Where it's based: Burlington, Mass.
When it was founded: 2012
Why it's Fierce: What's the best way to speed up the delivery of mobile content and applications? There are a handful of companies that are grappling with that issue, including PacketZoom and Twin Prime. Kwicr is another, and, like the others, part of its technology resides in the apps themselves in the form of a software development kit that developers can add to their apps. What makes Kwicr unique is that it complements existing content delivery networks (CDNs) and cloud-based infrastructure, and the company's "mobile delivery networks" accelerate app traffic from the point where the content is served all the way to the mobile device.
Hugh Kelly, Kwicr's vice president of marketing and strategy, explained that Kwicr monitors the available bandwidth in the network, tracking changes every millisecond, and has developed a new protocol, an HTTP proxy, to place between servers and mobile devices. Kwicr has also built in what it calls "dynamic packet recovery" so that apps can avoid delays by recovering lost data without re-requesting it from the network. It's a less policy-driven approach than Twin Prime and not as focused on changing the TCP protocol as PacketZoom is. The nuances in the companies' approaches are subtle but significant: Kwicr's approach comes off as more flexible and dynamic.
On average, Kwicr claims to deliver app data 30 percent faster than with a CDN alone, but when networks are facing severe congestion, the company claims to accelerate delivery by up to 180 percent with one-tenth the number of stalls. "When the network is at its worst, we're really at our best," Kelly said.
Since mobile data networks are not always congested, Kwicr lets customers choose how, when and where to accelerate the traffic and only pay for what is accelerated. Kelly noted that developers have a vested interest in ensuring faster reloads and keeping people spending time within their apps.
So far, Kwicr has a little more than 80 apps running on its network, and some customers have more than one app. Kelly said many customers are still testing the company's services, and, while he couldn't name customers, he said they include everything from "a couple of large household brand names down to startups."
To date, the 35-person company has raised $11.5 million in funding, led by Sigma Prime Ventures and Venrock.
What's next: Right now Kwicr is letting customers try its services for 30 to 45 days for free so that they can see how it actually works and how it benefits them. The service includes analytics tools and A/B test modes so customers can test how much of traffic is accelerated, and they can get detailed performance data.
Kelly said Kwicr is going to be aggressive in terms of sales and outreach, but he said the company doesn't "have to spend a lot of time convincing the customer of the problem." The company is going to continue to branch out into different categories of apps but says its technology is well-suited for a variety of uses.