Avienda: A New Avenue for Communications –

ATLANTA – Let’s face it, when it comes to the Internet, content is everything. And nowadays, that content is increasingly becoming more personalized. While this sounds great, it creates the problem of efficiently delivering and storing the content. Enter Avienda Technologies.

The Internet technology company, co-founded early last year by former Columbia Business School classmates Aaron Shapiro and David Bloom, has developed a network called Point-to-Point Delivery, which it defines as the next wave of content storage and delivery.

“The simple way to explain our company is that it’s a global point-to-point delivery network,” says Shapiro, adding, “what we mean by that is that it’s the first content delivery and storage solution for personalized data and perishable information.”

Most, if not all, of the exiting solutions for delivering and storing content provide “one-to-many” broadcast information, such as the infamous Victoria’s Secret fashion show, which was broadcast from one centralized point and accessed by millions of viewers. While numerous companies have emerged to serve this type of mass broadcast information, no one, until Avienda, provided solutions for one-to-one communications.

The opportunity to be the first company in the point-to-point delivery market and to create a worldwide network tailored for this type of delivery was a huge opportunity for Avienda, and as Shapiro noted was a very important reason the company received VC funding.

Avienda closed its first round of funding, led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, in November 1999 raising $7.4 million. At the time Avienda was funded it consisted of four employees – Shapiro, Bloom, a head technology person and one other employee. Today the company employs more than 85 people, and recently wrapped up its second round of funding totaling about $29 million. Investors in Avienda’s latest round included DFJ, NeoCarta Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson ePlanet Ventures, Labrador Ventures, Gray Ventures and Imlay Ventures.

“Content delivery has been a hot sector for quite a while. Now the market is being redefined and there’s a trend toward more personalized content and the optimization of that content,” said Andreas Stavropoulos, a director at DFJ. “We see Avienda as an important part of the infrastructure to deliver that personalized content.”

Shapiro says the company’s customers tend to fall into two categories: Internet companies – portals or e-commerce firms – and Fortune 1000 firms. For the Internet companies, which serve Web sites or provide outsourced storage for their customers, Shapiro says Avienda becomes a very scalable, low-cost, low-latency solution for delivering the information, as well as storing it.

The Fortune 1000 firms use Avienda for business-to-business solutions. “Typically the Fortune 1000 firms utilize us in a supply-chain environment – where one company in their software system needs to communicate with another company in the system,” Shapiro explains. “In order to deliver the information from system to system, it’s still a one-to-one problem. We view it from a technology side the same as if you were going to access your own personalized information, it’s personalized data being sent from one machine to the next, so in that environment we become the secure channel for easily transmitting the data, and that’s a big use of our enterprise space and the largest market for us.”

Avienda now has 15 customers. Shapiro declined to identify them as they are charter customers. However, he did say that the company would be making announcements in the near future.

To generate revenue Avienda charges its customers on the basis of the storage and bandwidth they utilize on Avienda’s network.

Avienda’s network is comprised of 200 servers in nine countries. The company plans to expand that network to over 600 servers in 35 countries by the end of the first quarter next year. To accomplish that goal, Shapiro says the company has a dedicated network operations team, which conducts 24/7′ monitoring of the network and system maintenance to ensure that it has the highest level of reliability and security. The team also charts the future growth of the network, so Avienda has dedicated personnel to install networks around the world.

“The network operations group has a plan for continual network build-out, our eventual goal is to be in the so-called edges of the Internet, wherever people dial into the Internet, we’re there serving out their personalized information,” says Shapiro. Part of that build-out is monitoring real-time network traffic and seeing where demand is. If Avienda notices heavy use of its system in certain parts of the country or certain parts of the world, it will ship more servers to increase the capacity of specific installations or create new installations entirely. “It’s a continuous build-out that we see for the next two years to support the capacity and demand as required,” adds Shapiro.

With its latest round of funding, Shapiro says Avienda will use the money for continued technology development and network build-out, as well as building its sales and marketing initiatives. “We have a tremendous opportunity being the first company in the space to secure long-term leadership position in the market, and we are aggressively moving in that direction both through marketing as well as our national sales force selling to customers and forming key alliances to make them winners in the space,” Shapiro says.