Plume raises $ 300 million by passing 1.2 billion devices in 35 million homes using its smart Wi-Fi service – TechCrunch

Plume – a communications startup that partners with operators to deliver a smart mesh Wi-Fi network to improve broadband connectivity in homes, and then offers other smart home services in addition to this network – a been in the midst of a massive boom in its business fueled by the rapid adoption, use and total reliance on home broadband is performing at its best.

Now he has closed a huge fundraising round to ride the wave. The Palo Alto-based startup has raised an additional $ 300 million led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 for a valuation of $ 2.6 billion. Plume CEO and founder Fahri Diner said the startup will use the money to continue to develop its software platform, make and manage more deals with operators and generally broaden its horizons.

“Two years ago the killer app was Wi-Fi, running pods,” he said, referring to the mesh router system used to improve the speed and quality of a Wi-Fi network. -Fi in the houses. “It’s not that anymore, although it’s still a big piece. Access control and device security are developing rapidly, and people are also using our motion sensors, as indoor cameras are disappearing for privacy reasons. IOT, health, energy management, and home security are all areas that we’ve been testing for the past two years and they are working, so we’re going to be looking at a lot of things. “

Other investors in this latest round have not been disclosed, but previous backers include a strong mix of strategic and financial investors: Charter Communications, Comcast Cable, Foxconn, Insight Partners, Jackson Square Ventures, Liberty Global Ventures, Presidio Ventures, Qualcomm, Samsung, Service Electric Cablevision, Shaw Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank and UpBeat Venture Partners among them. Insight was the sole funder in its last round, investing $ 270 million for a valuation of $ 1.35 billion in the startup. The fact that this latest SoftBank-led round comes just eight months later is proof of how quickly Plume’s business has grown.

Indeed, COVID-19 and the impact it has had on the way we use our broadband at home has likely been the main driver of Plume’s business over the past year.

As more and more people have been forced to stay at home to work, study and pass their time, the more straining we have placed on these home networks. In some cases, like mine, this strain also quickly led to major cracks: I myself am a Plume user; after trying a number of other things this was the only solution that could make broadband work properly and reliably in our Victorian London home.

I guess we weren’t the only ones. Plume said business has exploded over the past two quarters, adding 13 million new homes for a total of 35 million (“more than our biggest customer, Comcast,” Diner pointed out to me); and it added 350 million more devices to its platform, bringing the total to 1.2 billion devices; plus 60 other customers of broadband operators for a total now of 240 worldwide (these include cable companies, telecommunications operators and wireless operators who also offer broadband).

It is now also partnering with these operators to expand beyond their own broadband. In an OTT-style room in the UK, Plume and Virgin Media sell HomePass, which includes the Plume module and software to manage it and run other services, across the UK (25 million homes), whether or not Virgin is providing the broadband that underpins the service or not.

All of this revolves around consumer and connected home services. These are two areas where the startup will certainly continue to expand its reach, as highlighted by the range of managed services that Diner said the company has been working on for some time, as well as others that tap into the connected home and in particular the connected home. electronic objects that already have some degree of interfacing with the internet (think here: Quill notifying you when your connected Nespresso machine is about to need cleaning). These are expected to start rolling out later this year when Plume releases an update to its app.

But further afield, the company’s next steps will likely be outside the home, Diner said. A big area where you might see it doing more, for example, is the area of ​​industrial environments, where there are large networks of often remote devices that are expensive to connect to networks reliably, which also require monitoring – two. areas where Plume could appear in the future.

“We could segment the market into residential, commercial and industrial IoT,” he said. “We have a phenomenal presence in the residential sector, which we are now shifting to small businesses. The industrial sector is also in our field of action. We have ambitious projects and this funding gives us more capacity. What is not in scope, he added, are corporate campuses, where there is often already extensive internet cabling and bespoke Wi-Fi solutions that fit into corporate configurations. specific network and security of a company.

“The pandemic has dramatically accelerated the adoption of digital services, increasing our reliance on smart devices,” said Nagraj Kashyap, managing partner of SoftBank Investment Advisers, who joined the Feather board of directors, in a press release. “Thanks to its innovative cloud data platform, we believe FeatherThe consumer-first approach provides customers with reliable connectivity in their homes and beyond. We are delighted to partner with Fahri and his team to support their ambition to reinvent smart space services globally. “

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