Tessares: efficient and sustainable bonding of hybrid Internet access networks for a superior user experience

(summary)

Tessares, the 70th spin-off of Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), was founded in March 2015. It is a technology startup that is active in the research, development, go-to-market and deployment of software solutions that significantly improve the performance and the quality of Internet access without requiring the deployment of additional resource-hungry infrastructure.

Tessares just completed a first round of financing (Round A) financed by Proximus and Vives II - Louvain Technology Fund.

Internet: from traffic explosion to the rise of a new Internet protocol

Internet usage continues to grow steadily driven by an ever increasing number of connected devices and by new and data-hungry services and applications (e.g. cloud).

This continuous growth, both in terms of quantity of information to convey and performance and reliability of the connectivity, creates a demand for an improved Internet experience: more speed, more mobility, more resilience and more security.

A yet untapped way to address this demand is the aggregation (or bonding) of several Internet access links, using similar or heterogeneous underlying technologies.

During the last years, researchers, including several from Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), have designed, implemented and standardised a new Internet protocol: Multipath TCP (MPTCP).

The promise of this approach is to offer an improved Internet experience by better monetizing the existing network assets of telecom operators.

For the Internet user, the promise is to offer a superior Internet experience by taking advantage of the existing infrastructure. For the telecom operators, the benefits are also attractive: it also allows them to better leverage their existing infrastructure with an efficient convergence solution.

Tessares, the 70th spin-off of UCL

In addition to having greatly contributed to the definition of this new protocol, the UCL researchers were the very first to develop a prototype software solution for industrial applications embedding this new standard. Given the extremely positive feedback of demonstrations of this prototype to telecom operators, the decision to create a new company to turn that prototype into a commercial solution for telecom operators became obvious.

Tessares, spin-off of the UCL, was founded in early March 2015 by Prof. Olivier Bonaventure, head of the laboratory in which the research was conducted, Sébastien Barré and Gregory Detal two senior researchers who contributed most to the development of the prototype, Denis Périquet who brings a wealth of industry experience in the telecom world and SOPARTEC, the UCL technology transfer company.


The first objective of Tessares is to develop a commercial implementation of a solution consisting of a set of software components that enable an Internet Service Provider owning both an xDSL network and a mobile network (preferably 4G / LTE) to intelligently combine the resources of these two networks. This will improve the bandwidth made available to customers via their Internet access home router.

A crucial step: the first successful funding round

After having benefited from several European and Walloon fundings, Tessares finalized its first fundraising in April 2015. Proximus and investment fund VIVES II - Louvain Technology Fund decided to invest together to bring the prototype to an industrial level of maturity. The Proximus contribution goes well beyond financial support and also will also take the form of a technology collaboration to build a solution that meets the requirements from network operators around the world.

By the end of 2016, Tessares intends to recruit a dozen employees. The sought-after profiles are computer and telecommunications engineers with a good knowledge of Internet protocols.

“ We're very pleased to collaborate with Tessares to co-develop a new technology that fits perfectly within our strategy of convergence and our objectives of enhanced customer experience. This agreement with Tessares clearly shows Proximus' commitment to innovation and our intention to strengthen the partnerships with the academic world, which is a major driving force of innovation in our country.„ Dominique Leroy, Proximus CEO
“ Having Proximus among the initial investors of Tessares is a very strong and positive signal for our company as our solution will be associated with one of the currently most innovative and exacting telecom operators in Europe.„ Denis Périquet, Tessares CEO
“ This new technology transfer is the result of over six years of research funded by the European Commission and the Walloon Region. It shows once again how important our academic research is to stimulate innovation and the UCL’s significant contribution to regional economic development.„ Vincent Blondel, Rector of the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL)
“ This partnership shows the ability of VIVES II – Louvain Technology Fund to unite a consortium of passionate founders and reference partners in raising funds of a critical size allowing the growth of UCL spin-offs and technological start-ups„ Philippe Durieux, CEO of VIVES II – Louvain Technology Fund
About tessares

Tessares is a spin-off from the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), Belgium where researchers have over a period of many years greatly contributed to the design, implementation and standardisation of a new Internet protocol: Multipath TCP (MPTCP) which is an evolution of TCP, invented 40 years ago and used for over 90% of the world’s Internet traffic. In comparison to alternative solutions, MPTCP offers many benefits in particular in terms of deployability, being simpler and cheaper to commercialise. Although any IP network can be bonded, the initial focus of the company is Hybrid bonding of xDSL & 4G networks for Home/Office Gateways. Tessares is headquartered in Belgium with development and sales teams in Belgium and the UK.

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