CableLabs Helps Startups Find a Fit in Cable

CableLabs subsidiary UpRamp has revealed its second cohort for its "Fiterator" program. The first group - including Edgewater Wireless, VelociData, MediaHound, and Trinity Mobile Networks - is already working ...

CableLabs Helps Startups Find a Fit in Cable
CableLabs Helps Startups Find a Fit in Cable

CableLabs subsidiary UpRamp has revealed its second cohort for its "Fiterator" program. The first group - including Edgewater Wireless, VelociData, MediaHound, and Trinity Mobile Networks - is already working on delivering more than 20 deals, and it is just a year after being selected.

UpRamp's new Fiterator crew covers cybersecurity, AI/machine learning, accessibility, IoT and P2P CDN. Check them out:

  • Teltoo uses peer-to-peer technologies to boost online video delivery.
  • DeviceBits is a software company focused on AI-driven customer service for consumers and agents across digital and call center customer experiences.
  • Bensen Labs is enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities with their first product, Xogo, which enables assistive devices to work with just about any other technology, including cable boxes, video game systems and smart home devices.
  • King & Union's Avalon platform establishes a threat intelligence-sharing ecosystem, consisting of a collaborative virtual platform for joint action.

These four companies were chosen from a field of hundreds. Through the process, the list was narrowed down to 35, and then 10, who were presented to the CableLabs board, which helped with a final decision.

"We are in a unique position as a subsidiary of CableLabs," said Scott Brown, executive director of UpRamp. "We (hear) what the CTOs and CEOs care about, what their challenges are from the business and technology side. Some of the big things they are thinking about are customer experience, cybersecurity and accessibility - how (this) can be expanded to make sure subscribers get the best experience no matter what their capabilities are."

This announcement is separate from the partnership UpRamp announced with Boomtown earlier this summer. That venture combines Boomtown's early stage expertise with UpRamp's assistance in finding the right market fit. The Fiterator program on its own, per this more recent news, is more of a "grad school" for startups, Brown said.

"Boomtown (focuses) on those with a dream and a slide deck. Those guys (teach) how to start up and raise venture (capital). (Upramp) focuses on commercial deals. We guarantee one or more commercial deals," Brown said, noting that CableLabs has 60 global members.

For example, DeviceBits has proven success in the telco world and in other industries, but wants to expand into cable. Its AI-driven customer support platform enables customers to solve problems as quickly as possible, Brown said.

"The typical sales cycle selling into cable can be 24-36 months, which is brutal. A startup is lucky to have 12 months of runway … that is the magic we bring. We can help accelerate that sales cycle to three months," Brown said.

UpRamp can connect companies like DeviceBits with the heads of customer experience from CableLabs members around the world. "What are the real challenges? What are they trying to solve for right now and why?" Brown said.

Bensen Labs and their product Xogo was introduced through the CableLabs innovation showcase a couple years ago. Their aim is to allow users to connect a device like a wheel chair control to a remote for a set-top box. They actually went through a Shark Tank-like program in Massachusetts, Mass Connect, and were having conversations with at least one of the largest MSOs in the United States, Brown said.

"They continued to grow the company and were making good traction. They raised a bit more venture capital, and we knew they were ready to get to cable scales," Brown said.

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