Zycada Networks is the latest startup in the CDN ecosystem to emerge from stealth mode. They provide CDN features although they’re not a CDN, at least today. The startup is focused on eCommerce and offers five products, which is somewhat limited but not uncommon for startup CDNs. One of those features replaces the need for DSA (dynamic site acceleration), a dinosaur of a product that was introduced by Akamai two decades ago and most vendors have today.
The eCommerce market is large. Currently, there are 12M to 24M eCommerce sites in total, of that 1M of them generate $1,000/year or more. On the same token, there are 7.1M etailers globally, with 1.8M in the US.
In terms of differentiation, Zycada uses a unique bot technology to improve latency, packet loss, and performance. The “optimization bots” as they are called perform continuous fingerprinting of an entire site in order to learn the shopping workflows of visitors. In doing so, the bots can predict which content elements each visitor will view/download and prefetch them in advance. It does sound similar to DSA. The idea of using bots to improve performance came about from the founder who worked at Akamai, Limelight, and Shape Security. The five products in their portfolio include:
- CDN Accelerator: performs continuous fingerprinting of connections, so packet loss, jitter, and network throughput can be optimized
- CDN Orchestrator: automatically switches between networks to improve performance using metrics involving geography, capacity, pricing, etc.
- Video Stream Optimizer: improves video start times and rebuffering by “computing the optimal bitrate for each connection and dynamically adjust the stream”.
- Cloud Security: a machine learning system that detects and rejects fraudulent traffic.
- Connection Insights: analytics that tracks packet loss.
- Based on publicly available data, Zycada is not a CDN because the startup does not own a global PoP network and routing infrastructure. If they did, they would be a CDN. Perhaps that will change.
- Zycada is not the first startup to tackle the latency problems in eCommerce sites. In 2014, there were two startups focused on the same problem, Instart (Instart Logic) and Yottaa. The Instart product was called the Nanovisor and the Yotta product was called the App Sequencer. However, none of them used bot technology.
- The Zycada business model is more similar to Yottaa than Instart, in that Yottaa does not own its global PoP network and routing infrastructure, at least they didn’t a while back, while Instart did.
- Instart went bust and Yottaa hasn’t been able to reach the level of Cloudflare, Fastly, and StackPath. Perhaps, Zycada can break out of this group and reach a billion-dollar valuation
- With $31M in the bank, we can expect them to roll out a multitude of features over the next two years
- Company: Zycada Networks Inc.
- Founded: 2016
- HQ: San Jose
- Raised: $31.5M
- # of Employees: 20
- Founders: Subbu Varadarajan (CPO) and Roy Antonyraj (CTO)
- Market: eCommerce