Stoke seals new round of funding

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Stoke, a telecommunications equipment start-up backed by leading venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia, unveiled on Monday its technology to manage the convergence of fixed and mobile networks.

Stoke's emergence from stealth mode will also be marked by the announcement that a second round of funding worth $20m has closed. Original backers Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital were joined by Integral Capital, Pilot House Ventures and Presidio STX, a venture arm of Japan's Sumitomo, in adding to the $10m already raised for Stoke.

Randall Kruep, founder and chief executive, formed the Silicon Valley-based company at the beginning of last year. He had worked for Motorola for 10 years before joining Cisco Systems. His team of 75 is mostly engineers, with experience at companies such as Ericsson and Juniper Networks.

Stoke's software harmonises different networks, allowing users to receive similar levels of service over a standard fixed phone line or a cellular or internet wi-fi device.

“We are marrying the old world and the new world,” said Mr Kruep. “It needs a new service mechanism that we call services without boundaries, giving the customer the service they want wherever they are.”

Stoke's platform is currently in operator trials, with many carriers moving to standardise and unify their services by developing internet protocol networks and converging fixed and mobile operations.

“It's certainly a market that's hotting up,” said Ryan Jarvis, chairman of the Fixed-Mobile Convergence Alliance, who sees Stoke supplying the core intelligence for IP Multimedia subsystems (IMS).

“We don't do much in telecoms equipment, but we are very enthusiastic about Stoke,” Matt Murphy, a partner at Kleiner Perkins, said.

Between them, Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia have invested in companies that have become household names, including Amazon, Apple, Google , Yahoo, Sun and Cisco Systems.

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