Startups

How the CEO of CirrusWorks went from wiring hotel networks to decongesting them

After helping hotels plug into the internet, CirrusWorks CEO David Giannini wants to help decongest public networks. His goal: making sure “the bandwith hogs don’t step on the rest of us.”

When it comes to the speed of public networks, there is room for improvement.

(Photo by Flickr user ·júbilo·haku·, used under a Creative Commons license)

In 2006, David Giannini was selling his companyCore Communications, to Swisscom. Giannini’s Dulles-based provider of wiring and other networking services worked with major hotel chains like Marriott, Hilton and Holiday Inn.
The following year, as you might recall, marked the dawn of the iPhone.
Soon enough, “Everyone walking around has one or two or three devices,” Giannini observed. “It’s putting a great stress on the networks.”
So he decided to work on tackling the widespread congestion of public networks.
In 2012, he launched CirrusWorks, a Falls Church-based company that is helping coworking spaces, universities, schools and hotels speed up their networks by reallocating bandwith more efficiently.
The company’s proprietary system, called The Governor, combines a hardware appliance and a software platform that makes incremental decisions, at a rate of 8,000 to 20,000 times a second, and “smoothes out all the spikes during peak demand,” said Giannini.

It ensures that “the bandwith hogs don’t step on the rest of us,” he explained, adding, “The heavy hogs get a better quality too, because they don’t step on each other.”
The product went to market in late 2014, and it’s already servicing several networks in the region and elsewhere — including at UberOffices, Eagle Academy Public Charter School and the Dulles-based Center for Innovative Technology, which is also an early investor.
The company has raised several rounds, recently taking in $1 million on the tail end of a total $4 million round that was launched in June 2014 and led by area investors.
Of CirrusWorks’s eight full-time employees, several had worked together at Transaction Network Services (TNS), a Reston-based credit card authentication powerhouse acquired in 1999 by PSINet. TNS’s founder and former CEO John McDonnell is now a lead investor in CirrusWorks.
“That whole team is still together,” said Giannini.

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