Startup Haste raising $2.5M to defeat Internet lag

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Atlanta Business Chronicle

Atlanta-based software startup Haste is raising $2.5 million to reduce a major pain-point of the Internet.

The ATDC startup is developing technology that it claims will reduce the lag in Internet connections that cause stuttering on a video-call, or buffering while watching Netflix.

Haste claims its technology can reduce latency, packet loss and jitter, CEO Adam Toll said.

The company, which has raised $2.7 million so far, is backed by Hallett Capital, TechSquare Ventures and BLH Venture Partners.

Haste is alpha-testing its technology and expects to launch a product in early 2017. To finance the rollout, Haste will raise a $5 million Series A in Q2 2017.

Haste is initially targeting the competitive online video games (or eSports) market, which is fast-growing and represents a “greenfield opportunity,” Toll said.

The company will sell its software to the 30 million hardcore gamers in the U.S. who play competitive team-based online video games, such as League of Legends, Overwatch, Counterstrike and SMITE.

“For competitive online gamers, Internet lag has a degrading effect on their competitiveness and it creates an incredibly frustrating experience,” Toll said. “We fix lag.”

Haste will sell its software directly to gamers, who will downloads and install it on their game-playing computer. Then, when they launch a video game, Haste takes over their network connection in the background.

“From that point forward, all of their game traffic is routed through our custom servers and network connections, which acts like an Internet fast-lane for their game traffic,” Toll said.

Like many startups, Haste was created from an itch in need of scratching.

Co-founder Taric Mirza invented the technology to address the frustration of Internet lag that he faced while playing online games.

“What he thought was a nights-and-weekend labor of love for himself turned into three patents and the business that we launched,” Toll said.

Haste’s roadmap includes expanding into markets, such as networked virtual reality and remote workgroup collaboration.

If Virtual Reality becomes a significant platform for gaming and eSports over the next 1-2 years, that would make it a natural extension for Haste, Toll said.

The startup also has drawn interest from a major and undisclosed provider of remote workgroup collaboration services.

“Preliminary discussions indicate that our platform as designed for eSports is already pretty well suited for their needs,” Toll said. “It’s only a single point of data, but it’s an interesting one.”

Urvaksh Karkaria covers Technology.

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