The speed of internet access available to the average citizen of a country is now widely recognized as a key economic indicator. This is not surprising as, with faster access to information, knowledge workers are able to work more productively. And for consumers, there is clear value in being able to explore the increasingly rich web at faster speeds.
Aragon Networks, an early-stage Israeli startup based in the HaSharon area, is on a mission to ensure that the web user experience is as fast as possible. I recently caught up with Yaniv Shemesh, Founder & CEO, to discuss his startup, which is still largely operating under the radar. Shemesh’s vision is simple yet ambitious: develop software that enables the web browsing experience to match the comfort and speed of reading a magazine.
The software, which is currently in limited alpha release, works as follows. A customer installs the software on its web farm, the HTTP for the site is optimized, and the content is then delivered to end users at a significantly faster speed than would otherwise be achieved. The end result is faster loading web sites – alpha trials have allowed pilot customers to run their sites at between 2 and 5 times the normal speed.
There is an established body of research from the likes of Google and Yahoo! outlining the importance of speed in making, or breaking, the end user experience. Time is money for these companies as, for every additional second that a consumer is required to wait for a page to load, the quality of the user experience is significantly diminished.
While the largest internet companies are already allocating significant resources towards optimizing the speed of their sites, Shemesh sees opportunity in making optimization technology available to other sites. Ecommerce is one example of a vertical that could benefit by reducing the time of page loads for potential shoppers, especially if page load times are demonstrated to have a negative correlation with conversion rates. While larger sites will likely be Aragon Networks’ principal focus at the beginning, the software also has potential to be rolled out on smaller sites as it is essentially a plug-and-play solution.
There is a considerable amount of activity in this space. FasterWeb, another Israeli startup, is also working on a solution for making websites load faster, though it intends to target its solution at ISPs. And just last week, Google announced that it is developing an application layer protocol, called SPDY (“speedy”), as part of its ongoing effort to make the web faster. While the level of activity suggests that this will become a competitive market as we move forward, it also serves as a form of market validation – there is a real problem to be solved here.
Aragon Networks was established earlier this year and development efforts to date have principally been undertaken by Shemesh, with the additional assistance of contractors. Shemesh has an extensive background in spearheading large scale web-based information systems – prior to founding Aragon Networks in February, he led the development efforts for Keshet’s portal, mako.co.il, and he has worked with web-based information systems since 1996.
This extensive experience was likely instrumental in helping him recently secure seed financing from Genesis Partners. (Precise details were not provided but the amount is understood to be under USD1 million.) The proceeds of the seed round will be used to build out a more complete engineering team. Shemesh indicated that he is relying mostly on referrals from contacts and headhunters to attract the right caliber of people. However, high-performing developers with a relevant background should contact Shemesh if they are interested in finding out more. As it is so early on in the company’s life there is still scope to be well-rewarded in terms of an equity stake.