Cellwize eyes geographic expansion thanks to $24.5M in new funding

Thanks to $24.5 million in new funding, Israeli startup Cellwize can expand into new geographies with its self-organizing network (SON) solutions.

Specifically, Cellwize raised $14.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Carmel Ventures and Vintage Investment Partners, and it obtained a $10 million credit facility from Viola Credit.


Cellwize optimization solutions already are implemented by some operators, including Telefonica UK, but it has not made big inroads into the United States. That could change, however, if it secures deals with one or two of the Canadian operators with which it is in talks. It's also in discussions with one U.S. operator and is preparing the ground to open a bigger dialogue with U.S. operators, according to CEO Ofir Zemer. Most likely, it will come into the U.S. market as a SON 2.0 or 3.0 type of offering that delivers more advanced concepts, he told FierceWirelessTech.

Company executives have seen a "tremendous" two years where the company was more successful than their wildest dreams, according to Zemer. By mid-2015, the company found itself at a crossroads and the board decided it was time to try to obtain outside financing to accelerate its growth.

One of the main purposes of the new funds is to expand its global footprint, perhaps much faster than it originally planned for, Zemer said. Some geographies it previously shied away from were North America and the Middle East. "There are a few geographies that we can really now stretch into which originally, we couldn't really finance it," he said.

The company also wants to invest more to developer faster partnerships with other companies like analytics providers and deep packet inspection (DPI).

Interestingly, one of the use cases for a European operator customer involved improving network performance using existing infrastructure to target subscribers driving on highways because Cellwize's SON is "extremely dynamic." It built a system that follows in almost real time network highway traffic and adapts a network to improve the users' experience on the highway. The connected car is an area the company expects to be involved in going forward in part because cars will need to have continuous network availability.

The company said overall demand for SON solutions has increased due to operators' need to maximize value and simplify the management, optimization and healing of mobile radio access networks that have grown increasingly complex. The worldwide mobile network optimization (MNO) and SON market is expected to reach $5.6 billion by 2018, according to Infonetics market research.

Cellwize's competitors include Cisco, which purchased Intucell in 2013, as well as Nokia Networks (NYSE:NOK), which acquired Eden Rock earlier this year. Cellwize's prospects are better in situations where operators use more than one main infrastructure vendor. Increasingly, it is seeing interest from operators that just want the system installed on their private cloud and it's managed and operated by Cellwize.

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