Mavenir raises $100M to build more AI into its cloud-based automated network technology for telecoms services
One of the bigger trends in telecoms has been the evolution of cloud computing and how software operating in the cloud is being used by carriers to build out and manage their networks -- moves disrupting traditional business models based around the purchasing and deployment of costly telecoms routers, switches and other costly physical equipment. Today, Mavenir -- one of the hopefuls in that space, with a focus on Open Radio Access Networks and related services for 5G networks -- is announcing $100 million in funding to expand its technology and its customer base.
The first of those will involve bringing more AI tools into the mix, the company said; and as for the latter, the company already has a sizable business: It currently has more than 250 service provider and enterprise customers across 120 countries, services that altogether cover more than half of the world's mobile subscribers. The plan will be not just to continue expanding that pool, but to build more services to sell to current customers.
Mavenir described the funding as "anchored" by Siris, a PE firm that's been backing the company for years. Mavenir is not naming further investors in this latest capital injection, but other existing backers include Koch and Pendrell. Koch and Siri also participated in the company's last financing, a $155 million round in October 2022. It's not disclosing its valuation but we have contacted the company to ask. As a point of reference, Mavenir was valued at around $2.5 billion in 2020.
Mavenir has been through a couple of different ownership structures, including at one point being majority owned by Siris and used as the umbrella for a roll-up of telecoms software vendors Mitel and Xura -- both also of the bigger consolidation trend -- to capitalize on new opportunities with 5G networks. After selling a $500 million stake to Koch in 2021, Siris remained at least a partial shareholder, and given the $255 million raised in the last seven months, it seems Siris is back into investment mode with the company now.
Mavenir is part of the wave of companies that also includes companies like DriveNets, Arrcus and even AWS looking to capitalize on the so-called trend for digital transformation in the telecoms industry. Telecoms carriers are on the hunt for more ways to bring down their own capital and operational expenditures while providing more flexible services to business and service provider customers as they scale up and down. Kit from the likes of Cisco, Juniper and Arista represents the legacy, incumbent approach to network provision and operation; now, the pitch is that software, delivered via cloud services, is the new and better solution.
“This new capital will allow us to accelerate our capabilities in automation, sustainability, and use of AI as we enable our customers to efficiently deploy and operate Open RAN based end-to-end cloud-native networks," said Mavenir CEO and president Pardeep Kohli in a statement. "Our unique strategy incorporates best practices from the hyperscale, cloud and IT industries, to transform how the world connects and builds the future of networks.” Kohli has been with Mavenir for years -- initially directly with the company and then reappointed the head of the business after his next employer -- Xura, where he was also the CEO -- was acquired and rolled up into Mavenir.
“This investment enables Mavenir to further scale its business and maintain its leadership in Open RAN and 5G transformation,” said Hubert de Pesquidoux, a Siris executive partner who is also chairman of Mavenir, in a statement. “We firmly believe in the automated networks of the future that are cloud-native, AI-native and Green-native, and we are confident that Mavenir’s innovations are essential in driving that evolution.”