COO of SBVK. “Driven by users’ needs to feel constantly connected, mobile traffic is set to undergo explosive growth in the next 5 years with operators increasingly turning to technology to address bottlenecks. Saguna’s -Open-RAN is a compelling solution enabling operators to meet their critical future needs.”

SBVK is a venture capital firm owned by SoftBank Corp. Formed in 2000, it operates a $300 million fund and has invested in over 170 start-ups around the world. It focuses on Internet services and platforms, mobile services, digital contents and education.

Joining SBVK in the investment is Massachusetts-based cloud services provide Akamai Technologies, which likes Saguna because it helps cloud-based content move faster.

“With a combined understanding of mobile network conditions and the content and applications traversing the cellular network, a CDN supports a business model where mobile network operators and over-the-top (OTT) content providers develop smarter applications and create new revenue streams,” said Lior Netzer, vice president and general manager, Emerging Mobile Business Unit, Akamai. “Working together with Saguna, through both Akamai’s investment and technology collaboration, is intended to help broaden the possibilities presented by Saguna’s pioneering Mobile Edge Computing solution.

As more people make use of the mobile phone network, bandwidth on the network gets more crowded and transmission of almost everything gets slower. Saguna’s solution, implemented on the back end of the network, provides a caching solution that optimizes mobile content delivery. The cache servers set up at the edge of a network in Saguna’s Content Optimization Delivery Systems (CODS) are loaded with popular internet and other content being accessed by many customers. The most popular, repeatedly requested content is already cached on servers customers can access – saving time, bandwidth and money, because the content is already on the network, according to the company.

The system allows mobile operators to disperse traffic: Instead of all customers hitting the main servers at the same time to access data, they can access the data from cache servers, with fewer delays. This saves the operators from having to expand capacity, reducing repetitive content delivery traffic and costs by as much as 70%.

Saguna CODS is based on an array of dedicated nodes that are placed in the network. The nodes are located in the network core on one side and in the network backhaul adjacent to the Base Station elements or aggregation points on the other side. The solution is transparent to all network layers (transport, mobility, service) and terminal devices, and performs caching and scheduling decisions based on the type of data and the content flowing through the network, consequently adding “Content Awareness” to the network.

“At Saguna, we are proud that industry leaders like Akamai Technologies and SoftBank Ventures Korea Corp. have chosen to invest in our company and the continued support of our existing investors,” said Lior Fite, CEO, Saguna Networks. “This is a testament to the value presented by Saguna’s Mobile Edge Computing technology for improving the user experience, improving economics and monetizing mobile networks.”

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