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Friday, Sep 22, 2023

With This Software, Many Voices Can Speak as One

Like people, machines speak different languages. Chad Trytten is building a business on the proposition that they can all speak together.

Trytten is CEO of Koriist, which he runs out of the EvoNexus incubator in downtown San Diego.

Koriist offers software that lets an older device, maybe something that was made before the Internet age, become part of the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is the phenomenon of normal everyday devices, at home or at work, trading information with each other, making people’s lives easier.

The only drawback is that to be part of the Internet of Things, a device needs to speak in Internet protocol, or IP — the language of the Internet.

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There are plenty of devices that were designed to be part of non-IP networks. Devices that trade information via serial ports, for example. Or older devices in the electric utility space using a language such as LonWorks. The military has many electronic communications networks, old and new.

Koriist — the first syllable is pronounced like the first syllable of “courage,” the second part like “east” — is able to mix and match previously segregated military communication standards, including satellite and cellular wireless on a warship. “We allow each network to share each other’s transport protocols. … We make it look like a single pipe,” Trytten said.

Koriist ships data like Amazon ships boxes, Trytten said. Amazon does not own the trucks and planes that deliver physical packages. Similarly, Koriist does not own the Ethernets and satellites that deliver the electronic packages; it offers value by making rapid delivery over its choice of existing networks.

Cisco Takes Notice

Koriist recently got the attention of Cisco Systems Inc. The $47.1 billion networking company from San Jose chose Koriist as a key ally in its Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) Connected Border initiative for the U.S. government.

Koriist is part of Cisco’s Entrepreneurs in Residence program in addition to being part of the EvoNexus incubator.

Cisco is also evaluating Koriist for potential strategic funding.

Koriist’s current investors include retired military officers, financial leaders and software executives, including Eric Gasser and other members of the Seed San Diego organization. One notable investor is retired Rear Adm. Michael Bachmann. As the former commander of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, or SPAWAR, Bachmann knows about Navy electronic communications firsthand.

Trytten, 31, noted that there are plenty of assets in the military, at other government installations and in the electrical utility space that still have plenty of life left in them. Their only problem is that they don’t speak in Internet protocol.

In better budget times, the governments might consider replacing such assets, but the Pentagon is facing budget cuts known as sequestration.

“Where most defense contractors are very unhappy with sequestration, it greatly accelerates our business growth,” Trytten said, because it requires the government to take what it already has and make it all work together.

Mat Guerrieri, a former U.S. Army Acquisition Corps officer and Koriist’s operations chief, said Koriist can help “gracefully transition” the services to IP-enabled technology.

Trytten spoke of a power plant operator overseas that had relatively new electrical generators. The equipment’s only problem was that it did not communicate using Internet protocol. By investing in this network overlay software, the operator spent about 3 percent of the cost of buying new generators, he said.

Koriist sees its niche in three small sectors of the Internet of Things: energy management, facilities automation and communications interoperability. Grand View Research predicts the first two markets will be worth about $75 billion each in five years. Communications will be worth $179.7 billion by 2021, Grand View analysts said.

How does it all work? Trytten describes multiple devices each sending their data in their native language. Koriist software takes it in, without changing the existing infrastructure, and sends it along to the recipient while translating the network protocol as needed.

What Koriist does is not very sexy, Trytten said. “We’re just dull and dirty data delivery.”


CEO: Chad Trytten

Revenue: Undisclosed

No. of local employees: Three

Investors: Eric Gasser, other members of Seed San Diego, Michael Bachmann, other private investors

Headquarters: Downtown

Year founded: 2014

What makes the company innovative: Koriist offers a proprietary software-defined multi-protocol data plus network router overlay.


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