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KoolSpan Receives Funding

KoolSpan received funding from investors with rich security backgrounds.  Elad Yoran, co-founder of Riptech, led the latest round.  I like Elad and his brother Dov.  They are thoughtful and very savvy investors.  Tony Fascenda, founder and CEO of KoolSpan, described his vision for the company to produce a more secure, more reliable VPN for wired or wireless remote users.  When I first saw the KoolSpan product in September of 2005 I thought it had the makings of a successful innovation. Today, the company’s technologies and partnerships have it targeted on fabulous success. 

This is Fascenda’s 3rd company.  First was Dataspeed.  That product became the official timing software for the Formula 1 and Indy racetracks.  Then he built a real-time stock quote tracking system – you know, those stock quotes carried on the FM sideband to handheld devices in the 80s.  That one was acquired by Lotus in 1985.  Newspager was next – broadcasting news over paging channels – acquired by Motorola in 1997.

KoolSpan uses some of the same principles that brought Fascenda success in the past.  He felt that his Apple AirPort wireless connection wasn’t secure, so he set about to design a smart card based authentication and authorization – better than WPA2 – for wireless networking.

The result was KoolSpan Private Networking, an all-UDP based VPN using two matched smart cards.  There is no server – just an appliance called a Lock, sitting in front of a computer or network segment.  And smart card tokens, called (wouldn’t you guess) Keys.

The coolest thing about the KoolSpan design is that it allows me to have secure local connections. The lock is like a secure Vonage box. Wherever it plugs in, you have a "local" connection.  The systems behind the lock actually take on the IP address of my home network.  It ain’t a VPN.  As the website says, "It’s real, not virtual."

Also, the company is pursuing a dual strategy of selling to customers (through channel partners) and an "embedded" strategy in which KoolSpan’s technology is built-in in a number of third-party products.  Because of KoolSpan’s ubiquitous form factor, ie Smart Cards, they can enable almost any product to become (secure) communications enabled, whether for voice, video or data.  The possibilities are huge!

Very Kool.  I gotta get one!

Categories: InfoSec
  1. December 18, 2006 at 8:03 am

    It is cool. I got to play around with an early model a couple of years ago. Back then it was neigh-impossible to set up a real secure wireless network and/or VPN without elaborate IT hijinks, and this thing held out the promise of a security appliance done right. I’m not sure if the market changes over the past few years have made KoolSpan more or less necessary, but I wish them luck.

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