Intel invests in G.fast chipmaker Sckipio

Intel Capital has taken the entirety of Sckipio Technologies' latest funding round, according to the G.fast chip-making startup. The funding amount was not revealed, based on Intel's preferences in such instances, according to a Sckipio source.

Intel Capital has taken the entirety of Sckipio Technologies' latest funding round, according to the G.fast chip-making startup. The funding amount was not revealed, based on Intel's preferences in such instances, according to a Sckipio source.

Sckipio announced its first generation of G.fast devices in October 2014 (see "G.fast chipsets from Sckipio Technologies debut"). It has seen significant success, including several design wins (see "Sckipio, iTAS collaborate on G.fast distribution point units" and "Sckipio supplies silicon for Cambridge Industries Group G.fast CPE" as examples), despite going toe-to-toe with semiconductor giant Broadcom Corp., the only other company so far that has announced products with similar capabilities (see "Broadcom debuts end-to-end G.fast offering"). That success includes supplying chips for the systems ADTRAN is supplying for BT's G.fast field trials, according to Sckipio Vice President of Marketing Michael Weissman (see "BT connects first G.fast trial customers").

The company previously had raised $27 million through two rounds of funding with participation from such venture capital firms as Amiti Ventures, Aviv Ventures, Genesis Partners, Gemini Israel Ventures and Pitango Venture Capital. It closed a Series B round for more than half of that total last December (see "G.fast chip vendor Sckipio Technologies closes Series B funding").

Intel's interest in Sckipio coincides with its recent acquisition of Lantiq, a communications semiconductor vendor it bought earlier this year (see "Intel to buy broadband chip maker Lantiq"). Lantiq and Sckipio had collaborated on residential gateway designs, Weissman points out, so people now at Intel already had insight into the company.

Sckipio will use its newfound wealth to support "continued innovation" as well as its current customer engagements, Weissman says. The company has more than 30 customers who are using Sckipio's technology in more than 50 projects, he estimates. "That requires an investment," Weissman acknowledged.

Weissman wouldn't detail the product improvements on the road map, although he did point out that an extension of G.fast to use a greater amount of spectrum is currently making its way through ITU-T. Carriers also appear to be interested in greater port density than the 16-port distribution point units on display at Broadband World Forum last month (see "G.fast dominates Broadband World Forum"). Sckipio demonstrated a 32-port design at the show based on its current chips.

Such innovation also may prove necessary to stay ahead of increased competition, which Weissman said he expects. For example, Ikanos has been working on G.fast technology, and received an investment from Alcatel-Lucent that was expected to speed this work (see "Ikanos attracts Alcatel-Lucent as a strategic investor"). However, no chips have been announced, and Ikanos recently revealed that it had agreed to be acquired by Qualcomm (see "Qualcomm to buy Ikanos for home gateway play").

For more information on communications semiconductors and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer's Guide.

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