Networking services startup Cradlepoint lands $89M investment from TCV

In a world where having internet connectivity is the lifeblood of just about every business, Cradlepoint helps customers deliver consistent networking services, even when there is a lousy cell signal. Today the company announced it had secured an $89 million Series C investment from TCV.

TCV is the only investor this round, and as part of the deal TCV’s general partner Ted Coons and venture partner Doug Gilstrap will join the Cradlepoint board. Today’s investment brings the total raised to over $157 million, according to the company.

Cradlepoint helps solve difficult connectivity problems for its customers. Whether it’s an isolated location of a branch office, inside vehicles or machine-to-machine communications in an Internet of Things scenarios, it provides internet access. That could be a router on a school bus to let kids do their homework, in the trunk of a police car to deliver dashboard cam video to a central server or a sensor transmitting data from a factory floor to server. It handles network management and security aspects associated with the connectivity as a cloud service.

“When you think about what’s happening to enterprise networks, it’s not just about connecting branch offices anymore. Going forward, it’s about connecting sites and people in those sites out in the wild, mobile workers — and all of the things are getting connected to networks,” CEO George Mulhern explained.

He said that, in the early days of the company, it offered fail-over solutions, so if the wired network went down, a customer still had connectivity. As companies have been moving to the cloud, constant connectivity has become critical, he said. Today, the company provides fixed wireless access, so when you can’t get good broadband connectivity, Cradlepoint can provide that.

Cradlepoint has around 500 employees and its headquarters are in Boise, Idaho. It’s a long way from Sand Hill Road, yet it was still able to secure a significant round from an established Silicon Valley firm. Mulhern admitted that it was sometimes difficult to get the attention of investors in California from his location, some of whom would balk at investing in companies with board meetings so far from home, but TCV wasn’t put off.

It saw a company with a lot of growth potential and it wasn’t afraid to make a substantial investment. “Cradlepoint’s business — ubiquitous connectivity — could not be more strategic to our always-connected world,” TCV’s Ted Coons said. “By increasing the availability of bandwidth, Cradlepoint reduces the cost and constraints of the kind of connectivity people worldwide have come to want and expect in their daily lives,” he added.

As for the $89 million, Mulhern says the company has 15,000 customers and it wants to increase that by expanding internationally. It also wants to pour some money into research to enhance their 4G/LTE coverage, while preparing for a 5G future whenever that might occur.